Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Censored by the New York Times: The Story Behind a Political Cartoon that the Publisher didn’t want you to see

by KITCHEN TABLE CARTOONS on February 21, 2009


Here is the backstory to the political cartoon above:

In the summer of 2003, the world watched as land, water, and dignity were stolen from the Palestinian people — all with the silent complicity of the US media. To express my growing outrage, I drew this cartoon at my kitchen table in Maine.

After realizing that no newspaper would accept it, I decided to publish the cartoon as an advertisement in the NY Times. I focused on the quarter-page space in the Op-Ed section reserved for opinion ads. Contacting the Times, I learned that pro-Israel organizations had reserved the space for 30 of the next 52 Sundays. I took the first available date.

My cartoon was scheduled to appear on September 21, 2003.

The Times required several changes to the cartoon so that it conformed to the acceptability standards of the newspaper. These changes were made. The Times production staff then asked for and was sent the camera-ready copy.

I paid the cost of the ad in full.

On Friday, September 19 I received notification that the cartoon’s publication was cancelled by order of the Times’ publisher. I recall simply shaking my head at the news - wryly noting that this action by the Times was validating the very point of the cartoon.

I next submitted the cartoon to USAToday, where it was accepted. The morning that the cartoon appeared, I received a call at 8:45am from a USAToday vice president.

He said that in all his years at the paper, he had never had a response like what was happening as a result of the cartoon’s publication. Apparently, American pro-Israel groups are geared up for such "emergencies" and inundated USAToday offices nationwide with telephone calls and emails. But of course it was too late.

Two postscripts:

1. I received more hate mail/ threats than I did accolades.

2. A year later, senior management at USAToday was replaced.


Anonymous said...



kenny's sideshow said...

This is the best cartoon I have seen in a long time.
It should be re-posted all over the world.

Greg Bacon said...

Better first ask permission of the Lobby.

Oh, that's right, there is no Lobby. Just be like Dorothy from the "Wizard of Oz," click your heels together and keep repeating, "There is no Lobby, there is no Lobby, there is no lobby..."

Anonymous said...

great cartoon--and I like that it
is drawn in the tradition of folk art. Not polished sophistication but from the people to the people

David Morris said...

Greg, you might be interested in my new cartoon and article, "Intimidation at the New York Times: How the Israel Lobby Silenced 2 Leading Columnists": http://usmediaandisrael.com/?p=134

Fair Use Notice

This web site may contain copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance the understanding of humanity's problems and hopefully to help find solutions for those problems. We believe this constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. A click on a hyperlink is a request for information. Consistent with this notice you are welcome to make 'fair use' of anything you find on this web site. However, if you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond 'fair use', you must obtain permission from the copyright owner. You can read more about 'fair use' and US Copyright Law at the Legal Information Institute of Cornell Law School. This notice was modified from a similar notice at Information Clearing House.

Blog Archive