The New York Times has decided to end its use of any and all political cartoons, more than a month after it was embroiled in controversy over an antisemitic drawing in its international daily edition.
The newspaper announced the decision on Monday, about six weeks after a cartoon was published in the International New York Times of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and US President Donald Trump that was widely labeled as antisemitic.
The decision this week only affects the international edition, as the newspaper’s national print edition has never printed editorial cartoons.
In a statement on Monday, editorial page editor James Bennet wrote that the newspaper had been considering halting cartoons in its international edition for more than a year, long before the Netanyahu caricature controversy.
“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 wrote on Monday.
The statement did not make any mention of the Netanyahu/Trump cartoon.
Immediately after the cartoon of Trump, depicted as blind and wearing a kippa while being led by Netanyahu, depicted as a dog, the Times ended its contract with the syndicate service that provided the cartoon by Portuguese artist Antonio Moreira Antunes. The decision this week means that the newspaper ended its contract with two political cartoonists.
News of the move first broke when Patrick Chappatte, one of the cartoonists whose contract was canceled, bemoaned the decision on his blog.
“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.”
The decision was widely criticized on social media.
“This is a horrible decision by the NYT,” wrote CNN anchor Jake Tapper.
“NY Times prints one awful cartoon & now decides to stop running cartoons,” wrote Jeet Heer, an author and writer for The New Republic. “By this logic, the paper should have shut down after its 2002-2003 WMD [Weapons of Mass Destruction] reporting.”
Jen Sorensen, a political cartoonist for the Daily Kos, tweeted: “By this standard of blaming an entire medium for an editing failure, the NYT should have no columnists left.”