An August 2020 cartoon by Johannes Leak featured in The Australian (Image: The Australian)

The more you look at a cartoon, the more you see. That is both part of the magic of the medium -- that it can convey so much more meaning than words alone -- and a minefield.  

Once we begin to look too hard, it’s easy to see things that aren’t really there. It’s into that trap that, I think, the Australian Press Council has fallen in its determination that a 2020 Johannes Leak cartoon breached its standards.

Leak’s cartoon was published in The Australian in August last year, a day after then-presidential candidate Joe Biden had tweeted about his nomination of Kamala Harris as his running mate. Biden’s tweet went like this: