A political cartoonist whose editorial cartoons were scathingly anti-Trump has been fired from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
As Yahoo News reports, Rob Rogers, it wasn’t any one cartoon that led to the Pulitzer Prize-winning cartoonist’s firing. Rather, his publishers had grown tired of his focusing almost exclusively on Trump in his cartoons, rather than other topics.
Beginning on June 6, Rogers basically live-tweeted his firing, saying that he was taking some “vacation days” until he and his management could resolve their “issues.” A little over a week later, he tweeted that he’d been let go from the Post-Gazette.
“Sad to report this update: Today, after 25 years as the editorial cartoonist for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, I was fired.”
Delving further into specifics, Rogers claimed that his firing came from two, related reasons. First, he said, his management wanted him to focus on more topics rather than just exclusively Trump. By his own admission, Rogers neglected just about every other topic in favor of anti-Trump cartoons, and his management wanted to cover other topics as well.
Second, he says, his bosses took exception to the tone of his cartoons. In short, he says, they perceived him as simply being too angry when it came to the 45th president.
At first, the Post-Gazette was basically silent on Rogers’ firing, issuing a statement mentioning his firing obliquely and saying that the paper didn’t comment publicly on internal personnel matters.
“In light of Mr. Rogers’ public comments today, we do want to acknowledge his long service to the newspaper and our community. Any further discussions will be conducted with Mr. Rogers as a private matter.”
However, John Block, the publisher and editor-in-chief of the Post-Gazette, was tracked down by Politico, and he spoke much more candidly about the reason for Rogers’ firing.
“He’s just become too angry for his health or for his own good. He’s obsessed with Trump.”
Going further, Block says that he wanted “clever and funny” cartoons, whereas Rogers just gave him “angry and mean” ones. He also said that editorial cartoonists should “augment” the general political tone of the paper they work for, rather than “stray too far from them.”
Rogers, speaking for himself to Politico, defended his cartoons.
“I see it as my job to critique injustices. I don’t see that as anger, nor do many readers or fellow journalists.”
Coming to Rogers’ defense is none other than Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto, who referenced Trump’s own antagonistic relationship with the press.
“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.”