Steve Benson is an Asset to the Arizona Republic; How can Gannett lay him off?



The war on journalism by conservative corporate interests continued yesterday.

The Gannett Company, like Sinclair in other media outlets, is apparently attempting to steer the bias of journalistic coverage towards a conservative orientation. The latest example is Gannett’s January 23, 2019 decision to lay off 1993 Pulitzer Prize-Winning Editorial Cartoonist Steve Benson.

Working at the Republic since 1981 (with a brief sojourn in Tacoma in the early nineties), Benson has been an equal opportunity editorial cartoonist, poking fun at both Democrats and Republicans. He, like the recently laid off Rob Rogers in Pittsburgh, has been especially diligent at satirizing the shortcomings of the Trump Administration. He is undoubtedly one of the reasons people subscribe to the Arizona Republic and AZ Central. He is an asset to the journalistic field and the public. How this lay off financially benefits Gannett over time is questionable.

Corporate Interests have been trying to suffocate local and national journalistic outlets for several years now. The small town and city/regional papers are disappearing across the country or becoming shells of what they once were. As mentioned earlier, other corporate interests are attempting, with some success, to have their news organizations parrot the conservative gospel as mainstream.  Our own President openly ridicules mainstream periodicals and television news channels repeatedly calling them and their reports “fake news.”

This manipulation of our press by these means is only bad for our Democracy and citizenry. For a Democracy to be vibrant and successful, the citizens need to be well informed by accurate representations of current events. This can not happen if the people best charged with conveying the message are laid off or if parent organizations control what the reading public gets to see.

Hopefully, Gannett will rethink its decision to lay off Mr. Benson. If not, there are probably many outlets that will recognize him for the journalistic asset that he is and vie to retain his services. Hopefully, people will not have to wait long to see the next Benson cartoon.

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David Gordon
Living in Arizona since his family moved to Tempe from New York in 1982, David Gordon has three degrees from Arizona State University and the University of Phoenix in History, Political Science, and Secondary School Administration. A highly qualified Social Studies instructor and Certified School Principal, Mr. Gordon owned his own charter school, Grand Canyon College Preparatory Academy from 1997-2016. The school served students in grades 6-12 in the East Valley of Maricopa County. Many of the graduates of GCP earned college credit for free while still attending high school, some completing the first year of college before graduating. Among the speakers at the school's graduations were noted figures in Arizona Politics like Harry Mitchell, David Schweikert, Juan Mendes, Andrew Sherwood, and John Huppenthal. Mr. Gordon also participated in the revisions of the Arizona History and Social Studies standards. In January 2017, Mr. Gordon started the political blog Twenty-First Century Progressive Bull Moose. It has a global following and routinely comments on the political events of the day. Mr. Gordon also helps administer the Facebook page Living Blue in Arizona. He is also currently writing a series of Young Adult science fiction novels which incorporate the themes of time travel and its impact on history. Mr. Gordon is very happy to be asked to join the Blog for Arizona team and hopes to spread the progressive word to make Arizona a better place for everyone.


  1. To say Benson’s cartooning skewered Dems and Reps alike is ludicrous. Besides the obvious 99% of his cartoons lambasted Repulicans, the people complaining about his departure blame it on a variation “conservative” politics, only serves to confirm his bias. It would be nice to find a quality cartoonist to at least attempted to see the stupidity on both sides of the aisle. Something that Benson NEVER did. All the people who are going to cancel their prescriptions have professed their joy at his one sided liberalism over the years. I canceled mine years ago for the same reason. Find someone objective!

  2. I am getting re ady to cancel my subscription to the Republic as well. Of course it is political!

  3. Steve Benson, his brilliance, his take on life were the highlight of our morning AZ REPUBLIC. Living in AZ for 15 years I would cut them out and send them to a dear friend, one of NY’s famed cartoonists, now retired. I sent them to friends to keep in touch. We are cancelling our subscription in protest to Gannet. While waiting for my many prescriptions at my local pharmacy I will read the AZ Republic, free. Gotcha on that! In this upside down world Gannet took away the bright spot in our lives. What’s next, the cartoons? Perhaps we should refer to Gannett as Gannett the Menace!

  4. All I know is that my subscription to the Arizona Republic will now end. I am an Arizona native who found that Benson was a breath of fresh air in a stifling ‘everybody is conservative here’ environment. Obviously this is not so ~ just look at the last election. If Gannett wishes to worship at The Donald’s feet without question (such an unpatriotic thing to do; Americans must critique their elected officials), then they can do so without me.

  5. Why do you assume the firing was political and not economic, due to declining circulation, ad revenue and/or a shift to less profitable online formats.

    • Good question. I think it is political because only two people were laid off and the other person was someone who had been with the Republic over 35 years less than Benson. Also, why get rid of someone who is your only editorial cartoonist who draws subscribers to your publication and is a person of state and national renown unless there is an ulterior motive/agenda.

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