Not a laughing matter

New York Times:

International New York Times to End All Daily Political Cartoons

The New York Times announced on Monday that it would no longer publish daily political cartoons in its international edition and ended its relationship with two contract cartoonists.
Two months earlier, The Times had stopped running syndicated political cartoons, after one with anti-Semitic imagery was printed in the Opinion section of the international edition.
In a statement, James Bennet, editorial page editor, said The Times was “very grateful for and proud of” the work that the cartoonists, Patrick Chappatte and Heng Kim Song, had done for the international edition over the years.
“However,” Mr. Bennet added, “for well over a year we have been considering bringing that edition into line with the domestic paper by ending daily political cartoons and will do so beginning July 1.”

Mr. Chappatte wrote on his website on Monday that after more than two decades of contributing a twice-weekly cartoon, “I’m putting down my pen, with a sigh: that’s a lot of years of work undone by a single cartoon — not even mine — that should never have run in the best newspaper in the world.”
The syndicated cartoon that prompted the most outrage was a caricature of Benjamin Netanyahu and Donald J. Trump.
The Times issued an apology, saying the cartoon was “clearly anti-Semitic and indefensible.” One of The Times’s Op-Ed columnists, Bret Stephens, denounced the cartoon and wrote that The Times should “reflect deeply on how it came to publish anti-Semitic propaganda.”
In his statement, Mr. Bennet said The Times would “continue investing in forms of opinion journalism, including visual journalism, that express nuance, complexity and strong voice from a diversity of viewpoints.”
He noted that last year, for the first time in its history, The Times won a Pulitzer Prize for political cartooning — a series that told the story of a Syrian refugee family.


36 thoughts on “Not a laughing matter”

  1. lest we forget what happened in Denmark with regard to political cartooning earlier this century.  the cartoon above and this news article from NYTimes expresses some of the sentiments back then:


    COPENHAGEN, Feb. 1 — Several European newspapers reprinted cartoons today depicting the Muslim prophet Muhammad, supporting a Danish newspaper that caused a huge outcry in the Islamic world by publishing them in the first place.

    The newspapers’ action fed into a sharpening debate here over freedom of expression, human rights and what the culture editor of Jyllands-Posten, the newspaper that first published the cartoons in September, called a “clash of civilizations” between secular Western democracies and Islamic societies.

    “This is a far bigger story than just the question of 12 cartoons in a small Danish newspaper,” the editor, Flemming Rose, said.


    In Paris, the newspaper France-Soir printed all 12 of the cartoons in question.

    The newspaper declared, “No religious dogma can impose its view on a democratic and secular society.”

    The editor in chief of France-Soir, Arnaud Levy, said there had been no coordination between European editors about publishing the cartoons. “Absolutely not,” he said in a telephone interview.

    In Berlin, a senior German editor, who was granted anonymity because she was not authorized to speak on behalf of her employers, also said there had been no contacts among European newspapers to synchronize their coverage.

    The France-Soir decision to publish the cartoons drew a sharp response from French Muslims.

    The leader of the French Council for the Muslim Religion, Dalil Boubakeur, called publication of the cartoons a “provocation” and an abuse of press freedom that was disrespectful of the world’s more than one billion Muslims.

    “The publication of the cartoons can only revive tensions in Europe and the world at a time when we are trying to unite people,” Mr. Boubakeur said.

    In Germany, the conservative daily Die Welt printed one image on its front page and declared in an editorial: “The protests from Muslims would be taken more seriously if they were less hypocritical. When Syrian television showed drama documentaries in prime time depicting rabbis as cannibals, the imams were quiet.”

    In Italy, the Turin-based La Stampa published the cartoons today, two days after Milan’s Corriere della Sera. And in Spain, they were printed in El PeriÃ3dico. Switzerland’s Tribune de Genà ̈ve plans to publish the cartoons on Thursday, and its editor in chief, Dominique von Burg, told Agence France-Presse, “You can understand the feelings of Muslims but we’re in a pluralist state, we have a right to do that.”


    The Swiss newspaper Blick published two of the cartoons on Tuesday.


    But Carsten Juste, the editor of Jyllands-Posten, said the principle to be drawn from the debate was that opponents of press freedom had secured a victory.


  2. this was the NYTimes editorial back then:


    Cartoons making fun of the prophet Muhammad that were published in a Danish newspaper last September are suddenly one of the hottest issues in international politics. Muslims in Europe and across the Middle East have been holding protests with growing levels of violence and now loss of life.

    The easy points to make about the continuing crisis are that (a) people are bound to be offended if their religion is publicly mocked, and (b) the proper response is not to go on a rampage and burn down buildings. If Muslim organizations want to stage peaceful marches or organize boycotts of Danish goods, they’re certainly within their rights.

    The pictures, one of which showed the prophet with a bomb on top of his head in place of a turban, violate a common belief among Muslims that any depiction of Muhammad is sacrilege. The paper that first published them did so as an experiment to see whether political satirists were capable of being as harsh to Islam as they are to other organized religions. If that sounds juvenile, Americans still recognize it as within the speech protected by our First Amendment.

    The New York Times and much of the rest of the nation’s news media have reported on the cartoons but refrained from showing them. That seems a reasonable choice for news organizations that usually refrain from gratuitous assaults on religious symbols, especially since the cartoons are so easy to describe in words.

    The cartoons were largely unnoticed outside Denmark until a group of Muslim leaders there made a point of circulating them, along with drawings far more offensive than the relatively mild stuff actually printed by the paper, Jyllands-Posten. It’s far from the first time that an almost-forgotten incident has been dredged up to score points with the public during politically sensitive times.

    The governments of the countries in which the demonstrations are occurring are responsible for keeping them nonviolent. Lebanese officials have rightly apologized to Denmark for failing to control a protest that ended with the torching of the Danish Consulate in Beirut. That’s in stark contrast with what happened in Syria, a nation where there is no such thing as a spontaneous demonstration, yet where large crowds managed to assemble and set fire to the Danish and Norwegian Embassies.


  3. so perhaps they are being consistent 

    or are they?

    and does it matter?

    what next will be banished?

  4. the hill:

    Comedian Bill Maher took aim at left-wing Democrats on Monday night, slamming them for political correctness that he called a “cancer on progressivism.”

    While often taking Democrats’ side as a vocal critic of President Trump, Maher, who hosts HBO’s “Real Time with Bill Maher,” said in an appearance on CNN that Democrats “don’t help themselves a lot.”

    The longtime political commentator pointed to backers of Trump who regularly cite that they like his lack of political correctness.

    “The vast majority of liberals in this country hate it,” Maher said of political correctness. “They think political correctness has gone way too far. No one likes to be living on egg shells.”

    Maher said that he needs to go after Democrats because “need some tough love, and I’m not going to stop.”

    He pointed to the news surrounding the 2016 election and the focus on Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton‘s email scandal, saying that he believes the coverages affected the election.

    “They have some things to answer for,” Maher said. “I think this far left political correctness is a cancer on progressivism.”

    “When you talk to Trump supporters, they’re not blind to his myriad flaws but one thing they always say he’s not politically correct. I don’t think you can overestimate how much people have been choking on political correctness and hate it,” Maher continued.

    Former NBC and Fox News host Megyn Kelly on Tuesday responded to Maher’s remarks, tweeting that despite criticizing Maher “many times,” he’s “dead right about the pc police & their fake self-righteousness.”

    Maher told CNN that he doesn’t “have a lot of faith” in the media ahead of the 2020 election.

    “We don’t live in the era of news division as loss-leaders like we used to,” Maher explained. “The news division didn’t use to have to make a profit. Then, that changed … and in that atmosphere, they’re going to be looking for eyeballs. That’s going to be the most important thing, it’s getting people to click, getting people to watch.”

  5. Humor is easily fractured/broken when crossing religious, intellectual, and political borders. Editors are allowed to publish it in foreign editions for no good reason.

  6. Bill Maher, the host of HBO’s “Real Time with Bill Maher,” tells CNN’s Chris Cuomo that he is ready for President Donald Trump to face impeachment.

  7. He pointed to the news surrounding the 2016 election and the focus on Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton‘s email scandal, saying that he believes the coverages affected the election.

    Maher is absolutely right about this.  Among the Bernie Bros, The Young Turks, and media grovelers such as Chris Hayes, the left damaged Hillary as much as the right wing and Russians.  I hold them responsible for sticking us with the garbage that is Trump.


  8. The media is doing what they have always done

    take cheap shots –kind of like Maher now  he’s an idiot and always has been –but people like the shock jock image he presents  that he would attack anyone for any reason — we like it when he attacks people we don’t like

  9. flatus, cartoon humor like beauty and art is in the eye of the beholder.

    likewise with changing times, political humor can morph from benign self-deprecating to hateful xenophobia.

  10. the hill:

    House Democrats are pulling a spending bill that would give lawmakers a pay raise for the first time in a decade amid a backlash from swing-district freshmen.

    The House is still slated to consider the rest of an appropriations package for other agencies, including the Defense and State departments, but not the section concerning legislative branch operations.

    A senior Democratic aide said that consideration of legislative branch spending will remain on hold as lawmakers discuss the pay raise issue.

    Close to a dozen vulnerable swing-district Democratic freshmen had submitted or co-sponsored amendments to block the pay raise, underscoring the sensitivity of the issue.

    Members of Congress have had their pay frozen since 2009… . Members are poised to receive a $4,500, or 2.6 percent, raise starting in January 2020 unless they move to prevent it as they have over the last decade.


    Rep. Abigail Spanberger (D-Va.), who flipped a GOP-held seat last fall and was among the freshmen who signed on to an amendment to block the pay raise, expressed support for the delay.

    “I’d rather continue in suspend mode than distract from all of the other good pieces of work that we’re doing. And that when we are voting to raise wages, I hope that it’s for teachers and community leaders and minimum wage workers before we turn our attention toward ourselves,” Spanberger told The Hill.


    Aside from Spanberger, other swing-district freshman Democrats who endorsed amendments to block the pay raise included Reps. Jared Golden (Maine), Jefferson Van Drew (N.J.), Elaine Luria (Va.), Andy Kim (N.J.), Anthony Brindisi (N.Y.), Angie Craig (Minn.), Joe Cunningham (S.C.) and Ben McAdams (Utah).

    At least two freshmen, Reps. Cindy Axne (D-Iowa) and Dean Phillips (D-Minn.), had pledged to turn down the pay raise for themselves if it went into effect. Axne introduced an ethics reform package last week that would prevent lawmakers from getting raises until the deficit is eliminated.


  11.  we like it when he attacks people we don’t like

    The same could be said of the host of this blog. We loved him when he attacked W or Cheney.  We got mad at him when he attacked Hillary and the Democratic establishment and said maybe trump wouldn’t be so bad.  A lot of people left this blog then.  Now that he’s trashing trump…  we love him again.

    The thing I like about Maher is that he has no sacred cows.

  12. This is a perfect example of why the media sucks

    Instead of covering the content of the hearings with John Dean and Barbara McQuade they opined not reported on whether these were the right people.   The jurnalists of today and their owners suck

  13. There was nothing on the Dean testimony on the front page of the NYTImes instead there was a story about a youtube millionaire who made her money posting videos of herself overeating  the media sucks

    It was an opportunity to educate the public on the Mueller report and instead we are treated to an alleged Biden victory split screen of Biden v Trump in Iowa.

    Yes a majority of the public are uneducated but that’s the fault of the media they are failures at their job that anyone believes SFB

  14. kgc, ms rubin at wapo agrees with you on the importance of that hearing yesterday:

    Two law professors, Joyce White Vance and Barbara McQuade, together with former White House counsel and Watergate figure John Dean, did more on Monday afternoon to educate Americans about President Trump’s repeated acts of obstruction of justice than Democrats have done since the Mueller report was released in mid-April.


    […she writes here about john dean’s contribution…]

    The stars of the hearing were the two unflappable law professors who explained in direct and concise opening statements, and in their answers, the essential facts of the Mueller case that Trump has tried to either ignore or flat-out lie about. Vance explained that Mueller had declined to make a prosecutorial recommendation, but had left that job to Congress. “Mueller explained the elements prosecutors must establish to indict an obstruction charge, laid out the evidence his investigation had revealed for each instance of conduct he investigated, and analyzed whether there was sufficient evidence to establish each element,” she said. “But he left the ultimate conclusions about the President’s conduct to the American people and their elected representatives, and possibly for future prosecutors to consider when the President is no longer in office.”


    She then proceeded to lay out the elements of an obstruction charge (an act, a nexus to an investigation and corrupt intent), pointing out 10 categories of conduct in which “Mueller was investigating an attack on our democracy by a hostile foreign power, and on multiple occasions, the President tried to thwart it, curtail it, or end it completely, either by removing the Special Counsel outright or interfering with his ability to gather evidence.” This may be news to Republicans and to those who haven’t read the report, but there was, in other words replete evidence to indict Trump had he not been a sitting president. Vance drilled down on one especially egregious category of conduct — Trump telling McGahn to get rid of Mueller, and later telling him to deny he was asked and to falsify the record. And she reminded the committee and public that about 1,000 former prosecutors have opined that had Trump not been president, they’d have indicted him.

    For her part, McQuade reiterated the seriousness of obstruction of justice, explaining why the absence of an underlying crime cannot exonerate a defendant. (If that were the case, we would never prosecute someone who successfully blocked an investigation, leaving law enforcement with no evidence of a crime.) Not only is this a serious crime that strikes at the heart of our criminal justice system but, in this case, McQuade pointed out, it was a threat to national security. By blocking or attempting to block Mueller’s investigation, the president was seeking to thwart an investigation into a foreign power’s interference in our election, “which would diminish our ability to detect and defend against future threats.” She reminded the committee that in four instances (“counts” in an indictment), all three elements of obstruction were found. (She focused in depth on the efforts to get then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions to unrecuse himself so he would be in a position to curtail the investigation.)


    Questioning by Democrats was stronger than usual, in part because they focused on (and read from) episodes in the Mueller report. Republicans blustered and berated Dean but, of course, chose not to focus on the undisputed facts nor on the clear legal principles the witnesses set out. Once more, they showed how unserious and irresponsible they are, devoid of any respect for their oaths of office. Again and again, McQuade and Vance came back to the facts: Trump’s efforts to stop or derail the investigation were tied to contemporaneous reports that he was being investigated for obstruction.


    The hearing demonstrated three things. First, Republicans must obscure the report and lie about its contents since it has no real defense to Trump’s conduct. The amount of evidence is extensive. McQuade argued that this was worse than Watergate; Vance reaffirmed that this was not a close call and that there was substantial evidence of criminality.

    Second, all witnesses and a number of congressmen made the strong case that McGahn’s testimony is essential. Third, this is the beginning of a process that will, if committee chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) is successful, include fact witnesses who can bring to life what the panel explained on Monday. Whether it changes public opinion sufficiently to encourage Democrats to move to impeachment is unknown, but if part of the task here is to make an historical record, Democrats have certainly succeeded. And if Trump is paying attention, he’ll want to get a pardon before leaving office; there are about 1,000 prosecutors who’d love to take up the case for which Mueller has documents.

  15. The hearing should be on c-span if they aren’t already and maybe some of the other networks will pick them up.

    Even the Post makes it an opinion piece  not news coverage  The media is a giant failure nothing like its past.

    I blame them for this mess and they should be apologizing and doing a better job  not blaming Nancy Pelosi or looking for other internecine fights.    I suppose it’s easier and cheaper to just be a load of opinion crap but let’s not pretend it’s news

  16. I suppose it’s easier and cheaper to just be a load of opinion crap but let’s not pretend it’s news


  17. The cartoon thing is weird   — allegedly it’s because of an antisemitic cartoon– what?  it was accidentally published?   They didn’t know it was antisemitic until someone told them?

  18. are all political cartoons negatively depicting Netanyahu to be considered anti-Semitic?   is the Israeli gov’t beyond reproach or criticism?

    why then aren’t ‘toons of putin  or india’s  modi banned for being anti-orthodox or anti-hindu ?

  19. I have active subscriptions to four papers–our local, The State, and delivered along with it, the WSJ. In addition I have electronic subs to the WaPo and the NYTimes. IMO the Journal is the best of the lot, the most timely all-encompassing news reporting and an Editorial Board that is willing to chastise itself. Its financial pages through their timely quotes of worldwide economic activity provide a means of ratifying accuracy of reported news events and editorial positions in their own and other pubs. I will probably drop the Times (again); it’s not the same paper I grew-up with in my younger years.

  20. wapo:

    House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam B. Schiff (D-Calif.) demanded Tuesday that the heads of two federal intelligence agencies provide documents detailing how White House officials sought to edit — and then suppress — written testimony saying that human activities are warming the planet and that the climate changes underway pose a grave national security threat.


    Schiff’s move came in response to the news, first reported Friday by The Washington Post, that White House officials barred the State Department’s Bureau of Intelligence and Research from submitting written testimony last week to his panel warning that human-caused climate change is “possibly catastrophic.”


    Officials from the White House’s Office of Legislative Affairs, Office of Management and Budget and National Security Council initially tried to cut more than a third of the testimony, which cited federal government findings on how burning fossil fuels had driven recent climate change. After State refused to make the changes, the legislative affairs office blocked the agency from entering the document into the record, but allowed bureau senior analyst Rod Schoonover to testify Wednesday before the committee.

    In a letter to State Assistant Secretary Ellen McCarthy, who oversees the bureau, Schiff said members of his panel wanted to learn more details about the interactions between White House aides and the State Department. He also sent a similar letter to the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, which had sent its own analyst to Wednesday’s hearing along with the Office of Naval Intelligence.

    “If these reports are accurate, I applaud your Bureau for standing by its analysts and the integrity of its analysts and the integrity of their work in the face of political pressure, but the Committee remains gravely concerned about the events surrounding Dr. Schoonover’s withheld written testimony,” he wrote McCarthy.



    The document prepared by the bureau, which was obtained by The Post, outlines the implications of what the U.S. and other nations face if the world does not seek to cut greenhouse gas emissions significantly in the near future. It outlines the kind of tipping points that could be triggered at any time, including the massive release of carbon now frozen in the earth and the sudden collapse of coral reefs and entire insect populations.


    “Absent extensive mitigating factors or events, we see few plausible future scenarios where significant — possibly catastrophic — harm does not arise from the compounded effects of climate change,” the document said.


  21. If bill maher or clint eastwood are such tender souls that they can’t thrive in the face of criticism (alleged p.c.) maybe working in the emotion business was a poor vocational choice for them. They would probably be happier arranging posies.

  22. I didn’t think the NYT cartoon was anti-Semitic. It just wasn’t very good. Depicting netanyahu as trump’s pet dog (or vice versa) may be to the point, but it isn’t subtle, original, enlightening, or funny. If the NYT doesn’t waste money and space on such drivel, I don’t have a problem.

    Now, if the NYT portrayed muhammed bin salman as netanyahu’s dog, or vice versa, THAT would be an eye-opener that I could applaud.

  23. Now, Matson’s nixon cartoon (thanks, Ms Pat) is a different volume. That cartoon is a gem.

  24. Well I’m not a big critic of Maher. I like his humor and he’s smarter than the average bear. When he criticizes Dems they probably deserve it. We criticize them when they don’t proceed as we’d like. Why would we be pissed at him for having a different, more critical opinion than we have. And he’s an entertainer fuhchrissake. I saw him live a couple months ago and laughed my ass off.


    Flatus, I’ve got digital subscriptions to the Post, Times and our local rag. I generally prefer the Post and probably will drop the Times when the promo period runs out.

  25. I did not understand the tirade against political correctness.  Mostly what that means to me is an excuse to go back to the bad old ways

  26. I’d like to know what about political correctness they don’t like?


  27. Maher was advancing a line he’s been using since at least the Clinton email issue. He’s said that the far left is too concerned with being ideologically pure, not being accused of hypocrisy and proving their superiority by being overly critical of their own rather than risking charges of being nasty and indifferent to their own feet of clay because of attacking republicans on issues that Dems aren’t necessarily sufficiently pure on. It is tied to the false equivalence that the press employs and exploits by for instance holding up the Clinton email issue when criticism of republicans is raised for lack of transparency. His message is simple and right – grow some balls and aim our fire at republicans instead of shooting at our own by focusing on lack of sufficient purity in their positions. Bernie! did it in 2016 and it’s happening again with Biden. I don’t believe it’s a pile of poop at all.

  28. Oh, and the most recent example is Biden’s position on reproductive autonomy – which he has strongly supported – and which is under attack nationwide at the state level. Rather than focus on that fight and going hard after Republicans, attempting to peel off right leaning women voters and continuing the progress seen in that respect in 2018 the supporters of other Dem candidates attacked Biden because he supported the Hyde amendment, which provided a restriction on use of federal funds that allowed funding of Planned Parenthood for the vast majority of its reproductive services. The battle is to get SFB and repugs of his ilk out of office do that the support for reproductive rights won’t die a death at their hands. Funding for abortion is an interesting topic that can’t be addressed until the ouster of repugs from holding the presidency and senate has been accomplished and the more fundamental issue is positioned to be lost if Dems don’t prevail next year. Dems challenging Biden of course took aim at Joe on funding.

  29. What I find obnoxious about maher, is his desire to stifle the speech of purists and word cops. He’s the very censor he claims to oppose, only he’s self-righteous and preening.

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