Political cartoons don’t deserve a Pulitzer Prize. Give one for infographics instead. – Slate Magazine
When I heard that Politico won its first Pulitzer Prize this week, I assumed that the site had been recognized for the way it tirelessly handicaps the state of play in Washington. But rather than honor one of Politico’s scoop-hungry stars, the Pulitzer committee recognized a guy I’d never heard of: Matt Wuerker, its editorial cartoonist.
I rarely look at political cartoons, so it was quite possible that I was missing out on a groundbreaking genius of the form. Not so. Judging by his hits, Wuerker isn’t a bad cartoonist, but he’s hardly an innovative one. His work is typical of every old-timey Thomas Nast spot you remember from your high-school history textbook. In Wuerker’s drawings, the government is an ailing Uncle Sam or a sinking ship (helpfully labeled “USA”), Washington is a circus, and there are lots of elephants and donkeys.
Wuerker is neither subversive nor an extremist. He seems to target Republicans more often than he does Democrats, but he mainly favors a clichéd, pox-on-both-your-houses approach. This excruciatingly punny panel, published during last summer’s budget crisis, illustrates Wuerker’s overriding argument: Washington is broken! (Who knew?)