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French cartoonist rails at ‘stupid’ NYT ban

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Acclaimed French cartoonist Jean Plantu called on the New York Times Tuesday not to ban political cartoons from its pages after a furore involving a caricature of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

The artist who founded the Cartooning for Peace charity, told AFP the newspaper was wrong to bow to pressure and remove a drawing by Portuguese illustrator Antonio Moreira Antunes from its site.

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“Humour and unsettling images are part of our democracy,” Plantu said.

Not having biting cartoons was “as stupid as asking children not to do drawings for Mothers’ Day,” he added.

The cartoon of Netanyahu published in April in the Times’ international edition was deemed anti-Semitic by some.

Israel’s ambassador to the UN likened it to the content of Nazi propaganda tabloid Der Sturmer.

It depicted Netanyahu as a guide dog wearing a Star of David collar and leading a blind Donald Trump wearing a kippah Jewish skullcap.

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Opinion page editor James Bennet said the paper had planned for a year to stop running political cartoons — which already no longer appear in the US edition.

From next month it will no longer run political cartoons, Bennet said Monday.

– Threat to freedom of opinion –

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Plantu, chief cartoonist of France’s Le Monde daily, said he was “worried about the future of our democracies and freedom of opinion” adding “one cannot imagine a newspaper without political caricatures.”

The artist, who set up Cartooning for Peace with the late UN chief Kofi Annan, is campaigning to have the UN’s cultural organisation Unesco declare political cartooning a fundamental human right.

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Reporters Without Borders have thrown their weight behind the drive.

Patrick Chappatte, one of the Times’ leading cartoonists, said the newspaper’s decision was directly related to the Netanyahu cartoon.

He condemned the publication of that caricature but said he was concerned that media outlets were increasingly buckling under political pressure and criticism from “moralistic mobs” on social media.

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“Over the last years, some of the very best cartoonists… lost their positions because their publishers found their work too critical of Trump. Maybe we should start worrying,” Chappatte wrote on his website.

Plantu said that he supported both “Antonio who has been censored by the New York Times… and Chappatte, who is an immense talent.”


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Louie Gohmert’s daughter begs him to heed medical advice and not to follow Trump to ‘an early grave’

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In a statement posted to Twitter this Friday, the daughter of Texas GOP Rep. Louie Gohmert said that her father contracted the coronavirus because he chose to ignore medical expertise.

Gohmert’s daughter Caroline, who is also a recording artist known as BELLSAINT, said that “wearing a mask is a non-partisan issue.”

“The advice of medical experts shouldn’t be politicized,” her statement read. “My father ignored medical expertise and now he has COVID.”

“It’s not worth following a president who has no remorse for leading his followers to an early grave,” she added.

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Doctors fear Trump will lie about a vaccine to win the election

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There is a fear among many that the so-called "October Surprise" won't be another international scandal at the White House, but President Donald Trump announcing a vaccine, whether there is one or not.

Washington Post political columnist Greg Sargent explained in his Monday column that scientists are issuing a warning in a series of New York Times interviews. Either Trump will like and announce a vaccine that isn't ready or he'll rush the process to ensure a vaccine is ready, whether it is or not. Some of the scientists even work for the American government and have updated information on the status of a vaccine.

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2020 Election

GOP strategists fear a Kris Kobach nomination could cost Republicans greatly: ‘The Senate majority runs through Kansas’

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In Kansas’ Republican senatorial primary, voters will choose between former Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach and Rep. Roger Marshall — who some GOP strategists believe is by far the more electable of the two. And according to Politico’s James Arkin, one of the prominent Republicans who is sounding the alarm is Kevin McLaughlin, executive director of the National Republican Senatorial Committee.

Although Kobach and Marshall are both hard-right politically, Kobach is more extreme — so extreme that even in deep red Kansas, he lost a gubernatorial race to a centrist Democrat in the 2018 midterms. That Democrat, Laura Kelly, is now governor of Kansas, where Kobach was a leading promoter of the racist “birther” conspiracy theory during the 2010s.

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