What we lose when we lose political cartoons

The New York Times' decision to cut cartoons is a sad moment for journalism

A cartoon being erased.
(Image credit: Illustrated | H.S. Photos / Alamy Stock Photo, serezniy/iStock)

In a cheeky 2012 cartoon by Daryl Cagle, a dog lifts its hind leg for the wind-up. "The Times has no credibility — and no cartoonist," a black speech bubble leaks from its mouth, "but it's still good for something."

Up until this week, though, the overseas edition of The New York Times had soldiered on, employing the publication's only two remaining political cartoonists. Patrick Chappatte and Heng Kim Song's tenure came to an abrupt end late Monday, however, when the editorial page editor James Bennet announced that the Times was "bringing [the global] edition into line with the domestic paper by ending daily political cartoons." Seven years after Cagle's illustration, his dog's lambasting of the Times seems brutally on point. With the annihilation of its editorial cartoon section, the paper gives up one of journalism's — and democracy's — greatest weapons.

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