More Arrogant Crap from the Huffington Post

The Huffington Post, which famously pays nothing to its writers, has a ridiculous piece by Jason Notte about “Ten Features That Are Dying with your Newspaper;” included on the list are editorial cartoons and one comic, The Family Circus. Notte writes:

9. Editorial Cartoons: You know those witty, insightful, stinging illustrated summaries of current events that make their way onto the op-ed page? In 10 years, you may be in the minority. If newspaper’s death knell is ringing, editorial cartoonists are pulling the rope. The head of the American Association of Editorial Cartoonists said four years ago that the number of full-time editorial cartoonists in the U.S. had dropped from 200 to 80. For his part, cartoonist and AAEC president Ted Rall has been putting together nearly as many layoff updates as illustrations these days. Remember when censorship was an editorial cartoonist’sbiggest worry? Apparently, those were the good times.

This is typical of the Huffington Post’s attitude about the “death of newspapers” as they crow about how they are the next new big thing in journalism ““ although they operate on round after round of venture financing, without a sustainable business model, stocked with content from volunteers.

Editorial cartoons have never been more popular. With the Web in addition to newspapers, political cartoonists now have the largest audience they have ever had. Political cartoons are featured on state mandated testing in high schools in every state and teachers teach to the tests, creating new fans of our art form every year. The work being done by editorial cartoonists now is better than ever before.

Cartoon by Michael Kountouris, Greece.
Cartoon by Michael Kountouris, Greece.

We syndicate a package of editorial cartoons. We’re seeing a small decline in newspaper sales that is being offset by an increase in other kinds of sales that we get though being easy to find on the Web. Our syndication business is flat, which is disappointing, but it is fine. The audience for cartoons continues to grow.

There are about 1,500 daily newspapers in the USA, of that number, probably about 80 employ full time cartoonists. Ten years ago there were more than 100, ten years before that maybe 140, back in 1960 there were probably about 200 newspapers that employed full time editorial cartoonists. That is a big percentage decline in the number of cartooning jobs in the past fifty years, but it is not a big drop in the number as a percentage of the total number of newspapers ““ the vast majority of newspapers have never employed a full time cartoonist.

I scream and wail about the loss of full time cartoonist jobs and the decline in newspapers, but the truth is it has always been unusual for a newspaper to hire a cartoonist. Newspapers have been running inexpensive syndicated cartoons for many decades and those syndicated cartoonists are the stars whose work gets seen, while local cartoonists are obscure. Syndication pays poorly because of decades of competition between the syndicates with an oversupply of good cartoons and has little or nothing to do with the decline of newspapers.

We are not seeing a decline in the number of active editorial cartoonists with the losses of full time jobs; just the opposite is happening, there are more now, plugging away as freelancers, scraping a living together from paying and non-paying clients.

The current situation for cartoonists is no different than the situation Notte finds himself in – with a big audience for his work as he writes for free for the Huffington Post, while also writing for a variety of odd clients. There will always be plenty of editorial cartoonists and plenty of writers, like Notte, plying their freelance trade no matter what happens to newspapers.

By Daryl Cagle

Daryl Cagle is the founder and owner of Cagle Cartoons, Inc. He is one of the most widely published editorial cartoonists and is also the editor of The Cagle Post.

40 replies on “More Arrogant Crap from the Huffington Post”

Well, you're right again. Screaming and wailing doesn't get full time cartoonist jobs back. It hasn't kept the newspapers in business. And you're reading s/o who's now paying $4 for the Boston Sunday Globe. The times they are a changing. Is Craigslist killing the newspaper industry, as has been suggested? I guess it is. And, etc. Ads paid for investigative reporting (all reporting for that matter) and cartoons etc. As revenues decline, what can pay for the valuable pieces that are currently only supplied by the newspapers? March 30, 2009 there were announcements that Huffington Post (which I don't read) would invest $1.75m in an investigative reporting fund. I don't view them as the devil, whatever their business model. They appear to be on the winning side of changing times. The classic marketing questions are: who is your market, where are they, how do you reach them, how do you package your offer, and how much will they pay for it? A lot of open questions. With no easy answers.

Buggy whips are on the way out, because no one's buying buggies any more. Oh noes! it's the end of civilization!

There are three "free" newspapers delivered to my yard every week. Frankly, I'll be glad to see them go out of business. I hate having to pick up their trash and put it into my recycle bin every week, and they refuse to stop delivering it. I am not interested at all in sports, but one paper is all sports. One is all rehashed stuff stolen from the Food Network's Web site. And I have no idea what's in the other one. They're all published by The Oregonian, who wants $85 for a one-time placement of a three-line classified ad, which takes a week to get published – or I can put a full-page ad with photos on Craigslist for free, and reach my target audience in a few minutes, hours at most. Guess which I prefer.

Newspapers need to get into the Twentieth Century and figure out a business model that works – on the Internet, not on paper. Maybe ebook readers are their future (but not a proliferation of formats and standards – that way lies both madness and failure). The rest of us don't really mind if they're still not quite up to the Twenty-First Century, but this Nineteenth Century crap has to stop. Buggy whips are no longer in demand. Live with it.

I'm confused. So cartoonist are doing fine? I was under the impression with less papers that meant less demand for the product, not counting those being laid off by papers that go under. So Editorial Cartoonists are doing fine? I really was getting the wrong impression from what I heard in the media. I don't think slamming The Huffington Post for not paying people who submit pieces helps your argument.

"Arrogant crap" is in the eye of the beholder. I can't count the number of times that I have felt that the "cartoon du jour" that was selected to be featured in my daily Cagle newsletter was "arrogant crap". However, I keep opting to receive the daily Cagle newsletter because freedom of expression is our most valuable right as American citizens. Sometimes hearing something unpleasant knocks us out of our comfort zone and causes us to learn or consider something we would have otherwise missed.
I'm not of a mind to get in the middle of the Cagle-Huffington feud.
I value print media and regret it is in a particularly challenged situation at the present.
I can't help think that the reaction to Huffington is as much a matter of personal toes stepped upon than it is anything more significant. I feel for your plight and wish you well.
However, political cartoonists freely step on the toes of those they feel deserve it. I know the underlying presumption is that the cartoonist is correct and justified is ridiculing the object(s) of his/her graphic scorn . . . but, in truth, that conclusion is just one human's fallible glibly distributed to the masses via syndicated networks . . . leaving the ambushed parity(ies) with little means for rebuttal.
So, my overriding reaction to the detailed and highly defensive lament penned here is "If you can't take it, you shouldn't make a living by slinging it!"
I admire the art and craft of political cartooning. I just think you need to grow thicker skin.
Be well!

the cartoons and the cartoonists are dwindling like the papers because there are few of us left that have the smarts to comprehend them,and we have become a society that does not like to laugh at itself, too close to accepting reality,so much easier to live someone else s life from a TV show. When the humor dies along with the spread of investigated news and events we will be more easily controlled by the masters from just that medium. How convenient eh? But the cartoons will go on,we have walking talking ones from the president on down everyone else on the other side, and in the intellectually challenged society from whence they came. In a time of our Nation when we are truly a joke its sad there so few to draw it.

well Daryl, I think you are being sensitive here. the Huff Post paragraph that you cite even seems a bit sympathetic to the plight of newspapers. I think by "pulling the rope" he means "canary in the coal mine" in that the voice of editorial cartoonists are signaling us about what is happening. newspapers are the poorer when they remove their editorial cartoons, but newspapers are threatened and undergoing a re-assessment of purpose in face of today's technology and environmental consciousness. as much as your site, the Huff Post is a valuable assortment of minds. I rely on you both for intelligent comment on contemporary life.

Let me understand. The Huffington Post is arrogant because it notes the decline in political cartoons. And (though I can't see the relevancy) because they don't pay their contributors.

Last point was news to me but it must signify that the Huffington Post is very prestigious since high-powered writers regularly contribute thoughtful, well-reasoned copy.

It's rough all over, and while I understand your frustration, it seems to me you're striking out at an unusually large target. It's not only Huffington that is publishing their site for free—both from the writers and to the readers, but they seem to have gotten under your skin because they seem to be making a go of what they are doing. At least there are still SOME papers left—I live in Denver, where the only newspaper I got for the last 25 years of my life went belly up. No more Rocky Mountain News. It was bad enough when both papers became owned by the same conglomerate. But to be stuck with only The Denver Post's voice was more than I could bear. Wow…maybe you should take a swing at the conglomerates that own papers, too. You know, they kept raising prices, lowering quality and then screamed and gnashed their teeth when people went to get their news elsewhere. If you want to know the real killer of newspapers, it's the internet. Try placing the blame where it belongs, and quit tossing "CRAP" headlines in my email. I found that extremely offensive.

For all of us here, using a computer, getting our news via this medium serves us well, but there are still millions of people who are computer-illiterate. detest computers, use computers all day and want to read a newspaper, or simply prefer to relax with one. Perhaps newspapers in their physical form will be phased out when the Boomer generation dies out, fifty-five years or so from now, but their obituary certainly seems premature.


Huffington Post will be around long after my local paper's folded up shop. Our daily's even quit sending reporters out of the building and has asked readers to send in stories and photos. For year's it's been publishing it's readers submitted cartoons. And, this is a paper with no local competition in a town of 150,000! I'm seeing the "arrogant crap" in a much different location than you folks at Cagle seem to be.

Way to go, Daryl! Two punctuation errors in your first paragraph! Excellent writing and editing!

Daryl: Gotta give credibility to you in this instance, since cartooning is your bag. Writing is mine. Please hire a proofreader or editor who will help you avoid using a contraction (it's) – meaning 'it is' and correctly using the possessive pronoun (its) in YOUR VERY FIRST SENTENCE. Correct grammar, spelling and proper syntax is not that difficult when a cartoonist asks a writer to proof his piece. I'm confident that any writer worth his salt would ask a cartoonist for a look-see if he were foolish enough to publish a cartoon that IS SEEN BY MILLIONS. Capiche?

I fail to see how he's being arrogant by telling the truth. You've said yourself that newspapers are getting rid of their editorial cartoonists.

Newspapers are the ones who are being arrogant, and by their own arrogance, they are sealing their own doom. I stopped delivery on both local newspapers when they switched from delivery boys to motorized delivery service. They went from a local kid who would put the paper on my porch every day, and collect from my mail box every week, to a guy in a truck who would drop my paper in the gutter or in the street (on the days that he even bothered to deliver!), and who would demand to be paid 3 months in advance by automatic charge to a credit card!

I don't get it. Not too long ago there was an editorial on this very website by Daryl Cagle on the same subject, lamenting the loss of editorial cartoonists nationally, spelling out a doom and gloom scenario much like this article does. This seems like splitting hairs for no particular purpose at all other than picking on the Huffington Post. Was this article written because it is too hard to draw a cartoon mocking a blog site? I appreciate Mr. Cagle and generally like his cartoons. This kind of backbiting makes me sad. One question for Mr. Cagle: do YOU pay any of the contributers to your website? Or is it all for "exposure" like so many of us cartoonists get perennially offered in exchange for our efforts instead of cash? I often wondered about that. Oh yeah, ditto on the unreadable security code Daryl. We artists suffer from enough eyestrain as it is. Do us a big favor and go back to black letters against a white background.

For the past 8 years, during all the Bush/Cheney removal of the Constitution,
newspapers did nothing to question the whys or wherefores.
If newspapers fold and with them, cartoonist, then maybe they
can look back and realize why.
Where are the investigative journalists today?

Both newspapers and network news complain about "disappearing" readers/viewers, usually wailing that people are turning to the Internet and/or that Americans choose to be ignorant dolts. Actually, they need to look at their own product to understand the problem. News managers are very selective about which of the facts they choose to report, using only those that support a particular viewpoint, and disregarding all other facts. As a result, we've seen a significant decline in the quality of news reporting. To cut costs, presumably, most news has been replaced with enough fillers to use up the half-hour report or to fill the pages of the paper. Food, fun, fitness and fashion, with "human interest" stories and entertainment fluff in between. Whether deliberate or not, this has effectively censored-out much legitimate news reporting. When I want news, I turn to news sources — and mainstream newspapers and network news no longer provide this. If they ever get back to legitimate news reporting, I'd be glad to buy the daily paper and catch the evening network news.

The title tells how Daryl feels about the Huffington Post. Understandable. One day I love it, myself; the next, I hate it.
I feel the same way about Ted Ralls cartoons. One day it's funny, and another, it seems the height of bad taste.
I can understand and empathize with all the folks losing their jobs, and I can bemoan the loss of newspapers, too. I love to hold a paper in my hands and read it. And I love to hold a real, physical book in my hands, and carry it around with me, and read it in my own time. I hate Kindles and digital books and all the new stuff, well, at least, some of the time.
I have to wonder, though, why no one is screaming and yelling at the loss of all the American manufacturing base to China as Walmart and Wall Street force more and more jobs out of the country.
And why no one is screaming about the losses in Detroit that are sure to come, because our President doesn't obey the banking laws and chooses to reward the felons, and punish the workers and businessmen who are suffering because of the actions of the rewarded felons.
And I wonder where were all the folks who love to scream when all those telephone workers lost their jobs in the break-up of the Bell System, the best phone service in the entire world, so that some rich folks could get richer, the unions could be crushed, and the laws could be changed to allow the rich folks to get even richer.
Yeah, I know, it's easier to scream when the pain gets personal.
It's kind of like war – it's great fun until it gets personal.
I am sure there will be plenty of for-profit schools springing up everywhere on auto manufacturing. That's what happens after every industry goes south rapidly – schools spring up to train ever more people for non-existent jobs, and dilute an already over-whelmed job market with more cheap labor chasing too few jobs that pay a decent wage. It happened in telephony, and it happened in aircraft maintenance. And others.
Kapitalismo. Nothing wrong with capitalism, nor socialism, so long as they are not fixed in the laws and tax codes and enforced on the people at the point of a gun – the same gun that their taxes are paying for, to add insult to injury.
Put that in a cartoon.

In a world where time is my most precious asset I won't take time for endless blogs and my life is filled with so much paper that I can not justify or tolerate the newspapers. I have lived in several parts of the country in my life and don't like being stuck with the opinions of a one owner paper (or opinions of the controling interest). The internet allows me to follow the stories that I am interested in not what "you" want me to know. I have collected and followed political cartoons for more than 50 years. After being limited to local newspapers for years you can see why the day I discovered this site with all the political cartoons from around the country and the world was a most wonderful day. I am fine with the fact that I don't agree with half. I honestly believe that newspapers will figure out a way to survive. They just need some fresh blood to set them straight. I would gladly pay a yearly fee or what ever to have access to the countrys brightest and best newspapers (on line) rather than be stuck with only one choice in my area or tons of paper from subscriptions to more national papers.
I could go on and on here but you get my drift.
Thanks for posting this.

Thanks Wendy. Very good points. Newspapers are way too one-sided. And look at the way the laws have been manipulated in recent times to allow ever larger single-ownership of the voices that spread the news.
Newspapers may die, probably from their own in-breeding, but the news media will grow and change and find ways to do an ever better job for the lowest price possible, and still turn a handy profit.
The internet can free the world, if we can somehow manage to curb the greedy and fraudulent among us.
It already is free, if only everyone will wake up and realize it.

hey shaky

bush/cheney maybe one reason you still have a constitution instead of a prayer rug

I have to agree with msfwdc, May 30, 2009 at 4:04 pm, who stated, "… I can’t count the number of times that I have felt that the “cartoon du jour” that was selected to be featured in my daily Cagle newsletter was “arrogant crap”. …" The one posted today is a good example. I'm reasonably intelligent and have several college degrees, but I do not have the slightest idea what the cartoon by Michael Kountouris of Greece is supposed to represent. Is it intended to be a commentary on the loss of newspapers and/or editorial cartoons/cartoonists? I don't see how, nor can I see how it can be linked to the HuffPost either. Taking into account that having to explain a joke or a cartoon means it bombed, how about an explanation for this one, Daryl?

Hey Darryl – I didn't know that about the Huffington Post! Our local newspaper is so sucky and it jacked up it's subscription price. If newspapers want to keep folks like me – they need to not do that. They got rid of Bill Day,who I adored as an editorial cartoonist – but jacked up their prices. You can see daylight through our local paper it's so thin. We now get just the New York Times weekend papers and that lasts us all week – because it's like reading a book of short stories – I love it!

Hello Daryl,
I love your site. Your comments regarding Huffpost made me also wonder how much you pay your contributor artists?
In several ways the intent of your article about Huff does seem a bit like the pot calling the pot black.
It also comes across as ego driven and ironic, as the targets of your cartoonists are expected to take tough shots directed at them without whining. I didn't sense that Huffpost was being critical of you. Have I missed something? Why the bitterness and outrage? Or is a large ego essential to your creative process and you have extreme fear that yours may be pricked? Even by a like-minded editor of what I consider a sister publication?
I would much prefer that you and Huffpost collaborate and offer an even richer product, or variety of superior offerings, than to see a totally unnecessary catfight. It's true that some duels create larger audiences for both personalities – I date myself by thinking of W,C. Fields and Edgar Bergen's Charlie McCarthy. Behind the mutual sarcasm was an astute appreciation of the mutual benefit of their famous antagonism. Both sides benefitted greatly and inproved their public stature. So develop a sense of humour and turn your spat into something in which everyone wins. Do you possess the maturity? Are you both big enough persons? Or will you turn off your public with petty bickering, killing the golden goose of public acclaim with pointless bitter whining and recriminations?
re: the security code. The final number in my code changes depending on how you tilt your head. This is progress? Why is it necessary? Does this tell us that no one reads our comments before they are published? I highly doubt that. So, again, please explain why the code is necessary? At least make it readable – better yet, dispense with it.
My deep appreciation to all of the fine minds and gifted talents that enrich the web pages of both Daryl Cagle and A. Huffpost. Well done! Please Please Please!!! Keep it Coming!! Our society depends on all of you to remain progressive and free. That is truly a great responsibility, one I trust you will honour for the benefit of all.

waste of energy infighting…..intelligent consumers need both political cartoons and Huffington…stop it!




Well, I gotta first comment on the comment from EASTTEXASREDNECK. Anyone who uses ALL CAPS fails to understand the protocol of writing online. When you use ALL CAPS you are seen as YELLING! Well, that or an idiot. Perhaps he's just yelling!
As for all the other discussion, I found it all very interesting. I enjoy Huffington Post more than Cagle's site – but only by a smidgen. Perhaps its the further-right leaning rantings of Michael Reagan and his ilk.
Nonetheless, as someone who has written for free and for money I can tell you that often the free writing can be – in the long run – more profitable. I have gotten business and speech gigs out of free submissions to notable publications (business journals). When I was paid to write a short bi-weekly column it was certainly worth it. Unfortunately they cut their budget a few months back. When I do submit a piece to a publication knowing that there is no direct payment for it, I measure other things. It's like giving a free speech to a group of people who you can influence to see things your way or to come to you for business.
As for the Huff/Cagle standoff/dogfight, I think you have a small taste of sour grapes, Daryl. I find things to love and despise on both sites. Calling it more 'arrogant' crap really disposes me to wonder what the hell made you so grumpy today?

There has been a general decline in the quality of news since news departments went from loss leaders to profit centers in the late 70's and early 80's. All mediums have been effected by this trend. The need to generate profits required that news sources become more interesting. When the news became entertainment it lost it's authority. Is there any news source today that has authority?
The problem with the Huffington Post is that it mixes news articles with opinion pieces which sometimes makes it difficult to tell them apart. This is the problem with the internet in general, the merger of opinion and news. I see this however, in newspapers as well as on the television. It looks like the line between fact and conjecture has been irrevocably blurred.

Ah, Huffington Post sucks anyway. I mean, if they're going to call their website a newspaper, they could at least report something worthwhile, instead reporting Bill O' Riley's, or any other conservative pundits rants on Obama. I wish they'd just do actual reporting. They're so one sided. I'm pretty much a commie on the political spectrum, but I can't stand it when there's a bias in newspapers. It's simply not supposed to be that way.

When I see any article from this rumor-mill, I just laugh. Huff n Puff is a lot of drivel

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