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A great masthead bans political cartoons ... now that's offensive

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19.06.2019

The New York Times has announced it will stop publishing political cartoons from next month, in response to the controversy sparked in April by a caricature of Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as a guide dog leading a blind US President Donald Trump.

The NYT apologised, saying the illustration was "clearly anti-Semitic". But the influential newspaper’s ban on cartooning is a terrible move, particularly from a masthead that has prided itself on award-winning political commentary.

A The Times of Israel report on The New York Times' apology for the cartoon.Credit:

Cartoons belong to a tradition of satirical coverage that has long highlighted the follies of the powerful and the great. Benjamin Franklin’s "Join or Die" was an early 18th century example, as were James Gillray’s lampoons of King George III.

Those who were the subject of mockery were always expected to take it in good humour. Those who complained about being targeted were considered weak.

Of course, cartoons themselves should be equally open to criticism and they can certainly be confronting.

The cartoon that seeded the NYT ban would have undoubtedly........

© The Age