PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — There’s lots of news in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, but one thing you won’t find are the editorial cartoons of Rob Rogers.
“Rob is nationally known as an editorial cartoonist, a Pulitzer Prize finalist, somebody who is known way beyond Pittsburgh,” says Andrew Conte, director of Point Park University’s Center for Media Innovation.
But for six days in a row, Rogers’ often edgy, liberal and anti-Trump cartoons have been absent from the paper.
“The publication that is paying for the content is not actually running the content,” Conte said. “That’s definitely a highly unusual situation.”
Rogers, on salary at the Post-Gazette, refused comment, but he continues to provide the newspaper five cartoons each week.
So why isn’t the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette printing the award-winning cartoons from its award-winning editorial cartoonist?
Well, insiders and outsiders alike say it’s politics, as the publisher tries to move the paper further to the right.
That publisher, John Robinson Block, recently assigned cartoon approval to Keith Burris, who sources say reflect Mr. Block’s conservative views at the once liberal paper.
“The current publisher I think has become more enamored with Donald Trump and Rob’s politics clearly aren’t there,” Tom Waseleski, former Post-Gazette editorial page editor, told KDKA political editor Jon Delano on Monday. “And I think that’s where a lot of the cartoons have come in for extra scrutiny and have been spiked.”
Waseleski worked closely with Rogers for a decade.
“It would be unfortunate to see fewer cartoons from Rob at the Post-Gazette. He has a solid, loyal readership,” Waseleski said.
In support of Rogers, on Monday the Association of American Editorial Cartoonists reminded all editorial page editors that editorial pages were supposed to be forums for all views.
“It’s not supposed to be a gated community where only one opinion is out there,” Pat Bagley, president of the Association, told KDKA. “There should be plenty of room for plenty of opinions.”
In a brief statement late Monday, the PG’s new editorial page editor Keith Burris told KDKA’s Jon Delano, “It’s really a personnel matter which we are working hard to fix.”
But Burris added, “We have great respect for Rob and understand his importance to the community.”
The Post-Gazette said late Monday afternoon they will run a Rob Rogers cartoon on trade in Tuesday’s edition.