Political Cartoons No Longer Front and Center

Power of the pen left behind in 20th century
By Harry Kimball,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 1, 2008 8:26 PM CST
This handout photo provided by the Pulitzer Prize Board shows a cartoon by Newsday's Walt Handelsman. Handelsman was honored with the Pulizer Prize for editorial cartooning, Monday, April 16, 2007. (AP...   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – Political cartoons remain, but they lost front page power and heft long ago, says U.S. News & World Report. Cartoonists like Thomas Nast could once sway elections—Ulysses S. Grant credited Nast's pencil to helping him win the presidency—but the ranks of full-time pen-and-paper satirists have thinned to less than 100 today, compared to 2,000 a century ago.

The rise of photography and television in the 20th century spelled doom for most newspaper and magazine cartoonists, but in their Victorian heyday they wielded unique power. "Nast was working in a media environment with virtually no other images,” said Economist cartoonist Kevin Kallaugher.