“Kurt Vonnegut once compared the artist to the canary in the coal mine, a hypersensitive creature who alerts hardier life forms to toxic gases by kindly dropping dead. Given the steady demise of editorial cartoonists during the past several years, newspapers might begin to wonder about the quality of the air.” – Doug Marlette
After 25 years as the editorial cartoonist for The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, I was fired.
I blame Donald Trump.
Well, sort of.
The top opening quote, from a 2004 Doug Marlette essay, comes by way of Andy Marlette.
They got another one of us. A cartoonist. Rob Rogers. He was the 25-year veteran cartoonist and Pulitzer finalist at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. He’s excellent. He’s beloved and respected by readers. And Pittsburgh is one of America’s greatest, and presumably most free-thinking, cities. But none of that mattered.
Pulitzer Prize winning Ann Telnaes, and president of the AAEC at this time last year, in The Washington Post:
But with the firing of Pittsburgh Post-Gazette cartoonist Rob Rogers, we now see that suppressing a free press can be accomplished without an authoritarian president’s orders. Michael Cohen isn’t the only “fixer” Trump has at his disposal.
[Post-Gazette editor Keith] Burris wanted a hand puppet who would support the president.
It’s as simple as this: Rogers was fired for refusing to do cartoons extolling Trump.
The AAEC also provided links to a few of the dozens of news reports about the firing, including a link to The Post-Gazette story that includes a convoluted defense of their actions.
[Keith Burris] said he did not “suppress” Mr. Rogers’ cartoons but that Mr. Rogers was unwilling to “collaborate” with him about his work and ideas.
More support from fellow cartoonists and others (nearly 2,000 comments at this moment) can be seen on Rob’s Facebook announcement of his firing.
apology: Somewhere I saw a Joel Pett response that I can’t find now, and I’ve surely missed others.
update: Darrin Bell comments (generically) on the importance of Rob’s work in his Sunday, June 17 Candorville strip.