New York Times announces end to political cartoons following anti-Semitic scandal

(Photo by Orjan F. Ellingvag/Dagens Naringsliv/Corbis via Getty Images)

The political correctness waters have apparently gotten too choppy for the New York Times, as the newspaper has decided it will stop publishing political cartoons in its international edition.

Either that, or The Times finds it a little too difficult to draw a line when it comes to anti-Semitic content.

Times’s editorial page editor James Bennet released a statement announcing that as of July 1, the paper would officially stop publishing editorial cartoons — a move they have been mulling over for more than a year, he said.

“We plan to continue investing in forms of Opinion journalism, including visual journalism, that express nuance, complexity and strong voice from a diversity of viewpoints across all of our platforms,” Bennet said in the release.

The decision was made to bring the international edition of the paper in line with the domestic edition, which doesn’t run political cartoons, Bennet explained.

Not lost in the mix is that the move comes after The Times was forced to apologize for running an abhorrent anti-semitic cartoon in its international edition in April.

The cartoon showed Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s head attached to the body of a dog. Wearing a collar with a Star of David on it, Netanyahu was being walked by President Donald Trump, who is wearing a kippah.

The cartoon, drawn by Portuguese cartoonist António Moreira Antunes, was a poor attempt at criticizing America’s relationship with Israel.

The apology read: “A political cartoon in the international print edition of The New York Times … included anti-Semitic tropes, depicting the prime minister of Israel as a guide dog with a Star of David collar leading the president of the United States, shown wearing a skullcap. The image was offensive, and it was an error of judgment to publish it. It was provided by The New York Times News Service and Syndicate, which has since deleted it.”

Patrick Chappatte, an editorial cartoonist for the Times’s international edition, said in a blogpost that was published before Bennet’s statement that the decision was a result of the “widespread outrage” that followed the Netanyahu/Trump cartoon.

“Last week, my employers told me they’ll be ending in-house political cartoons as well by July,” Chappatte wrote. “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 of the world.”

“I’m afraid this is not just about cartoons, but about journalism and opinion in general,” he added. “We are in a world where moralistic mobs gather on social media and rise like a storm, falling upon newsrooms in an overwhelming blow.”

The cartoonist denounced Twitter as “a place of furor, not debate,” while calling for “counter-measures.”

“This requires immediate counter-measures by publishers, leaving no room for ponderation or meaningful discussions,” Chappatte said. “Twitter is a place for furor, not debate. The most outraged voices tend to define the conversation, and the angry crowd follows in.”

Anti-Semitic content aside, much of this may fall under predictable consequences, given the suffocating intolerance on the left in post-Obama America.

Here’s a sampling of the online responses, which includes lots of criticism from both sides of the debate — the cost-saving aspect of the decision was also noted in an age where newspapers are struggling to stay afloat.


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