David Gregory disses cartoonists. Again

Yesterday, Meet the Press host David Gregory displayed a Mike Keefe cartoon without citing the creator. According to Rob Tornoe, this isn’t the first time.

“Too many mainstream media folks treat cartoons like they’re shells found on a beach or forwarded e-mail attachments,” said John Cole, the staff cartoonist at the Scranton Times-Tribune. “They wouldn’t reference a Kathleen Parker or Paul Krugman column without verbally identifying the author, and the same ought to go for cartoons.”

9 thoughts on “David Gregory disses cartoonists. Again

  1. I agree. Cartoonists often get no acknowledgment. Also a prob when movie reviews mention the director but not the writer. The Writers Guild of America has been fighting this battle for years.

  2. Just another example of this so-called journalist arrogance. How would he like it if a cartoonist would use a quote uttered by him and no credit was given. You can bet there would be a lawsuit in the works.

  3. As AAEC President I wrote at least a dozen letters to big-media types guilty of this practice. We need to keep up the pressure: they certainly wouldn’t treat a columnist like this.

    In all fairness, however, the media does tend to treat news articles as though they weren’t written by reporters. “An article in the Atlanta Constitution reports that…” I’m guilty of that in my op-ed columns.

    As for editorial cartoonists, I think two factors have led to us being treated anonymously:

    First, the prevalence of the MacNelly “house” style during the 1970s and 1980s, still around in many places. For a while, all editorial cartoons looked the same. That made people think of them as generic.

    Second, the New Yorker magazine. Both the NYer and MAD magazine own the toons as work-for-hire, but MAD promotes its artists as individual creators. Not the NYer; they deliberately market their cartoons as New York cartoons, not, say, Roz Chast cartoons and Shannon Wheeler cartoons.

    Anyway, they’re not going to change unless we educate them.

  4. Ted-
    In all those dozen letters you wrote to big media types about this practice….did any reply?
    If so, what did they say…?

    I am very curious WHY they would be ignoring the authors of the cartoons, because they wouldn’t even think of doing the same with a columnist’s work.

    Please share ……

  5. Typically, Milt, I received surprised replies and promises to do better. A good example was Frank Rich at The New York Times. Like many writers, he said he was a big fan of editorial cartoons. Not crediting the specific cartoonist wasn’t deliberate; it simply hadn’t occurred to him. After I pointed it out, he promised, he would always make sure to reference the cartoonist.

    As far as I can tell, however, he hasn’t mentioned political cartoons at all since then. I’d like to think that’s not my fault, but who knows?

    Anyway, as is true in other respects here–

    –requiring payment for your work
    –not constantly telling interviewers you’re somehow inferior to “high artists” for creating “low art”

    –no one will respect cartoonists unless we respect ourselves.


    The price of respect is eternal whining.

  6. “In all fairness, however, the media does tend to treat news articles as though they weren?t written by reporters. ?An article in the Atlanta Constitution reports that?? I?m guilty of that in my op-ed columns.”

    As a former reporter, I don’t have a problem with that, unless the story is a particularly outstanding piece. I would cite Seymour Hersch for his investigative pieces, for example. But for 90 percent of stories, the reporter credited is just the guy feeding the big chunks into the meat grinder, and he was most likely told what chunks to feed in. What comes out the other end is only tangentially his.

    Columnists are a different story because they have, at least to the extent more cartoonists do, control of their work. It’s an exciting moment in the newsroom if something they do ends up getting spiked.

  7. Apparently NBC has changed their tune:


    In fact, as part of their unconditional surrender to our demands, they have also reinstated Conan O’Brien on the Tonight Show, cancelled Heroes, and rehired Chet Brinkley. Who says whining doesn’t work!

    Editor’s note: URL above has been shortened to preserve site layout. URL goes to Editor & Publisher.

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