Pat Bagley, the award-winning political cartoonist of the Salt Lake Tribune, has sparked controversy with his latest cartoon featuring a law enforcement officer and his primary care physician. The cartoon, which has spread across the world, was entitled The Deep Hate and was printed to great controversy in the Salt Lake Tribune. The image includes both an American flag and a Confederate flag flying at half-mast, in honor of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile, two black men who were killed by police officers recently in Louisiana and Minnesota, respectively.
While most of Bagley’s cartoons never go viral, he has been a household name in Utah for years. He is now considered to be among some of America’s best political cartoonists. Known for his biting political commentary, cartoonist Pat Bagley has drawn criticism from those who feel he crosses a line. Yet, Bagley has shown no signs of slowing down. On July 25th, 2015, a cartoon in Salt Lake City’s The Tribune sparked significant controversy as it depicted a law enforcement officer at odds with his primary care physician over-treating wounds he sustained in the line of duty. While it’s unclear what inspired him to draw his latest cartoon, it’s clear that he is interested in political activism. In a 2014 interview with The Daily Utah Chronicle, Bagley told them I think if I had been born 50 years later, I would have been politically active all my life.
To understand Bagley’s cartoon, you have to know where he’s coming from. As the political cartoonist for the Salt Lake Tribune, he often skewers what he sees as a wrongheaded and backward-looking Republican Party. For years, his cartoons have been some of the most popular in all of Utah politics. Today they just went viral – and made him an enemy of our own state’s top officials. One of the hard parts of being a cartoonist is that most of the time, people will only remember your most recent work. It doesn’t matter how many great cartoons you’ve drawn before, if your latest work happens to be controversial or ill-timed, it will overshadow all the other times you used humor and satire to get a message across in an entertaining way. Some cartoonists have had their entire careers defined by just one controversial piece. Unfortunately for them, some bits stick with us more than others do – and sometimes for all the wrong reasons.