NY Times bans political cartoons after backlash over anti-Semitic caricature

The decision, affecting the international edition, was under consideration for “well over a year,” an editor explained.

By Batya Jerenberg, World Israel News

The New York Times will stop printing political cartoons in its international edition’s editorial page as of the end of this month, the paper announced Monday.

The editorial page editor, James Bennet, said that the decision was being pondered for “well over a year,” in order to bring “that edition into line with the domestic paper,” which does not contain political cartoons.

The move comes some two months after the paper ran a cartoon that was widely panned for being anti-Semitic. In it, a blind President Trump, wearing a skullcap, is being led by a dog with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s face and a Star of David on its collar.

After a few days, the paper apologized, saying that the controversial picture had been chosen from a syndicate’s stock by a single editor with no oversight. It then stopped running syndicated political cartoons.

The paper is now ending its relationship with its two in-house cartoonists.

One of them, 20-year veteran Patrick Chappatte, reacted to the news on his website by blaming the effects of social media on journalism, while acknowledging the wrongness of the Trump picture.

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“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,” he wrote.

“We are in a world where moralistic mobs gather on social media and rise like a storm, falling upon newsrooms in an overwhelming blow,” he added. “This requires immediate counter-measures by publishers, leaving no room for ponderation or meaningful discussions.”

Calling his art “an encapsulated opinion, a visual shortcut with an unmatched capacity to touch the mind,” Chappatte said that he remained positive about the future although cartoonists in various countries have recently been fired, jailed or exiled for their work.

“This is the era of images,” he explained. “In a world of short attention span, their power has never been so big.”