An American editorial cartoonist has been fired for skewering Trump. He likely won’t be the last. ~ The Washington Post

June 15
“Oh, good lord.”

That was my reaction the day after the election of Donald Trump in November of 2016, when it dawned on me that I would be serving my year as president of the Association of American Editorial Cartoonists during the same time as the guy who wanted to “open up” libel laws and weaken the First Amendment so he could sue journalists more easily. Instead of the usual loss of jobs for editorial cartoonists that a president of the AAEC has to address during his or her tenure, now I’d be dealing with a much more fundamental threat to our profession: a president of the United States who has no idea or respect for the institution of a free press and its role in a democracy.

I did worry that editorial cartooning would be the next target of a president so enamored of visuals. That didn’t happen. In retrospect, I’m fairly certain it’s because Trump doesn’t read; he gets all his news from the television (Fox News) and uses Twitter as his megaphone. And I’m guessing his staff doesn’t cut out cartoons and tape them to the White House refrigerator so he will see them as he goes for his regular two scoops of ice cream. But with the firing of Pittsburgh Post-Gazette cartoonist Rob Rogers, we now see that suppressing a free press can be accomplished without an authoritarian president’s orders. Michael Cohen isn’t the only “fixer” Trump has at his disposal.

Rob Rogers has been the editorial cartoonist for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette for more than 25 years. Most working cartoonists have had an occasional idea spiked by his or her editor. But in the past few weeks, editorial director Keith Burris and publisher John Robinson Block have refused to publish six of Rogers’s cartoons, all criticizing Trump or his policies. Block and Burris have also rejected many of Rogers’s rough sketch ideas for several months.

This wasn’t the first time Block has used his position to defend President Trump’s actions; in January he demanded an editorial run in the Post-Gazette and the Toledo Blade (where he is also the publisher) supporting Trump’s use of the term “shithole countries.”

I realize now I didn’t recognize this other danger of an authoritarian president: his enablers and the willing supporters who squash dissent and help attack the free press and subvert the Constitution. The fact that Trump will use any opportunity to spread lies and whip up hatred toward journalists only enables his powerful supporters in the media to do his dirty work for him. In April, another disturbing example of journalistic manipulation was exposed when a video surfaced showing news anchors from 45 Sinclair-owned stations reciting word for word the same script criticizing the mainstream media and spouting the “fake news” accusations that Trump uses in his diatribes. While Trump used the opportunity to blast its critics and offer his support for the “superior” Sinclair Broadcasting, he hadn’t orchestrated this abuse of journalistic integrity. He didn’t have to; there were others willing to do it for him.

Through satire, humor and pointed caricatures, editorial cartoonists criticize leaders and governments that are behaving badly. The purpose of an editorial cartoonist is to hold politicians and powerful institutions accountable — and we all know how little President Trump thinks he, his family or his sycophants should be held accountable. Rogers was the first American editorial cartoonist to lose his job as a result, but he won’t be the last. Trump has many “fixers.”

This newspaper owner (on right) is behind the firing of an editorial cartoonist who dared criticize . Here are 10 of the cartoons he wouldn’t let see print. https://thenib.com/pittsburgh-post-gazette-anti-trump-cartoons-rob-rogers  @Rob_Rogers @thenib @laloalcaraz @TheRickWilson @davidaxelrod

Below are five recent cartoons the Post-Gazette refused to publish.

Immigrant Children cartoon:

Demo8glWsAEh5vj

~~~

Pardon cartoon:

Dew48KGW4AAWxUQ

~~~

Ambien cartoon:

DeiuVLSW0AA8-Po

~~~

Sensitivity Training cartoon:

DecNC1wU8AAiqVi

~~~

Memorial Day cartoon:

DeNCyKZVQAAhESQ

~~~~~~

I Was Fired for Making Fun of Trump

By Rob Rogers

Mr. Rogers joined The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette as an editorial cartoonist in 1993. He worked there until this week. In 1999, he was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize.

merlin_139643889_652f339f-622e-488b-833d-b2b08e62bfa1-superJumbo.jpg

~~~  READ  ~~~

The Sensational Idiocy of Donald Trump’s Propaganda Video for Kim Jong Un ~ The New Yorker

Screen Shot 2018-06-13 at 10.10.43 AM

~~~  WATCH  ~~~

In Singapore, on Tuesday, reporters covering the summit between President Trump and the North Korean leader, Kim Jong Un, were surprised with a screening of what appeared to be a movie trailer. You could argue that, because tax dollars likely paid for the creation of the clip, we the people ought to share a producing credit. But the nature of the film—its grandiosity, its gaudiness, its chaotic logic, its indiscriminate idiocy—is such that we must understand Trump as its author.

The clip, a four-minute overture from Trump to Kim, is styled as a movie preview. A golden production logo announces this as a presentation of “Destiny Pictures,” and frequent stock footage finds the sun shining like a dime beyond the curve of a turning world. Is Trump inviting Kim to take command of Universal Pictures? Or join him in playing God? Does either of them know the difference?

In any case, the narrator insists that the fate of the world hangs in the balance, in sentences that combine pompous syntax, palatial rhetoric, and dodgy grammar. Flattering Kim’s vanity while reflecting Trump’s own, he says, “Of those alive today, only a small number will leave a lasting impact,” while crowds scurry as if in “Koyaanisqatsi,”and postcard images of tourist sites flow past—the Great Wall, the Great Pyramid, and also Times Square, because, according to Trump’s understanding of history, the visual noise of spectacle is a postmodern wonder to revere. These sights yield to a vast North Korean flag—an invitation to a tyrant to think more bigly and take his place alongside the men who built the Colosseum and the Taj Mahal.

“History may appear to repeat itself for generations,” the narrator says. “There comes a time when only a few are called upon to make a difference.” Trump appears in oratorical postures, in still photos taken at the State of the Union address and the U.N. General Assembly, manning the lectern like the Cicero of his day. Kim waves and smiles, and waves and smiles, and walks a bit and waves some more.

“Destiny Pictures presents a story of opportunity,” the narrator continues, and the viewer wonders if he’s about to hear a pitch for a time-share. It’s “a story about a special moment in time when a man is presented with one chance that may never be repeated.” The man is Kim, waving, waving. The chance is to offer his nation industrial progress and material pleasure, represented by images of a seedling, an aircraft factory, a science lab, and a double-clutch slam dunk, of course. (According to Trump’s understanding of geopolitics, his appeal to Kim as a basketball fan is the sort of personal touch necessary to achieving denuclearization.) “What will he choose?” the narrator asks. “To show vision and leadership, or not?”

The key moment of the film happens underneath that last line, at the comma. This is precisely the midpoint of the film and the fulcrum of its narrative. The prospect of Kim failing to show leadership is symbolized by the use of a burning-celluloid effect, as in Bergman’s “Persona,” or “The Muppet Movie.” We watch the film melt. The image disintegrates. The implied destruction of North Korea is figured as a disruption of the story.

“There can only be two results. One of moving back”—missiles launch, a fighter jet rises from an aircraft carrier—“or one of moving forward.” At the moving forward, the narrative is back on track, with the beep and sweep of a film leader’s black-and-white countdown. The missiles return to their silos, accompanied by what sounds like the orchestral crescendo of the Beatles’ “A Day in the Life.” In a God’s-eye view of the Korean Peninsula at night, the lights come on across the North. In a further montage of capitalist delights, Kim is shown a future of manufacturing prowess, medical advances, out-of-season fruit overflowing shopping baskets, and even the friendship of Sylvester Stallone, seen with Trump in a photo recently taken in the Oval Office.

Could it be, this audience with Sly? The narrator is cautiously optimistic: “When could this moment in history begin? It comes down to a choice on this day, in this time, at this moment. The world will be watching, listening, anticipating. . . .” The eyes and ears of the world are represented by telephoto lenses and by TV control rooms and by a woman alone on a sofa watching TV, because this is the sum of what Trump knows of persuasion.

  • Troy Patterson is a staff writer at The New Yorker.

    Read more »

~~~~~~~

 

Trump Made Kim a Movie Trailer. We Made It Better. NYT

Jun. 13, 2018| 2:06

Donald Trump showed Kim Jong-un a movie trailer casting both leaders as heroes. The Times’s Opinion video team cut a more honest makeover.

~~~  WATCH  ~~~

Screen Shot 2018-06-13 at 11.35.32 AM

 

Colbert Perplexed at Trump’s New Appreciation for Kim Jong-un

 

Welcome to Best of Late Night, a rundown of the previous night’s highlights that lets you sleep — and lets us get paid to watch comedy. If you’re interested in hearing from The Times regularly about great TV, sign up for our Watching newsletter and get recommendations straight to your inbox.

Sizing Up the Meeting

Stephen Colbert was not particularly impressed by the results of President Trump’s negotiations with Kim Jong-un, the North Korean leader. At the end of the meeting, the two heads of state signed a noncommittal joint statement.

“The two countries also committed ‘to hold follow-on negotiations.’ So, the result of this meeting was to agree to another meeting. It’s not exactly a nothing-burger — it’s more like a bun that says, ‘We agree bilaterally to the potential future placement of meat somewhere in the toasted zone.’” — STEPHEN COLBERT

Colbert scoffed at how Trump heaped praise on Kim throughout their time in Singapore. Trump had told a reporter that he was impressed by how Kim had stepped into his father’s role as leader of North Korea at just 26.

“You don’t give dictators points for being young! That’s like saying, ‘You know, Vlad the Impaler became ruler at age 20. Nobody talks about that. Everyone gets all hung up on the impaling part, not how young he was. He was the Mozart of sticking wood through people!’” — STEPHEN COLBERT

Liberals, You’re Not as Smart as You Think ~ Interesting Op/Ed in the NYT today …

By Gerard Alexander

Mr. Alexander is a professor of political science at the University of Virginia.

Credit Illustration by Alvaro Dominguez; Photographs by ZargonDesign/E+, via Getty Images, and Renaud Philippe/EyeEm, via Getty Images

I know many liberals, and two of them really are my best friends. Liberals make good movies and television shows. Their idealism has been an inspiration for me and many others. Many liberals are very smart. But they are not as smart, or as persuasive, as they think.

And a backlash against liberals — a backlash that most liberals don’t seem to realize they’re causing — is going to get President Trump re-elected.

People often vote against things instead of voting for them: against ideas, candidates and parties. Democrats, like Republicans, appreciate this whenever they portray their opponents as negatively as possible. But members of political tribes seem to have trouble recognizing that they, too, can push people away and energize them to vote for the other side. Nowhere is this more on display today than in liberal control of the commanding heights of American culture.

Take the past few weeks. At the White House Correspondents’ Association dinner in Washington, the comedian Michelle Wolf landed some punch lines that were funny and some that weren’t. But people reacted less to her talent and more to the liberal politics that she personified. For every viewer who loved her Trump bashing, there seemed to be at least one other put off by the one-sidedness of her routine. Then, when Kanye West publicly rethought his ideological commitments, prominent liberals criticized him for speaking on the topic at all. Maxine Waters, a Democratic congresswoman from California, remarked that “sometimes Kanye West talks out of turn” and should “maybe not have so much to say.”

Liberals dominate the entertainment industry, many of the most influential news sources and America’s universities. This means that people with progressive leanings are everywhere in the public eye — and are also on the college campuses attended by many people’s children or grandkids. These platforms come with a lot of power to express values, confer credibility and celebrity and start national conversations that others really can’t ignore.

But this makes liberals feel more powerful than they are. Or, more accurately, this kind of power is double-edged. Liberals often don’t realize how provocative or inflammatory they can be. In exercising their power, they regularly not only persuade and attract but also annoy and repel.

~~~  CONTINUE  ~~~

Pence is a model of governing by groveling … George F. Will ~ May 10, 2018

georgewill

George F. Will, probably the most important conservative columnist since the time of William F. Buckley, wrote a brilliant column Thursday raking Pence over the coals for groveling before Trump. Will’s column included this:

“The oleaginous Mike Pence, with his talent for toadyism and appetite for obsequiousness, could, Trump knew, become America’s most repulsive public figure.”

 

Many prominent Republicans and conservatives privately believe what Will wrote in this column, but publicly lack the courage to say it, which illustrates the crisis of principled conservatism that Will is addressing.

 

Why ‘Fahrenheit 451’ Is the Book for Our Social Media Age ~ NYT

13Bahrani-jumbo.jpg

Michael Shannon (left) and Michael B. Jordan in “Fahrenheit 451.” Credit: Michael Gibson/HBO

Bradbury feared memory loss. Today we have designated Google and our social-media accounts as the guardians of our memories, emotions, dreams and facts. As tech companies consolidate power, imagine how easy it could be to rewrite Benjamin Franklin’s Wiki entry to match what the firemen in Bradbury’s novel learn about the history of the fire department: “Established, 1790, to burn English-influenced books in the Colonies. First Fireman: Benjamin Franklin.” In his way, Bradbury predicted the rise of “alternative facts” and an era of “post-truth.”

As the virtual world becomes more dominant, owning books becomes an act of rebellion. When a printed book is in your possession, no one can track, alter or hack it. The characters in my film have never seen a book. When they first encounter a library, the books are like water in a vast digital desert. Seeing, touching and smelling a book is as alien to the firemen as milking a cow by hand would be for most of us. The firemen are transfixed by the books — but they still have to burn them.

Burning books in the film posed a legal challenge. The cover art of most books is protected by copyright, and in most cases we were unable to obtain permission to display it — let alone burn it on camera. So the art directors for my film designed countless original book covers that we could burn.

The question was: Which books? There were always more I wanted to burn than we had time to film. I knew I wanted to include some of my favorites, like “Crime and Punishment,” “Song of Solomon” and the works of Franz Kafka. But we had to burn more than just fiction. Herodotus’ “Histories” — history itself — was incinerated. Pages of Emily Dickinson, Tagore and Ferdowsi’s poetry crumbled into black ash. Hegel, Plato and Grace Lee Boggs’s philosophy were set on fire. The firemen discriminate against no one: Texts in Chinese, Hindi, Persian and Spanish all burned. A Mozart score, an Edvard Munch painting, magazines, newspapers, photographs of Sitting Bull, Frederick Douglass and the 1969 moon landing went up in smoke.

~~~  READ THE ESSAY  ~~~