Rob Rogers, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette editorial cartoonist, has announced that, after a weeks-long conflict with his editors regarding unpublished anti-Trump cartoons, he has been fired from the paper.
Sad to report this update: Today, after 25 years as the editorial cartoonist for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, I was fired.
— Rob Rogers (@Rob_Rogers) June 14, 2018
According to TribLive, the issue began when six of Rogers’ cartoons were held back in late May and early June, after which he went on extended leave from the Post-Gazette’s editorial page. When his case was looked over by the Columbia Journalism Review, they found that 19 of Rogers’ cartoons or pre-publication ideas had been either left unpublished or were refused publication. Among the cartoons were several that Rogers has published on his Twitter feed, one depicting President Trump giving North Korea’s Kim Jong Un accolades from on top of a pile of skulls.
Things with my paper are still unresolved but I decided to draw this one for syndication only. Enjoy. Summit cartoon: https://t.co/gGOKCq5thp #TrumpKimSummit #KimJongUn #Trump #TrumpKim #nukes #HumanRights #NorthKorea pic.twitter.com/9eA1gnnfzO
— Rob Rogers (@Rob_Rogers) June 13, 2018
Post-Gazette publisher John Robinson Block told the Washington Post just before the firing that the dispute with Rogers was “an internal, personnel matter we are working hard to resolve. It has little to do with politics, ideology or Donald Trump. It has mostly to do with working together and the editing process.”
The move was criticized by Michael Fuoco, president of the union representing the Post-Gazette’s journalists.
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“I barely recognize this place anymore,” Fucco wrote. “Rob was a talented, wonderful colleague whose only transgression was he did his job. What has happened to the marketplace of ideas we are supposed to provide?”
The Newspaper Guild of Pittsburgh released an official statement regarding Rogers’ firing:
“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.”
Rogers’ firing, following so closely after President Trump declaring that the news media is “Our Country’s biggest enemy” has been cited by others as worrisome in a time when freedom of speech and the press are more vital than ever.