NYT Is Ending All Political Cartoons

Posted: Jun 11, 2019 7:45 AM
NYT Is Ending All Political Cartoons

Source: AP Photo/Mark Lennihan, file

The New York Times will end all of its political cartoons, effective July 1. The move comes weeks after publishing an anti-Semitic cartoon in its international paper that drew widespread condemnation.

The decision was first brought to light by Times cartoonist Patrick Chappatte, who published a blog post linking the move to the April 2019 cartoon of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, though the Times denied that it was related.

“I’m afraid this is 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 like a storm, falling upon newsrooms in an overwhelming blow,” Chappatte said. “This requires immediate counter-measures by publishers, leaving no room for ponderation or meaningful discussions. Twitter is a place for furor, not debate. The most outraged voices tend to define the conversation, and the angry crowd follows in.”

The Times’s editorial page editor, James Bennet, said the decision to pull cartoons was being considered for awhile, noting that the U.S. version of the paper hasn’t carried cartoons. 

"We're very grateful for and proud of the work Patrick Chappatte and Heng Kim Song have done for the international edition of The New York Times, which circulates overseas; however, for well over a year we have been considering bringing that edition into line with the domestic paper by ending daily political cartoons and will do so beginning on July 1st," Bennet told CNN. 

"We plan to continue investing in forms of Opinion journalism, including visual journalism, that express nuance, complexity and strong voice from a diversity of viewpoints across all of our platforms," he added.

Chappatte said media outlets need to stop fearing the outrage mob.

“In the insane world we live in, the art of the visual commentary is needed more than ever,” he said. “And so is humor.”

The anti-Semitic cartoon, which the Times ended up retracting and apologizing for, showed Netanyahu as a dog leading President Trump who was wearing dark sunglasses and a yarmulke.