Pittsburgh Post-Gazette fires editorial cartoonist

An award-winning editorial cartoonist who has worked at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette for 25 years announced on Thursda...

Posted: Jun 15, 2018 1:38 PM
Updated: Jun 15, 2018 1:38 PM

An award-winning editorial cartoonist who has worked at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette for 25 years announced on Thursday that he was fired from the paper.

Rob Rogers' firing comes after the paper stopped publishing his cartoons -- many of which were critical of President Trump -- last month.

"Today, after 25 years as the editorial cartoonist for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, I was fired," Rogers tweeted on Thursday.

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette last published one of Rogers' cartoons on June 5 and before that, the last editorial cartoon to appear in the paper was on May 24. Rogers continued to draw during the absence, posting his work on his personal blog and social media feeds.

Rogers told CNN's Jake Tapper last week he didn't know why the paper was killing his cartoons, but he said he got the feeling that management wanted him to be "less negative to Trump."

"I'm feeling, at least, that they want me to be a cartoonist that I'm not," Rogers told Tapper.

He reiterated this on Thursday night when he appeared on CNN's Erin Burnett Outfront not long after he announced that he was fired. He told Burnett that management didn't give him a reason for why his cartoons were getting killed.

"But the common theme in all the ones that have been rejected, I'd say 90% of them have something to do with Trump," Rogers told Burnett. "So there's a clear pattern they were trying to tamp down the voice I was having, being critical of Trump."

Rogers' has taken shots at Democrats as well and he said the paper did not issue with his cartoons about former President Obama or Hillary Clinton.

"I think that I've been pretty even handed in terms of presidents," he said on Thursday. "It's clear I've drawn more cartoons about Trump than Obama because I was more aligned with Obama's politics. I've certainly hit both sides."

Related: Pittsburgh paper spikes work of longtime editorial cartoonist

In a statement provided to CNN, Rogers said he was "troubled" by the move. He said he felt that he was a "valued and respected member of a quality newspaper staff," but that the "situation changed dramatically and abruptly in recent months."

"The Post-Gazette's leadership has veered away from core journalistic values that embrace diverse opinions and public discourse on important issues," Rogers said in a statement on Thursday. "I am especially troubled that management's decision to fire me discounts the thousands of readers who turn to the Post-Gazette for editorials, columns, and cartoons that, while not always reflecting their own positions, challenge preconceived notions and invite thought, conversation, and keep the civic conversation going. I fear that today's unjustified firing of a dissenting voice on the editorial pages will only serve to diminish an opinion section that was once one of America's best."

A spokesman for the Post-Gazette told CNN in a statement that the paper "does not provide details about employment matters."

The Post-Gazette on Thursday published its own story on Rogers' termination, reporting that editorial director Keith Burris offered Rogers "a deal in which he would be an independent contractor and produce two cartoons per week for the paper's op-ed page along with his weekly strip, 'Brewed on Grant.'"

"We tried hard to find a middle way, an accommodation to keep him the paper," Burris told his paper. He reportedly denied suppressing Rogers' cartoons and said Rogers was not willing to "collaborate," according to the Post-Gazette.

Pittsburgh Mayor William Peduto criticized the paper for firing Rogers, calling the move "disappointing" in a statement in which he also called out President Trump without using his name.

"This is precisely the time when the constitutionally-protected free press -- including critics like Rob Rogers -- should be celebrated and supported, and not fired for doing their jobs," Peduto said. "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."

Over the last few weeks, Rogers used Twitter to keep his supporters updated about his employment status at the paper. At one point, he thanked his followers, saying that their "outpouring of support and well-wishes have buoyed my spirits immensely"

"Now, more than ever, I believe in the power of satire and the public dialogue that it can create," he tweeted last week.

The paper's decision to spike Rogers' cartoons sparked backlash across social media and by advocates of the press, with many saying he was being silenced for criticizing the president. In response to the criticism, the Post-Gazette released a statement last week saying that it was a "personnel matter" that "has little to do with politics, ideology or Donald Trump."

-- CNN's Tom Kludt contributed to this report

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 268672

Reported Deaths: 5917
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto17928195
Hinds17030337
Harrison14510212
Rankin11315223
Jackson11054193
Lee9109147
Madison8663171
Jones6853120
Forrest6260125
Lauderdale6161196
Lowndes5582123
Lafayette5269101
Lamar508765
Washington4965125
Bolivar4164110
Oktibbeha411585
Panola389881
Pontotoc380460
Monroe3727111
Warren3716103
Marshall360172
Union360165
Pearl River3527106
Neshoba3516158
Leflore3132110
Lincoln308389
Hancock300963
Sunflower294277
Tate281862
Alcorn274055
Pike272984
Itawamba271263
Scott264055
Yazoo258456
Prentiss255454
Coahoma252455
Copiah251549
Tippah251551
Simpson244872
Leake238967
Marion228274
Covington224873
Grenada224673
Wayne216336
Adams216271
Winston208271
George206440
Newton201447
Attala197465
Tishomingo196361
Chickasaw190245
Jasper183138
Holmes172568
Clay168637
Tallahatchie158035
Stone153625
Clarke148762
Calhoun142022
Smith131926
Yalobusha124935
Walthall115438
Greene114929
Noxubee114526
Montgomery112936
Lawrence107917
Carroll106922
Perry105931
Amite102727
Webster98024
Claiborne90125
Tunica89621
Jefferson Davis89330
Benton86923
Humphreys85625
Kemper81220
Quitman7169
Franklin71017
Choctaw64013
Wilkinson60125
Jefferson57321
Sharkey45717
Issaquena1616
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 445909

Reported Deaths: 6896
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson651891049
Mobile32138590
Madison28596223
Tuscaloosa21703276
Montgomery20220336
Shelby19584138
Baldwin17496216
Lee13378109
Morgan12741145
Etowah12196189
Calhoun11626228
Marshall10513126
Houston9097168
Limestone842481
Cullman8363125
Elmore8283112
Lauderdale7986112
DeKalb7935112
St. Clair7915139
Talladega6552112
Walker6068184
Jackson605649
Colbert560194
Blount551794
Autauga544065
Coffee470569
Dale415186
Franklin378150
Russell362816
Chilton348079
Covington344681
Escambia342244
Tallapoosa3184109
Dallas314197
Chambers308575
Clarke307339
Pike267735
Lawrence256958
Marion255763
Winston235243
Bibb224751
Geneva214747
Marengo212031
Pickens201831
Barbour188240
Hale187444
Fayette181230
Butler175960
Cherokee167433
Henry161325
Monroe153521
Randolph148236
Washington144027
Clay131050
Crenshaw126245
Macon124337
Cleburne123627
Lamar121324
Lowndes117636
Wilcox109422
Bullock105829
Perry100518
Conecuh98222
Sumter90828
Greene78323
Coosa64619
Choctaw52224
Out of AL00
Unassigned00
Tupelo
Cloudy
42° wxIcon
Hi: 51° Lo: 40°
Feels Like: 35°
Columbus
Cloudy
46° wxIcon
Hi: 56° Lo: 46°
Feels Like: 40°
Oxford
Cloudy
36° wxIcon
Hi: 50° Lo: 37°
Feels Like: 27°
Starkville
Cloudy
45° wxIcon
Hi: 55° Lo: 45°
Feels Like: 40°
WTVA Radar
WTVA Temperatures
WTVA Severe Weather