In the Aug. 17 Free for All letter “Why rerun an offensive cartoon?,” a reader objected to The Post printing a political cartoon in part because the caption is “something the pope obviously never said.” On the same day, Drawing Board featured the weekly roundup of cartoons from across the country. In one, President Obama is saying about the Egyptian military, “I’d cut off their aid, but we need to maintain our influence,” which he never said. In another, Pat Robertson is seeking to move to Russia because of its anti-gay policies, which he never did. And in a third, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg is being stopped and frisked because he matches the profile of a white-collar criminal, which never happened.
This is what political cartoonists do. Through exaggeration, they bring into focus the inconsistencies and absurdities of what public figures do and say. The cartoon that the reader objected to, while not factual, highlights an important truth: While the pope’s conciliatory comment to reporters has received a lot of attention, he has not actually taken any steps to change the Catholic Church’s position on what it means to be gay.