First published in 1865, the Natchez Democrat is one of the oldest newspapers in the Magnolia State. Adams County residents say the political leanings of the newspaper’s staff have been revealed through it’s reporting over the years. But they say what happened this past week went way too far and threatens to be a cause of disharmony at a time when county and city leaders and community volunteers are becoming more open and trusting of one another.
The Monday, November 21 Edition of the Natchez Democrat contained a political cartoon by syndicated cartoonist Monte Wolverton. The cartoon depicts a group of white Trump supporters through a variety of representative racist stereotypes all singing together, “All We Are Saying Is Give Trump A Chance.”
Some of the characters depicted are in full KKK regalia, others are wearing Nazi uniforms, a few carry military style firearms, while others are wearing or displaying the Confederate Battle Flag.
Adams County resident Paul Brown tells Misissippi PEP that the newspaper’s actions are a slap in the face to all residents of Natchez and Adams County who have worked together to displace perceptions of racism and to meet challenges.
“One would think that the single news outlet for Adams County would recognize the long term racial harmony within the region,” said Brown. “We work together, play together, tackle problems together. We just elected both a sheriff and mayor in grand fashion without any racial bias, plus both have received praise for what they have accomplished so far.”
Brown says the cartoon was so outside standards of good taste that he doesn’t see how it could be interpreted any other way than as anger at the outcome of the presidential election and hatred of supporters of President-Elect Donald Trump in the area and across Mississippi.
“I am without words to describe what the Natchez Democrat Editors must have had on their mind or hoped to accomplish with this slap in the face to anyone who supported Donald Trump,” Brown said. “My personal goal with our local conservative coalition is to reach out to all races, party affiliations, and any other potential point of division, to find common ground in how we view the county’s future.”
Brown says he believes the animosity from the newspaper’s staff is creating distrust where little previously existed and he hopes Publisher Kevin Cooper will print a retraction and an apology soon.
“I never thought our newspaper would become a major hurdle but do hope they will print a major retraction and apology,” Brown said. “While it may not be a cure, it’s a step in the right direction.”