The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette 's publisher moves the paper even closer to Trump
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette publisher hangs on Donald Trump’s jet in a ‘more than memorable’ experience. https://t.co/nrzwkDeSRK pic.twitter.com/5jzm21xkLu— Pittsburgh City Paper (@PGHCityPaper) September 22, 2016
Until today, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette had not published a political cartoon by its local cartoonist since May 24
As CNN reports:
Readers of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette have been denied one of its regular features, with the work of veteran editorial cartoonist Rob Rogers relegated from the newspaper's pages to his own social media feeds.
Rogers' cartoons haven't been published in the Post-Gazette since May 24, when he sketched a critique on the inaction of the Republican-controlled Congress. Since then, the paper has run the work of syndicated artists. Rogers, meanwhile, has continued to draw, posting his last several cartoons on Facebook, Twitter and his personal website.
Why? According to KDKA News:
Well, insiders and outsiders alike say it’s politics, as the publisher tries to move the paper further to the right.
That publisher, John Robinson Block, recently assigned cartoon approval to Keith Burris, who sources say reflect Mr. Block’s conservative views at the once liberal paper.
“The current publisher I think has become more enamored with Donald Trump and Rob’s politics clearly aren’t there,” Tom Waseleski, former Post-Gazette editorial page editor, told KDKA political editor Jon Delano on Monday. “And I think that’s where a lot of the cartoons have come in for extra scrutiny and have been spiked.”
Here are two of the cartoons that did not run:
Pardon cartoon: https://t.co/qOiefv0qBl #Trump #Pardon #Blagojevich #MichaelCohen #PaulManafort #MarthaStewart #Arpaio #ScooterLibby #JackJohnson #DineshDSouza pic.twitter.com/GGdR9nVBXH— Rob Rogers (@Rob_Rogers) June 3, 2018
Memorial Day cartoon: https://t.co/LuDIg0R7bx #MemorialDay2018 #Trump #Russia #Mueller #Truth #RuleOfLaw #WhiteHouse #SpyGate pic.twitter.com/BZ83JJShue— Rob Rogers (@Rob_Rogers) May 27, 2018
(Note – the Post-Gazette did publish a Rob Rogers’ cartoon on trade wars today.)
Here's the to-the-point statement by the American Association of Editorial Cartoonists on this matter:
It doesn’t take much to connect the dots between the absence of Rob’s left-leaning cartoons and the recent arrival of a Trump-supporting editorial page editor. We would take this opportunity to remind all editorial page editors that their responsibility is to the readers (among whom in Pittsburgh, Rogers cartoons are wildly popular) and to the open and ongoing search for truth in contending opinions. The editorial pages are a public forum, not a members-only private resort in Florida.
Not according to the Post-Gazette's publisher.
Not unlike local Ogden papers, the Post-Gazette's publisher and editor defend Trump and edit AP stories in his favor
Earlier this year, the publisher had "shithole countries" removed from an AP story:
Our publisher is requesting us to remove @realDonaldTrump's "vulgar language" from the lede in our @AP story about his vulgar language.— Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (@PittsburghPG) January 12, 2018
An editorial by the publisher followed; "Reason as Racism" ran in the Post-Gazette and the Toledo Blade, the other paper owned by Block Communications. (In Pittsburgh, it ran on Martin Luther King Day.) Here is how the Columbia Journalism Review described it:
The editorial cautioned that charges of racism are “the new McCarthyism,” and argued for the “need to confine the word ‘racist’ to people like Bull Connor and Dylann Roof.” According to the editorial’s rationale, “racist” cannot function as a useful, evidence-backed descriptor, but only as “a term of malice and libel.”
The Newspaper Guild of Pittsburgh attributed ultimate responsibility for the editorial to publisher John Robinson Block, who previously asked that Post-Gazette staff scrub President Donald Trump’s “shithole countries” comment from an AP story slated for the front page.
Then in March, the publisher formally merged the editorial pages of the two papers owned by Block Communications. (Where have we seen that before?)
By way of comparison, it should be noted that Ogden Newspapers have not been especially kind to political cartoonists who question it editorial stance. (See here.)