“Fire All the Editorial Cartoonists”

Jack Crosbie, a contributing writer to Rolling Stone, Spy, and others who “primarily focuses on politics and conflict, with occasional forays into media criticism,” has a problem with Michael Ramirez‘s latest editorial cartoon for The Washington Post:

I am going to link to an image of an editorial cartoon that was published today in the Washington Post. I cannot place it directly in this blog because of copyright issues, and also because I think it is despicable and I don’t particularly want it on our website. That is how I feel about it; I would like you to consider how you feel. Here is the image.

© Las Vegas Review-Journal/The Washington Post/Creators Syndicate/Michael Ramirez(?)

Jack continues:

What do we think? Is this incisive political commentary? Is it particularly affecting art? Or is it a racist caricature whose only intellectual point relies on a lazy observation of the realities of guerilla warfare by a paramilitary force embedded in a civilian population, a situation that has been used to justify mass murder, genocide, and widespread atrocities by nearly every imperial force in history? I think you can see that I think it is the latter.

Crosbie pulls no punches attacking conservative and liberal cartoonists and newspapers and their readers.

For example:

What editorial cartoons are is a visual representation of where a paper’s intended audience is at, in terms of overall intelligence and political bent. The fact that the Washington Post feels comfortable publishing something this intellectually lazy, unfunny, and racist is an indication that they know their core audience is vaguely stupid and slightly reactionary.

Read Jack Crosbie’s full column at his Discourse Blog Substack.

Crosbie praises the Pulitzer Prize board for dropping the Editorial Cartoonist category and replacing it with Illustrated Reporting and Commentary division:

So: Fire the cartoonists! Hire more editorial illustrators!

Next Morning Update:

The Washington Post has deleted the cartoon (hat tip to Mike Peterson in the comments below):

The Washington Post took down an editorial cartoon Wednesday that depicted a Hamas leader using civilians as human shields, after the drawing was criticized as racist and dehumanizing toward Palestinians.

More about the deleted cartoon from Al Jazeera, The Hill, Gulf News, The New Arab.

now back to our regularly scheduled program…

To me the cartoon, to quote Crosbie, prompts a question. But not the question Jack posed.

During the Summer of 2023 Michael Ramirez contributed a weekly cartoon to The Washington Post. But the cartoon that sent Crosbie on rant was the first of Michael’s for The Post since September of this year.

And there is a marked difference in the credit byline:

Unlike Michael’s earlier WaPo cartoons this one is showing up at his home paper The Las Vegas Review-Journal.

Were there some contractual issues? If so it appears they have been worked out to everyone’s satisfaction.

Another Next Morning Update

In the same item about the cartoon deletion The WaPo notes the Ramirez absence without explaining why:

Ramirez, a two-time Pulitzer Prize winner on the staff of the Las Vegas Review-Journal, started contributing cartoons to The Post in May. While The Post published his work almost weekly through the summer, the “Human Shields” cartoon was the first of his to appear since late September, a couple weeks before the Oct. 7 Hamas attack on Israel.

14 thoughts on ““Fire All the Editorial Cartoonists”

  1. Paul is referring to this X/Tweet by de Adder: https://twitter.com/deAdder/status/1722357710149067228
    “I was the main editorial cartoonist at the Washington Post under Fred Hiatt. But the new management came in and demoted me to one cartoon. They promoted Michael Ramirez to the main spot. New management didn’t like my viewpoint. It happens in this business everyday. So I draw one for them on Wednesdays. And I’m happy to do it…”

    (Even more next morning updating)
    Ann Telnaes response: https://twitter.com/AnnTelnaes/status/1722397685884522991
    “News to me. Remember everyone, don’t believe everything you read online and don’t rely on one source.”

  2. The cartoon has since been taken down at WashPo, but not likely because of this sophomoric screed. Editor David Shipley offers the excuse that they hadn’t caught how likely it was to offend people. As noted before, hiring someone who understands nuance and metaphors might have avoided the problem in the first place.


    1. That subpar — sorry, substack — was painful to read. Obviously another writer who’s jealous because he can’t draw. “Grrrr, words good, cartoons bad!”

  3. I don’t find it racist, but I’m neither an Israeli nor a Palestinian, nor Jewish, nor even American, and if it hurts as many people as it so obviously does, then I would take it down.

  4. Sad when people get censured for telling the truth. Or in this case showing the truth.
    It’s really hard to understand how Hamas could accidentally put their main bases under hospitals. Or store their guns and bombs the children’s sites.

    1. Israel did not start the killing….Hamas did and the Palestinians act as if they have no complicity in allowing Hamas to exist

  5. Can someone explain to me the offense of this cartoon in very clear and specific language? I’ve read that it’s an offensive racial/physical stereotype, but that is what cartooning is. I don’t see anything expressly offensive as compared to photos of Hamas fighters. I’m not a fan of Ramirez to begin with, but I’m baffled at the claim of offense. Please explain.

  6. Ramirez is so obviously Hamasophobic in his depiction of our glorious brave fighters who only surround themselves with children of sufficient age to carry ammunition!!!!

  7. This seems like typical Ramirez BS. Honestly this is more a problem with caricatures than anything else.
    Hamas does not equal all Palestinians, and Israel does not equal all Jews. I wish people would understand this.

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