News / USA

    Political Cartoonists Worried About Future

    The pen may be mightier than the sword, and editorial cartoonists have skewered many a politician with one.  But with the newspaper industry shrinking, it is getting harder to make a living doing it.

    Some of the best cartoonists from around the United States gathered in the nation's capital recently for the annual meeting of the Association of American Editorial Cartoonists.

    In the 1990s, there were several-hundred staff cartoonists working at American newspapers.  "Now it's down to somewhere closer to 60," said Jimmy Margulies, who draws for The Record of northern New Jersey.

    He says what's being lost is a form of commentary that is more blunt and to the point than editorials.  "This is more like pinning someone down, and in its simplicity bringing out some essential truths that are not directly stated in other forms of opinion writing," Margulies said.

    But Chip Bok, who used to work for the Akron Beacon Journal and now has his own website Bokbluster was optimistic.

    "Times are tough for the old idea of cartoonists, but all kinds of other things have opened up," he said.  "And editorial cartoons, all cartoons, are more popular than ever.  You see them all over the Internet.  The problem now is figuring out how to get paid."


    Despite their worries, cartoonists are having a field day making fun of the candidates in the U.S. presidential election.  "I love drawing Obama," said Bok.  "He's got the ears," the cartoonist added, drawing a pair each nearly as large as the presidents head, "and an incredibly skinny neck and body."

    Bok noted that Romney is often drawn as a robot, a commentary on the candidate's difficulties in connecting with ordinary Americans as well as a parody of his square-ish facial features.  "He's got kind of a heavy brow and bushy eyebrows and the big chin," Bok said, wistfully recalling the fun he had with the chin of former President Bill Clinton.

    Matt Wuerker of Politico.com says often the best presidential ticket to caricature is the one he did not vote for.  "Eight years of George Bush and [Dick] Cheney, it was hog heaven!  It was tough on the world, but for cartoonists, it was great."

    Wuerker invited a VOA reporter and cameraman to Politico to watch him drawing a cartoon, an exaggeratedly square-jawed version of Romney as the notoriously out-of-touch French queen, Marie Antoinette "That 47 percent?  Let them eat cake," the Romney character says in the cartoon.  It was a reference to the real Romney's secretly videotaped remarks, telling wealthy donors that he wouldn't try to win the votes of that percentage of Americans, who he said depend on government aid.

    Wuerker uses india ink and vivid water colors and follows the style of 19th century cartoonists Thomas Nast and Joseph Keppler.  "It's a little contrarian on my part," he said. "There are a lot of cartoonists who are enamored with digital tools.  You can draw on Cintiq tablets, even iPads, and color things in with Photoshop. But there's a smoothness, and a uniformity about that kind of stuff that make all those cartoons look the same."

    Wuerker believes cartoonists will survive the crisis, and he jokingly borrows what he describes as a Romney metaphor.  "Cartoonists are basically opportunistic parasites," Wuerker said.  "We've survived on the backs of newspapers for a couple centuries, and it worked really, really well.  But the old dog is dying, and so we have to jump onto something new."

    You May Like

    Top US General: Turkish Media Report ‘Absurd'

    General Dunford rejects ‘irresponsible' claims of coup involvement by former four-star Army General Campbell, who led NATO forces in Afghanistan before retiring earlier this year

    Video Saving Ethiopian Children Thought to Be Cursed

    'Omo Child' looks at efforts of one African man to stop killings of ‘mingi’ children

    Protests Over Western Troops Threaten Libyan 'Unity' Government

    Fears mount that Islamist foes of ‘unity' government plan to declare a revolutionaries' council in Tripoli

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunitiesi
    X
    VOA News
    July 25, 2016 5:09 PM
    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
    Video

    Video London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunities

    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
    Video

    Video Recycling Lifeline for Lebanon’s Last Glassblowers

    In a small Lebanese coastal town, one family is preserving a craft that stretches back millennia. The art of glass blowing was developed by Phoenicians in the region, and the Khalifehs say they are the only ones keeping the skill alive in Lebanon. But despite teaming up with an eco-entrepreneur and receiving an unexpected boost from the country’s recent trash crisis the future remains uncertain. John Owens reports from Sarafand.
    Video

    Video Migrants Continue to Risk Lives Crossing US Border from Mexico

    In his speech Thursday before the Republican National Convention, the party’s presidential candidate, Donald Trump, reiterated his proposal to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border if elected. Polls show a large percentage of Americans support better control of the nation's southwestern border, but as VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from the border town of Nogales in the Mexican state of Sonora, the situation faced by people trying to cross the border is already daunting.
    Video

    Video In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movement

    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video Calm the Waters: US Doubles Down Diplomatic Efforts in ASEAN Meetings

    The United States is redoubling diplomatic efforts and looking to upcoming regional meetings to calm the waters after an international tribunal invalidated the legal basis of Beijing's extensive claims in the South China Sea. VOA State Department correspondent Nike Ching has the story.
    Video

    Video Four Brother Goats Arrive in Brooklyn on a Mission

    While it's unusual to see farm animals in cities, it's become familiar for residents of Brooklyn, New York, to see a little herd of goats. Unlike gas-powered mowing equipment, goats remove invasive weeds quietly and without adding more pollution to the air. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, this is a pilot program and if it proves to be successful, the goat gardener program will be extended to other areas of New York. Faith Lapidus narrates.
    Video

    Video Scientists in Poland Race to Save Honeybees

    Honeybees are in danger worldwide. Causes of what's known as colony collapse disorder range from pesticides and loss of habitat to infections. But scientists in Poland say they are on track to finding a cure for one of the diseases. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Wall Already Runs Along Parts of US-Mexico Border

    The Republican Party’s presidential nominee, Donald Trump, gained the support of many voters by saying he would build a wall to keep undocumented immigrants and drugs from coming across the border from Mexico. Critics have called his idea impractical and offensive to Mexico, while supporters say such a bold approach is needed to control the border. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from the border town of Nogales, Arizona.
    Video

    Video New HIV Tests Emphasize Rapid Results

    As the global fight against AIDS intensifies, activists have placed increasing importance on getting people to know their HIV status. Some companies are developing new HIV testing methods designed to be quick, easy and accurate. Thuso Khumalo looks at the latest methods, presented at the International AIDS conference in Durban, South Africa.
    Video

    Video African Youth with HIV Urge More Support

    HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, is the top killer of teens in sub-Saharan Africa. But many youths say their experience with the virus is unique and needs to be addressed differently than the adult epidemic. VOA South African Correspondent Anita Powell reports.
    Video

    Video Pop-Up Art Comes to Your Living Room, Backyard and Elsewhere

    Around the world, independent artists and musicians wrestle with a common problem: where to exhibit or perform? Traditional spaces such as museums and galleries are reserved for bigger names, and renting a space is not feasible for many. Enter ArtsUp, which connects artists with venue owners. Whether it’s a living room, restaurant, office or even a boat, pop-up events are bringing music and art to unexpected places. Tina Trinh has more.
    Video

    Video Scotland’s Booming Whisky Industry Fears Brexit Hangover

    After Britain’s vote to leave the European Union, Scotland’s government wants to break away from the United Kingdom – fearing the nation’s exports are at risk. Among the biggest of these is whisky. Henry Ridgwell reports on a time of turmoil for those involved in the ancient art of distilling Scotland’s most famous product.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora