If it was meant to be funny, supporters of Congressman Dr. Scott DesJarlais are not laughing. An editorial cartoon printed in an East Tennessee newspaper has some accusing the paper of playing political games.
The cartoon appeared in the Oct. 16 edition of the Chattanooga Times Free Press. It depicts DesJarlais with a gun in his mouth, with the caption, "The Character Assassination"
It's drawing negative reaction from supporters like Tennessee State Rep. Joe Carr.
"After having seen this cartoon, I got to say I'm extremely disappointed," Carr said. "This cartoon is meant to do one thing and one thing only that is to persuade the voters in what is a pretty tight race through character assassination."
The cartoon is referencing a past incident DesJarlais had with his first wife. Published reports state he dry fired a gun, and then held it in his mouth for hours.
"The media should be reporting the facts, and let the voters decide," Carr said.
With early voting under way, 4th Congressional District residents are also weighing in.
"I follow the teaching of Jesus, and I know there is forgiveness for anything that you do," said voter Bonnie Nelson. "I know it's hard to go on when you've made mistakes, but there is life after death in the political word."
"Cartoons like that have been around for years, but I just think we've let our country get away from our true morals," said voter Morgan Newman. "Political cartoons like that shouldn't be allowed."
This is the not the first time the Times Free Press has published controversial cartoons about DesJarlais. There was one with the Playboy symbol replacing the "o" in his first name on a campaign sign. There was also one of a notebook with the words, "Binder full of women," with "DesJarlais Mistresses" on the front cover.
"I think it's highly unethical and is beneath their dignity as a news organization," Carr said.
The newspaper recently endorsed DesJarlais' challenger, Democrat Eric Stewart.
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