What we lose when we lose political cartoons

In a cheeky 2012 cartoon by Daryl Cagle, a dog lifts its hind leg for the wind-up. “The Times has no credibility — and no cartoonist,” a black speech bubble leaks from its mouth, “but it’s still good for something.”

Up until this week, though, the overseas edition of The New York Times had soldiered on, employing the publication’s only two remaining political cartoonists. Patrick Chappatte and Heng Kim Song’s tenure came to an abrupt end late Monday, however, when the editorial page editor James Bennet announced that the Times was “bringing [the global] edition into line with the domestic paper by ending daily political cartoons.” Seven years after Cagle’s illustration, his dog’s lambasting of the Times seems brutally on point. With the annihilation of its editorial cartoon section, the paper gives up one of journalism’s — and democracy’s — greatest weapons.

Zoek de verschillen. #NYT #cartoon ⁦@PatChappatte⁩ pic.twitter.com/0YSyRFhWCA

— Joep Bertrams (@joepbertrams) June 11, 2019

Although Bennet claimed the paper had been mulling eliminating the section for “well over a year,” the timing seems suspicious to some. In April, the Times had published a cartoon of President Trump walking Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu like a dog; in its apology, the Times rightfully identified the illustration as “clearly anti-Semitic and indefensible.” The paper then sweepingly “suspended the future publication of [all] syndicated cartoons,” from which the offending image had been pulled; then, only two months later, Bennet announced the paper’s last vestige of commitment to editorial cartoons was being erased, too. “I’m putting down my pen, with a sigh,” blogged Chappatte in a must-read post about his editor’s decision. “That’s a lot of years of work undone by a single cartoon — not even mine — that should …read more

Source:: The Week – Politics


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