Rob Rogers was fired by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette after the newspaper rejected a number of his cartoons that were critical of Donald Trump's presidential policies. Snopes reported Rogers' firing wasn't based on one single cartoon and that several of his cartoons were spiked this year after a new editorial director joined the paper.
Post-Gazette Editorial Director Keith Burris told Snopes that Rogers was fired because he was unwilling to “collaborate” on his cartoons.
Shop Talk Panelist Will Buss believes cartoonists should be allowed to lampoon both sides of the political spectrum when they deserve it and Rogers should have the freedom to draw what he wants. Buss said Post-Gazette owner Block Communications is quite conservative and he has no doubt Rogers was forced out because of the editorial content of his cartoons.
Buss pointed out Rogers has been with the paper for 25 years and was a Pulitzer Prize finalist in 1999. He said it doesn’t make sense to suddenly fire someone who has those credentials.
Panelist Jasmine Crighton feels many people in the news industry have lost their jobs for terrible reasons and this is one more example of that. She commended Rogers for sticking to his beliefs and not caving in to management’s attempts to water down his work.
Panelist Rich Egger said the best editorial cartoonists – such as Rogers – are highly skilled and can make a strong statement through the images they create, using few (if any) words. Like Buss and Crighton, he thinks the newspaper made a poor and thin-skinned decision when it fired Rogers.
Jasmine Crighton is News Director of NEWS3 at Western Illinois University and Will Buss is the Director of Student Publications at WIU.