The New York Times will no longer be publishing political cartoons following the uproar surrounding an anti-Semitic depiction of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, according to a political cartoonist whose work was featured in the paper.
In April, The New York Times International published a cartoon featuring Netanyahu as a guide dog and wearing a Star of David around his neck being walked by President Trump seen wearing a yarmulke. After putting out a statement admitting the cartoon had "anti-Semitic tropes" and was an "error in judgment," the paper issued an apology. The cartoon received widespread condemnation, including from its own editorial board, which called it "obviously bigoted" as well as a scathing op-ed from NYT columnist Bret Stephens.
Well, it appears the paper is taking preemptive measures so that such a controversy will never happen again. And that means "the end of political cartoons at The New York Times," according to longtime political cartoonist Patrick Chappatte.
"In 20-plus years of delivering a twice-weekly cartoon for the International Herald Tribune first, and then The New York Times, after receiving three OPC awards in that category, I thought the case for political cartoons had been made... But something happened," Chappatte began a post written on his website Monday.
"In April 2019, a Netanyahu caricature from syndication reprinted in the international editions triggered widespread outrage, a Times apology and the termination of syndicated cartoons. Weeks later, my employers tell me they're ending political cartoons altogether by July. 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."
Chappatte expressed his concerns go beyond political cartoons and how "mobs" on social media leave no room for "ponderation or meaningful discussions."
"I’m afraid this is not just about cartoons, but about journalism and opinion in general. We are in a world where moralistic mobs gather on social media and rise like a storm, falling upon newsrooms in an overwhelming blow," Chappatte wrote. "This requires immediate counter-measures by publishers, leaving no room for ponderation or meaningful discussions. Twitter is a place for furor, not debate. The most outraged voices tend to define the conversation, and the angry crowd follows in."
The political cartoonist, however, says he "remains positive" that in a world with short attention spans, the "era of images" will carry on, later adding, "In the insane world we live in, the art of the visual commentary is needed more than ever. And so is humor."
He concluded with a cartoon he made following the 2015 Charlie Hebdo terrorist attack where the French newspaper was targeted for publishing anti-Islamist cartoons. It features a man standing next to a memorial, saying "Without humor, we are all dead" next to a broken pencil on the ground.
NYT editorial page editor James Bennet told Fox News that the paper was considering removing political cartoons for "well over a year" and will no longer be printing them beyond July 1st.
"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 a statement.
Bennet added that the paper hopes to collaborate with Chappatte and political cartoonist Heng Kimg Song in other projects in the future.