Rob Rogers is out of a job as the cartoonist for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Recently he was fired by his employers over an intractable difference with he employer over his seeming obsession with criticising the presidency of United States President Donald Trump.
By Admire Kudita
“We tried hard to find a middle way, an accommodation to keep him at the paper,” said editor Keith Burris, adding that the cartoonist “hasn’t been funny in a long time.”
The newspaper’s publisher John Block weighed in: “He’s just become too angry for his health or for his own good.”
Rogers has since published an op-ed in the New York Times that his political views played a role in his dismissal. By his own admission, however, Rogers was increasingly unwilling to cover other topics. He wrote in his op-ed:
“I was trained in a tradition in which editorial cartoonists are the live wires of a publication — as one former colleague put it, the “constant irritant.” Our job is to provoke readers in a way words alone can’t. Cartoonists are not illustrators for a publisher’s politics.”
According to Burris, Rogers’ dismissal had to do with his lack of team spirit and unwillingness to “collaborate” on his cartoons.
The cartoon which proved the last straw for Rogers was the one in which President Trump is depicted tearing a baby away from its parents in the current furore over immigration policies separating children from parents at the borders and points of entry.
The policy has raised a serious ruckus in political circles. Political satire may be the casualty in an increasingly polarised American society. Comedians such as South African Trevor Noah who presents the Daily Show may find themselves out of employment if the trend continues.
His comedy routine of late has largely been based on acerbic attacks on the Trump administration.
In Zimbabwe, there is a tradition of political satire whilst Jonathan “Zapiro” Shapiro in South Africa has been mired in controversy over some of his cartoons poking fun at the then president Jacob Zuma. He drew the famous shower cartoon of Zuma in the aftermath of the rape allegations involving an HIV-positive woman.