Award-winning editorial newspaper cartoonist Rob Rogers has been fired from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette due to “political differences” with his editors. Rogers’ firing comes several weeks after the paper stopped publishing his cartoons — many of which were critical of Donald Trump and his administration.
“Today, after 25 years as the editorial cartoonist for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, I was fired,” tweeted the cartoonist on Thursday.
Rogers told CBS Pittsburgh political editor Jon Delano last week that 19 of his ideas and cartoons have been rejected since March. Earlier that week, he told CNN’s Jake Tapper that he didn’t receive a concrete reason for why the paper was killing his cartoons, but that he suspected management wanted him to be “less negative to Trump.”
“The common theme in all the ones that have been rejected, I’d say 90% of them have something to do with Trump,” Rogers would later tell CNN’s Erin Burnett. “So there’s a clear pattern they were trying to tamp down the voice I was having, being critical of Trump.”
Rogers has taken shots at Obama and Clinton in the past, with no blowback from the Gazette‘s publishers — though he admits he’s “drawn more cartoons about Trump than Obama because I was more aligned with Obama’s politics.”
The Association of American Editorial Cartoonists recently released a statement blaming Rogers’ firing on “the recent arrival of a Trump-supporting editorial page editor,” one Keith Burris, who became editorial director around the time Rogers’ cartoons stopped making the paper.
In a similar vein, publisher John Block told The Washington Post last week that Rogers’ situation “had little to do with politics” or Trump, though CNN’s Jake Tapper suggests the fix was in.
“Photo from 2016 of the publisher of the @PittsburghPG, which fired award-winning editorial cartoonist @Rob_Rogers today after too many cartoons satirizing the most powerful man on the planet,” tweeted Tapper, alongside a picture of Block standing next to Trump aboard a private jet.
The mayor of Pittsburgh came to Rogers’ defense, issuing a lengthy statement on the importance of free speech.
“This is precisely the time when the constitutionally-protected free press — including critics like Rob Rogers — should be celebrated and supported,” the mayor of Pittsburgh said in a statement. “This decision, just one day after the President of the United States said the news media is ‘Our Country’s biggest enemy.’ sets a low standard in the 232-year history of the newspaper.”
Rogers’ colleagues rallied on social media, as did citizens outraged at what can only be deemed press censorship.
Supporters on Twitter began to share some of Rogers’ cartoons the Gazette refused to publish.
On May 20, Rogers made a statement about the lack of action on the part of politicians in response to the nation’s school shooting epidemic.
Rogers’ May 25 cartoon showed a referee calling penalties for players exercising free speech, disrespecting U.S. troops, and prompting Trump’s insane tweetfests in response to the NFL announcing it will fine players who don’t stand during the national anthem.
Five days later, he took another stab at the NFL, joking it needed to close for for “racial ignorance training” just as Starbucks did in the wake of racist employees calling police on black men for no reason last month.
On Memorial Day, Rogers drew Trump placing a wreath at the grave of Truth, Honor, and Rule of Law.
The next day, he ridiculed Roseanne Barr’s ludicrous statement that Ambien was the cause of her racist tweets:
The June 1 cartoon depicted Trump tearing a migrant child away from her parents:
Two days later, Rogers made fun of Trump’s statement that he could pardon himself in the Russia investigation if he wanted:
Rogers’ most recent cartoon satirized the Singapore Summit meeting between Trump and North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un.
Again, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette refused to publish all these cartoons. You can check out all the rest on Rob Rogers’ Twitter feed.
The Newspaper Guild of Pittsburgh said it best with the following statement:
“There was never a problem before but with the new order of the Post-Gazette editorial pages, it seems that those who do not follow the pro-Trump, pro-conservative orthodoxy of the publisher and editorial director are of no use.”
On Monday, dozens of protesters gathered outside the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette in support of Rob Rogers. If you aren’t as outraged as they are, you aren’t paying attention.