The Trump Presidency in Editorial Cartoons
October 16, 2023
|Release Date||September 2023|
The Trump Presidency in Editorial Cartoons engages with close to one thousand editorial cartoons to analyze the visual representations of President Donald Trump and his responses to six news events during his term in office. Natalia Mielczarek traces the mechanisms through which the drawings construct the president’s image and their potential rhetorical consequences for interpretation. Through this analysis, Mielczarek argues that the right-leaning cartoons largely erase the president’s likeness from their plotlines, acting as a shield against accountability for Trump. Left-leaning cartoons, on the other hand, tend to clone the president and exaggerate his image in most of their stories, often functioning as tools of symbolic censure and punishment. Through these de- and re-contextualization tactics that make President Trump either largely absent or hyper-present in the narrative, the cartoons construct inadvertent rhetorical paradoxes and coalesce around ideological heroes and villains. This result, Mielczarek posits, more closely resembles partisan propaganda, rather than political commentary and social critique. Scholars of communication, political science, and media studies will find this book of particular interest.