1. Editorial cartoonists have also provided fuel that stokes conspiracy theories, political divisions, religious tension and racism and time and again we have seen even stable democracies suffer the consequences of their work. Surely, there’s a better approach to such cartooning?
2. The New York Times decided to kill off editorial cartoons after this recent cartoon of Netanyahu and Trump caused an uproar - some consider it anti-Semitic. Understandably, some cartoonists (unclear how many will be out of work due to this) are not happy with NYT’s decision.
3. Der Sturmer, a Nazi weekly (whose masthead slogan read: "The Jew is our misfortune"), ran vicious caricatures of Jews on its cover. After the war, the Nuemberg Tribunal indicted Nazi leadership, and Der Sturmer's Jules Streicher was the only editor among them. He was hanged.
4. On occasion even staff working for a publication have petitioned against an editorial cartoon. One such example: Henry Kissinger "screwing the world.” The Nation’s staff's objection: "...a progressive magazine has no business using rape jokes and sexist imagery…”
5. In 2008, The New Yorker featured a cover cartoon by Barry Blitt showing Barack and Michelle Obama in “terrorist garb” fist-bumping. When thousands canceled subscriptions, “It's not a satire about Obama, it's a satire about the prejudices about him," editor Remnick responded.
6. On occasion, cartooning has exposed corruption. After Thomas Nast's depictions of Boss Tweed took him and his Tammany Hall cronies down, Tweed said, "I don't care a straw for your newspaper articles. My constituents can't read. But they can't help seeing them damn pictures."
7. So in an age of rapid dissemination of fake news and malicious memes, is it time to ditch political cartooning and condition the public to absorbing more thoughtful, longer-form, less strident, less cartoonish analysis of the news and current events?
8. Meanwhile Plantu, chief cartoonist of France’s Le Monde daily, said he was “worried about the future of our democracies and freedom of opinion.”
Plantu founded Cartooning for Peace with late UN chief Annan, and is campaigning to declare political cartooning a human right.
9. The political cartoon NYT ran echoed those hate groups and figures on the far right also share - that’s another risk for publications like NYT - that their efforts to promote freedom of expression could lend credibility to (what some may mistake/consider) as “similar” content.
10. One of the most famous political cartoons: James Gillray’s The Plumb-pudding in Danger (1805). The world being carved up into spheres of influence between William Pitt and Napoleon Bonaparte (probably the most stolen over and over again by cartoonists ever since).
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