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How Newspapers Should Use Their Political Cartoonists

Martin “Shooty” Šútovec is a great CagleCartoonist who we don’t see frequently on because he is usually consumed with the crazy local politics in Slovakia. I thought I would show some pages from the most recent issue of the “Dennik N.” newspaper that is filled with Shooty’s work. “Dennik” means “Daily” and N stands for “Nezavisly” meaning “Independent.”

Shooty left his old newspaper, the “SME” five years ago with about 30 of his journalist colleagues to found the Dennik N., because a financial group called “Penta,” that Shooty tells me “was known for making dirty business deals with public healthcare” purchased a large share of the newspaper. At the Dennik N. newspaper, all of the editors are shareholders.

Shooty tells me that the Dennik N. paper is very successful and is financed by digital subscriptions, and powered by excellent investigative journalists who forced their Prime Minister Fico (the short, blonde haired guy in the cartoons) and the minister of the Interior to resign, after some big demonstrations.

Slovakia has recently been rocked by a a scandal that is nicknamed “Gorilla” after the codename of a secret agent who leaked secret documents and 39 hours of audio files showing a conspiracy involving the CEO of Penta corrupting select politicians. Shooty says the codename “Gorilla” is similar to the codename “Deep Throat” in the Watergate scandal. The scandal involves a famous mobster named Kocner who ordered the murder of an investigative journalist, Jan Kuciak.

Shooty writes, “Marian Kočner (the black haired guy in the cartoons) is involved in corrupting politicians (and) judges … He is finally in jail, but it was hard work; our newspaper is still publishing tons of his leaked messages … where he is making deals with murderers, members of parliament etc. it is not the same as (the) Gorilla cause, but everything is connected.”

The screenshots show a recent issue of the Dennik N, covering the Gorilla scandal, with Shooty’s cartoons dominating the coverage. This is the way to cover a scandal. Bravo, Shooty!




Shooty writes: “On the picture Im sending you is the wall in our office with wallpaper made from our covers, to show you how often we have cartoons on (the) covers.”
Blog Syndicate

The Nastiest Trump Cartoonist

I often get emails from readers who suggest cartoon ideas, and they are typically angry rants with crowd scenes coming from people who can’t visualize how to draw a simple cartoon, something like: “draw the whole world farting on Trump, which knocks him off of a cliff where he will fall and land in a vast sea of thousands of pigs.” I usually respond to say, that’s too nutty, and Im too lazy.” Well, not so for my buddy Marian Kamensky. (I’m thinking of doing a book of the nastiest Trump cartoons. See my new Trump coloring book here:

Here are some more nasty Trump cartoons from Marian. I’m not sure I understand this one …

There have been a whole lot of Trump as caveman cartoons – here’s Marian’s.

There have been lots of Trump as Hitler cartoons. Here’s Marian’s view of Trump as a Nazi election choice.

I’m not sure why Marian sees Trump as a fish, buried in the ocean floor, but … well, OK.

Here’s Marian’s Trump as a pig with a swastika anus. hmmm.

Here’s Marian’s Trump trail to the White House.

Marian on Trump’s statement, later walked back, that women who have illegal abortions should be punished.

The international cartoonists, like Marian, were drawing Trump/Nazi metaphors from the start. There was no ramping up the cartoon criticism.

Marian is not alone in the crazy-nasty Trump cartoon bandwagon. Should I do that “Most Nasty Trump Cartoons” book?


Spineless Despots Don’t Like Cartoons

As incredible as it might seem for a modern European democracy, Slovakia’s Prime Minister Robert Fico is suing for an apology and €33,000 ($43,000.00) for a political cartoon, drawn by Martin “Shooty” Sutovec for the SME Daily newspaper, that mocked the Prime Minister’s health by suggesting he didn’t have a backbone.

Editorial cartoons are the best measure of a country’s freedom; cartoonists are barred from drawing their leaders in many countries around the world. Lawsuits from insulted politicians like Fico are typical in authoritarian regimes that claim to have a free press but can’t bear criticism. The government in Algeria claims to have a free press while officials often sue editorial cartoonists in civil court –- a common practice in Arab countries. It is disappointing to see third world style repression in an EU country like Slovakia, which should have higher standards.

In his offending cartoon, Shooty has drawn Prime Minister Fico seated in a doctor’s office. The doctor, after examining an x-ray, which shows Fico’s skeleton with no neck or spine, says to Fico, “I knew it! Your spine can’t possibly hurt because you don’t have a backbone.” Cartoons that accuse politicians of “having no backbone” are universal.

In his lawsuit against Shooty and his publisher, the prime minister stated that while he was suffering unbearable physical pain, the SME daily was misusing his image and mocking his suffering, which harmed his dignity and reputation.

Eliza Young, a spokesperson for Freedom House, an NGO that monitors press freedom around the world said, “The case against Martin ‘Shooty’ Sutovec is one of many inappropriate cases that have been brought against the Slovak media in the past year and represents a wider trend of intimidation of the press by political elites. Not only has the prime minister filed several lawsuits, but the Chairman of the Supreme Court has harassed publishers and a radio station, demanding out-of-court settlements of up to €200,000 ($286,000). The courts’ inclination to rule in favor of politicians in many cases is worrying, and we fear that the extreme fines associated with these charges will lead to increased self-censorship by Slovakia’s journalists. In a democratic society, a journalist’s first loyalty should be to its citizens, not its politicians.”

Slovakia’s Fico, who clings to his communist roots, often sues the media for libel and has been awarded substantial compensatory damages. In 2009, Fico was awarded €92,000 in damages for various libel claims against the press, including €66,000 in a case where a newspaper was unable to prove that Fico had called two journalists “dirty bastards”.

Editorial cartoonists in America are given broad protections allowing them to ridicule public figures. By choosing to become a public figure, American politicians give up their right to sue cartoonists. I drew President Clinton as the character in the “Operation” game at the time of his heart surgery. One of our syndicated cartoonists, Monte Wolverton, drew an anal-interior view of President George W. Bush after a colonoscopy revealed five small polyp growths in Bush’s colon –- cartoons lampooning our leaders’ health issues are common fare in American editorial cartoons.

Being subject to public scrutiny and potential ridicule should be a part of the job for public officials in the civilized world – especially when it comes to spineless despots, like Fico.


See more of Shooty’s cartoons here:’t-like-cartoons/

Caption for the cartoon:

This is the cartoon that offended the Slovakian Prime Minister. Martin “Shooty” Sutovec’s cartoons are syndicated to about half of America’s daily newspapers, including this newspaper.

Daryl Cagle is a political cartoonist and blogger for; he is a past president of the National Cartoonists Society. Daryl’s cartoons are syndicated to more than 850 newspapers, including the paper you are reading now. Daryl’s books “The BIG Book of Campaign 2008 Political Cartoons” and “The Best Political Cartoons of the Year, 2010 Edition” are available in bookstores now.