The New York Times has announced that it will stop publishing political cartoons in its international edition, thus “coinciding” with the national edition, where there are no cartoons. On 1 July it will say goodbye to satire and also to two of its cartoonists, Patrick Chappatte and Heng Kim Song, both of whom it has cut.
The newspaper the announcement was made as followsit ‘s almost comical that they close the article with a reminder that last year, for the first time in their history, they won a Pulitzer for political cartoons.
They also published a brief statement signed by their editor, James Bennet, in the same vein.
No more taking risks by publishing unchecked opinion, moulded, softened, adapted and served to the taste of the company’s bosses, who may well be internal and/or external and may have a lot to do with the money that comes in, or not.
There have been many opinions against this decision, from those who describe the newspaper as cowardly to those who feel disappointed and remind the NYT of the tradition and history of political cartoons that are now being wiped out with the stroke of a pen for a one-off skirmish. But, of course, this other “mob” of those opposed to the disappearance of the cartoons will not be the one to influence the paper’s stance.
Cartoonists respond to The New York Times decision
Clay Jones cartoon in their website
Cartoon by Joel Pett
Cartoon by Mexican cartoonist Darío Castillejos on Twitter
Idígoras & Pachi in El Mundo
Cartoon by Ed Hall on Twitter
Cartoon by Belgian Steven Degryse“Lectrr“, on Twitter
Cartoon by Joep Bertrams on Cagle Cartoons
Cartoon by Brazilian Osmani Simanca on Facebook
And here are a few more:
In Cartoon Movement they also publish a note titled ” A frightening and short-sighted” from which these paragraphs stand out:
In a healthy public debate (which a newspaper like the NY Times should facilitate), what follows is a discussion of why this cartoon crossed the line. Why do many people find this cartoon so offensive? What is allowed when we criticize Israel and what is not? What symbols can we use? How far can we take a cartoon of an Israeli politician? All meaningful questions that would encourage a debate that would lead to stronger, better and less unnecessarily offensive cartoons (unnecessary is included because sometimes cartoons must be offensive).
What should not happen is a complete silencing of this branch of visual journalism. Because it takes away from public debate. It is, for want of a better word, censorship. I use the word censorship not because of the decision itself (it is the prerogative of each media outlet to decide what they will and will not publish, however strongly they may disagree), but the apparent argumentation behind it.
As much as they try to disguise the decision by saying that they are going to explore other forms of journalism, including “visual” journalism, it is clear that the april eventafter the removal of a cartoon that had been labelled as anti-Semitic featuring Netanyahu and Trump and for which they apologised, the NYT has given the coup de grâce to graphic humour in the NYT.
Cartoon by Portuguese cartoonist António Moreira Antunes published in the international edition of The New York Times on Thursday 25 April. Earlier, on 19 April, it appeared in the Portuguese weekly Expresso.
After the row announced formally announced that it would stop publishing syndicated cartoons in its international edition and that it would only use artists with direct links to the paper, the same cartoonists it is now firing.
One of those cartoonists, Chappatte, who has been drawing for the NYT since 2013, published an article on his page entitled “The end of political cartoons in The New York Times” in which he laments the decision.
Cartoon by Patrick Chappatte published on the front page of the NYT website on 8 January 2015, after the attack on Charlie Hebdo magazine to illustrate his opinion.
Even so, he declares himself optimistic and reminds us that this is the age of images. “In a world of short attention spans, their power has never been greater,” he adds, but he also warns:
“I’m afraid it’s not just about cartoons, but about journalism and opinion in general. We are in a world where moralistic mobs gather on social media and rise up like a storm, descending on newsrooms with a crushing blow. This requires immediate countermeasures by editors, to leave room for weighting or meaningful discussion. Twitter is a place for furore, not debate. The most outraged voices tend to define the conversation, and the angry crowd follows.
Patrick Chappatte has also made a great compilation of links to pages where the issue is discussed.
And the picture doesn’t look too good. Far from scaremongering, just take a look at the increasingly frequent cases of cartoonists losing their jobs for doing the very thing they were supposed to be hired to do.
The San Diego Union-Tribune fire the cartoonist mexican newspaper Ramses II for a cartoon critical of Donald Trump.
The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette rejects 19 cartoons by Rob Rogers and fires him.
A German newspaper fires his cartoonist for using “anti-Semitic stereotypes in a cartoon.
Fired cartoonist for a cartoon critical of Netanyahu’s nation-state law.
Y many others who were involved in several different ruckuses.