This month, The New York Times fired its two cartoonists, Patrick Chappatte and Heng Kim Song, who drew for the international edition.
This wasn’t a cost-cutting measure. I believe it was a response to the outrage The Times received in April after the international editions printed an anti-Semitic cartoon of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as a dog leading a blind Donald Trump. The Times apologized, then terminated all syndicated cartoons and its own cartoonists.
Newspapers have always been the cartoonist’s bread and butter, since the days of Thomas Nast. But print journalism has become the VHS of distribution systems in a world of online streaming…
Necessity is the mother of invention. There is a need for editorial cartoons. If newspapers can’t afford it, someone else will.
I started doing illustrations for The New York Times around 1963 and continued on until 2016. In the late 70’s and early 80’s, I had to quit my part time teaching at Parsons because the Times would go so far as to call me there and ask me to come by before going home. It got so crazy I had to just stay home and freelance instead of trying to teach at the same time.
While never big on editorial cartoons, especially of the in-house sort,
Randall Enos remembers a time when illustration and caricature were valued.
As of late, the art in the Times (on Sundays especially), often consists of big, splashy nonsense. Even Ralph Nader wrote a letter to them condemning the waste of space on frivolous and meaningless art that cheats the reader of valuable news items that could occupy the wasted space.
And now, most recently we see that the Gray Lady has dispensed with all editorial cartoons in her foreign editions. The once glorious art-laden Lady is no more.
The Gray Lady has gotten a lot grayer now.
Now, from the past week, more responses to the unreal Times action.
Starting with the cartoon that accompanied the Randall Enos column above: