THE ART OF editorial cartooning is often painted in the metaphoric terms of weapons and marksmanship. Its practioners may take up the pen instead of the sword, but they are frequently rendered as truth-telling sharpshooters, training their sharp-eyed sights on satiric targets and strafing the political landscape with their double-action wit.
So perhaps it’s linguistically fitting that of the 37 journalists on an NRA-ILA roster of organizations, corporations and public/media figures who have voiced “anti-gun” policies and stances, the list is positively filthy with political cartoonists.
Whether you're pro-NRA or anti-the-organization, though, you can see that’s a striking preponderance of ink-stained artists. Cartoonists aren’t accustomed to making up nearly 40-percent of any list that isn’t an industry convention or most endangered newspaper jobs. Then again, the immediate and pointed clarity of political cartoons can be the professional equivalent of painting a target on your hunched-at-the-table back.
Interestingly, the list of more than 500 “anti-gun” people and entities (including The Washington Post) was posted last September but apparently discovered by the Internet just this week.
The 14 cartoonists listed are Steve Benson, Tony Auth (who retired from his staff post last March), Jim Borgman (who retired from daily political cartooning in 2008), Stuart Carlson, Mike Lane, Mike Luckovich, Jimmy Margulies, Jim Morin, Mike Peters, Kevin Siers, Ed Stein (who quit political cartooning last June), The Post’s Tom Toles, Garry Trudeau (“Doonesbury”) and Don Wright.
Reached Tuesday about the list, Politico cartoonist Matt Wuerker — a 2012 Pulitzer winner who is president of the Association of American Editorial Cartoonists — told Comic Riffs:
“When Nixon drew up his ‘enemies’ list,’ it included just one cartoonist: Paul Conrad from the Los Angeles Times. I was lucky enough to know Conrad and I remember that he was far prouder of making Nixon's list than his three Pulitzer Prizes.
“It appears the NRA decided to shoot higher when it came to their enemies list. They put 14 cartoonists on their list. In fact, it's telling that of the 37 journalists they targeted, [about] a third of them are editorial cartoonists.
“Just goes to show,” the left-leaning Wuerker said, “that nothing seems to rile Second Amendment zealots with guns more than some good political cartoonists with pens.”
Reached Tuesday about the list, the Fairfax-based NRA had no comment.