On June 26, Michael de Adder posted to Twitter his cartoon of U.S. President Donald Trump golfing next to the bodies of two migrants: it was based on a haunting photo of asylum-seeker Oscar Alberto Martinez Ramirez and his young daughter. Though the drawing was never published in print, de Adder was fired from a New Brunswick newspaper chain a few days later. His employer stated that the image was not a factor in their decision, but the event prompted other Canadian cartoonists to express concern over censorship in news outlets, particularly with respect to Donald Trump.
South of the border, the 168-year-old New York Times stopped printing daily political cartoons completely on July 1st, after outrage over an anti-Semitic illustration of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in its international edition. Times cartoonist Patrick Chappatte wrote on his blog that “this is not just about cartoons, but about journalism and opinion in general.” Media outlets are shrinking, leaving little appetite for risk. People seem to take offense more quickly. We’re polarized, with no patience for anyone else’s point of view. These are all reasons why a free press is needed more than ever, including visual commentary and humour, Chappatte says. “Who will show the emperor Erdogan that he has no clothes, when Turkish cartoonists can’t do it?”
“By choosing not to print editorial cartoons in the future, the Times can be sure that their editors will never again make a poor cartoon choice,” cartoonist and syndicator Daryl Cagle told the Washington Post. He runs the syndicate that Christian Courier uses. “Editors at the Times have also made poor choices of words in the past. I would suggest that the Times should also choose not to print words in the future – just to be on the safe side.”
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