Rall: NYTimes.com Pulled Comic Because of Conservatives

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By: Dave Astor

NYTimes.com said it canceled the use of Ted Rall’s editorial cartoons effective March 1 because they didn’t fit “the tone” of the popular Web site.

When asked why the decision was made, New York Times Digital Spokesperson Christine Mohan said in an e-mail: “After two years of monitoring cartoons by Ted Rall we decided that, while he often does good work, we found some of his humor was not in keeping with the tone we try to set for NYTimes.com … While NYTimes.com and its parent company support the right of free expression, we also recognize an obligation to assure our users that what we publish, no matter what its origin, does not offend the reasonable sensibilities of our audience.”

Rall, however, believes The New York Times (Click for QuikCap) Web site stopped running his editorial cartoons this week because it was tired of dealing with e-mail campaigns from conservatives who don’t like his work.

“I’ve been canceled from a lot of newspapers,” Rall told E&P. “It comes with the territory. But this [the reluctance of some papers to deal with reader complaints] is nothing short of appalling. It needs to change.” If newspapers don’t have the personnel to handle hate mail, said Rall, “just delete it.”

Mohan said reader feedback to the dropping of Rall has been “minimal” so far, but Rall said about 150 people have e-mailed him since Monday wondering why his cartoons were no longer on NYTimes.com. The site was running his cartoons for free, he said, while also using cartoons by nine other Universal Press Syndicate artists.

Rall — who has about 140 clients — wrote about the pulling on his own site (www.tedrall.com). In that piece, he said NYTimes.com has been skittish about his work since his 2002 cartoon satirizing 9/11’s “terror widows.”

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