NYT drops all cartoons
June 13, 2019 8:20 AM   Subscribe

The New York Times announced on Monday that it will cease publishing political cartoons, weeks after the newspaper came under fire for publishing a cartoon that was slammed because it had been deemed blatantly anti-Semitic. "I’m afraid this is not just about cartoons, but about journalism and opinion in general," Chappatte wrote. "Over the last years, some of the very best cartoonists… lost their positions because their publishers found their work too critical of Trump. Maybe we should start worrying. And pushing back. Political cartoons were born with democracy. And they are challenged when freedom is."
posted by GoblinHoney (48 comments total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
meh. Political cartoons at best lack nuance and I could totally live in a world without them. Not sad to see them go at all.
posted by Dressed to Kill at 8:24 AM on June 13 [4 favorites]

That all depends on the cartoonist. Some are hamfisted, while others bring considerable subtlety to bear (Martin Rowson in the Guardian is one who comes to mind).
posted by acb at 8:26 AM on June 13 [5 favorites]

New York Times to Cease Political Cartoons After 'anti-Semitic' Depiction of Netanyahu

Like, lets not bury the lead here. Not only was (noted asshole) Netanyahu depicted as a dog wearing a Jewish star, the real anti-semitic part is that Trump was depicted wearing a yarmulke. I'm not sure the solution is to ban all political cartoons, but rather to be on the lookout for ones that cross the line into hate.
posted by Homo neanderthalensis at 8:27 AM on June 13 [42 favorites]

Political cartoons are mostly terrible. That said, when I was in 5th or 6th grade I read and reread a big and slightly dated collection of them, because I would devour absolutely anything that looked like comics, and that's why I was the only 11 year old around who knew about ABSCAM and the S&L crisis.
posted by theodolite at 8:38 AM on June 13 [61 favorites]

They should syndicate Kelly from The Onion.

actually by Ward Sutton
posted by the man of twists and turns at 8:40 AM on June 13 [13 favorites]

Megan McCain is going to be unreasonably smug about this, as a victim of anti-semitic cartoon imagery herself.
posted by Space Coyote at 8:42 AM on June 13 [1 favorite]

Something I've noticed about the NYT the last few years is that they are always reactive and not proactive when it comes to these types of issues. Lots of apologies, lots of "oh, right that was dumb" after the fact.

It's one reason I cancelled my digital subscription last year. They're just too many white men writing for the NYT wanting me to consider "both sides". Not at all surprised that the NYT made this kind of error in judgement. They need to overhaul their editorial board.

I do appreciate a good editorial cartoon/comic. I'm a big fan of Clay Bennett & Rob Rogers.
posted by Fizz at 8:50 AM on June 13 [15 favorites]

I wasn't even aware the Times published political cartoons. I've never seen one.
posted by Automocar at 9:00 AM on June 13 [4 favorites]

[image of Statue of Liberty shedding a single tear]

But seriously, this is yet another shitty move by NYT. (I wouldn't be surprised if this decision was made due to pushback from trump's people because their boss threw a fit when he saw a particularly grotesque caricature of himself in the funny pages.)
posted by Atom Eyes at 9:01 AM on June 13 [5 favorites]

well that seems reaonable
posted by es_de_bah at 9:02 AM on June 13

I wasn't even aware the Times published political cartoons. I've never seen one.

The New York Times cuts all political cartoons, and cartoonists are not happy, Washington Post
Beginning next month, the Times will cease running daily political cartoons in its international edition, editorial page editor James Bennet said Monday in a statement — a move that brings the overseas newspaper “into line with the domestic paper,” which in recent years had ceased running weekly roundups of syndicated cartoons and experimented instead with longer-form editorial comics.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 9:03 AM on June 13 [1 favorite]

Political cartoons are mostly terrible until you see one that you agree with and then it is Speaking Truth Directly To Power.
posted by Going To Maine at 9:04 AM on June 13 [44 favorites]

Ah, the international edition! That makes more sense. Thanks.
posted by Automocar at 9:05 AM on June 13 [1 favorite]

The NY Times loves Trump. I am not surprised by this. The way they have behaved since his reign has disgusted me and I refuse to read them.
posted by agregoli at 9:08 AM on June 13 [8 favorites]

Maybe the issue is not so much this or that cartoonist made an offensive cartoon but that we live in an era where a modest outrage wastebasket fire can explode into a five-alarm death-threat-laced tire fire. Thanks, Twitter!
posted by simra at 9:10 AM on June 13 [5 favorites]

The framing on this sure feels a bit weird considering that it's clear there's an antisemitic implication - I mean the fucking dog-whistle there is in human hearing range.

And I am not one who supports Israel in the sense of some divine mandate, and definitely what their policies towards Palestine, so it's not like I'm opposed to a proper critique of Israel's influence on US policy, but maybe it's the Yarmulke that reads as more "antisemitic" (as opposed to just a national flag).

Regardless, instead of just saying "let's ban things that smack of nazi-ism, we'll ban all cartoons" is pretty weaksauce, but I would expect no less from that increasingly grey lady.
posted by symbioid at 9:17 AM on June 13 [17 favorites]

Yeah, this isn't "some can see this as anti-semitic" this is a hugely anti-semitic cartoon on multiple levels that is just whistling to bigots.
posted by corb at 9:25 AM on June 13 [19 favorites]

"Well I guess I just won't say anything!" isn't exactly the response one hopes for from one of the most influential publications in the world.
posted by howfar at 9:29 AM on June 13 [54 favorites]

It seems to me that they could do a lot to limit the number of offensive editorial cartoons being published by just being choosier about which editorial cartoons they run in general. The one in question wasn't just anti-Semitic, it was also not very good on its own merits as a cartoon.
posted by Strange Interlude at 9:33 AM on June 13 [11 favorites]

Cartoons are ham-fisted and lack subtlety, that's why I only consume memes.
posted by Kitty Stardust at 9:45 AM on June 13 [26 favorites]

Well, now I will shift away from not getting my news and commentary from the NYT to... wait.
posted by delfin at 10:15 AM on June 13 [1 favorite]

What they should ban are opinion pieces that aren't vetted and fact check that then ended up being circulated as if they are journalism.
posted by terrapin at 10:19 AM on June 13 [15 favorites]

This is a blow to the visual arts, and poorly thought out. Comedy in various forms is what gets me through politics. Too bad! Put it back, wankers!
posted by Oyéah at 10:42 AM on June 13

We are in an age, btw, where people like (all links technically WS, but potentially offensive: seriously, these are unpleasant) Ben Garrison and Yaakov Kirschen and A.F. Branco and Sean Delonas and Michael Ramirez and Mike Lester and Steve Kelley can put "political cartoonist" instead of "propagandist" on their resumes, and be taken seriously and printed by reasonably mainstream publications. For every Ann Telnaes or Tom Toles or such out there, there are dozens of unapologetic hacks.

And if the NYT isn't ready to call them out as such, best to leave the medium to those who do think about these things.
posted by delfin at 10:46 AM on June 13 [8 favorites]

A lot of cartoons are really lazy. But it's tragic if newspapers stop using talented cartoonists out of ignorance and fear.
posted by mumimor at 10:46 AM on June 13 [1 favorite]

I think a lot of people are misunderstanding this. (The confusing Haaretz article doesn't help.) The anti-semitic cartoon (which was taken from a syndicated service) was published in the print version of the International edition of the NYT (formerly the International Herald Tribune). It is that edition that is dropping editorial cartoons.

The NY TImes that most people in the US see does not run cartoons, hasn't for years.
posted by neroli at 10:52 AM on June 13 [27 favorites]

I wish everything in neroli's comment was in the FPP, because there is a huge lack of detail on this whole story. Who were the cartoonists? Who was the editor who got disciplined? Why is there no mention of NYT International vs NYT domestic?
posted by JauntyFedora at 11:01 AM on June 13 [8 favorites]

Oh! And! I just googled Haaretz and its English-language version is bundled and sold with the international New York Times. Seems like that would be good info to have, as well.
posted by Automocar at 11:05 AM on June 13 [2 favorites]

(noted asshole) Netanyahu is a total piece of, uh, work—and the world is better off the sooner he is deposed of—but yeah, this cartoon is terrible and indeed anti-semitic. not sure if the end result should be the NYT International dropping all cartoons, however.
posted by Ahmad Khani at 11:30 AM on June 13 [6 favorites]

I'm not fan in general of political cartoons, by their very nature they are often filled with ham-fisted iconography and all that but... they're still an important outlet for ideas, feelings, frustrations, humor, and venting. Clearly that sort of thing is still important to people, people make and swap memes all the time which are not entirely unlike political cartoon templates in their own way.

The catalyst for this event is tricky. One one hand it can appear anti-Semitic, on the other it's still a rude distillation of current events, and on the third there's the issue between antisemitism and any criticism of Israeli being painted as anti-semitism to deflect whatever legitimate criticism might be had. Either way, simply removing cartoons entirely is a pretty cowardly solution. I think the real winners here are those would be mocked in such cartoons, they get silence from critics without even doing anything to get it.
posted by GoblinHoney at 11:35 AM on June 13 [1 favorite]

If only there was a visual metaphor in throwing a baby out with bathwater...
posted by UltraMorgnus at 11:35 AM on June 13 [4 favorites]

The catalyst for this event is tricky.

It's really not. Non-Jew Trump depicted wearing Yarmulke is blatant antisemitism. Depicting a bad person as Jewish to hammer home how bad they are is one of the oldest form of visual antisemitism there is. Not to mention the reaction to ban all cartoons is also borderline antisemitic, because when people rightfully complain about how not all cartoons are hateful, the international NYT can point to Jews and say "they did this by being too sensitive." I suspect someone at the international NYT is *very* antisemitic.
posted by Homo neanderthalensis at 11:56 AM on June 13 [25 favorites]

The cartoon is by Antonio Antunes, a Portuguese cartoonist/artist whose work is published in the influential "Expresso" weekly. He buries himself defending it: The Portuguese cartoonist behind the New York Times cartoon that depicted Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as a dog has rejected charges of anti-Semitism, calling critics part of the “Jewish propaganda machine.”

And he's ginned up controversy before.
posted by chavenet at 12:22 PM on June 13 [7 favorites]

More than ever I miss Walt Kelly...
posted by speug at 12:23 PM on June 13 [3 favorites]

Thomas Nast is eyerolling so hard over here....
posted by Lynsey at 1:04 PM on June 13 [2 favorites]

Well, Nast never was published in the NYT (mostly featured in Harper's Weekly), and his work contained enough anti-Catholic and anti-Irish content to make him very controversial in THIS era.
posted by oneswellfoop at 1:39 PM on June 13

One one hand it can appear anti-Semitic, on the other it's still a rude distillation of current events, and on the third there's the issue between antisemitism and any criticism of Israeli being painted as anti-semitism to deflect whatever legitimate criticism might be had

You've currently got three hands, and two of them only exist because you don't really seen convinced of the anti-Semitism of this profoundly anti-Semitic image.

In re hand one. "it can appear anti-Semitic". No, I'm sorry, it's not that complex: it is anti-Semitic. If you doubt that then you're part of the problem.

In re hand two. It's not a "rude distillation" of anything: it's a gross distortion, because it creates the impression that there is a sinister governing Jewishness that controls events.

In re hand three. That is only ever a legitimate concern if the "criticism of Israel" is not, in fact, a grossly anti-Semitic piece of trash. It's irrelevant here, and is a distraction from the actual anti-Semitism that actually happened.
posted by howfar at 1:49 PM on June 13 [15 favorites]

More than ever I miss Walt Kelly...

Not long ago I was looking at Pogo again and thinking how perfectly animated it was without a single cel. But then, there's the matter of missing artists for our own sakes. When do we know when artists are done? I missed Bloom County terribly when it was gone, and now it's back, and now, well, now there's this.
posted by Countess Elena at 1:50 PM on June 13

Editorial Cartoonists React to New York Times Dropping All Editorial Cartoons

Here's the perspective of Patrick Chapette, one of the cartoonists to lose his job.
posted by oneswellfoop at 1:53 PM on June 13 [2 favorites]

[Y'all I have no interest in folks trying to dig in on the "well, but actually it's not anti-Semitic and here's why" angle. Cut it out.]
posted by cortex (staff) at 2:17 PM on June 13 [9 favorites]

I don’t think political cartoons have to be bad, but those published in the NYT were neither funny nor interesting. I learned Patrick Chapatte’s name because I kept clicking on it, expecting an article, only to be disappointed by yet another unsubtle, unfunny cartoon. Cartoons can be brilliant, but I’m OK with losing what the Times was publishing.
posted by FencingGal at 6:46 PM on June 13

Growing up I was fortunate -- I'd see a lot of different newspapers, at home, at the library, and while traveling. Early on I learned to disregard the New York Times -- not only did I find their headline font quaint and unpleasant to read, there was no comics section!
posted by Rash at 8:47 PM on June 13 [1 favorite]

Guardian Cartoonist Rowson's comment

Heh, I really expected that to be in cartoon form.
posted by Segundus at 11:29 PM on June 13 [1 favorite]

The cartoon in question was hateful and wrong. But when someone says "Do better", the right move is not "stop doing things altogether".
posted by Gordafarin at 8:13 AM on June 14

I know this old by now but I kept thinking about your comment, howfar, and you are right and I do not stand by the comment of mine to which you were responding.
posted by GoblinHoney at 10:29 AM on June 17 [4 favorites]

Favourited for the refreshing example.
posted by Segundus at 6:18 AM on June 19

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