Rogers, an award-winning, nationally syndicated editorial cartoonist, was fired from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette in 2018 for drawing cartoons that criticized President Trump. Rogers has been drawing political cartoons for more than 30 years.
During a presentation of his work, Rogers explained that sometimes ideas come to him visually after seeing something on the news. He displayed his cartoon of former Vice President Dick Cheney as the Statue of Liberty. Cheney had been in the news, defending interrogation techniques, and the CIA has just released a torture report. "And so, I imagined, what about our civil liberties, and that immediately made me think of the Statue of Liberty," said Rogers. "I thought, okay, I'll draw Cheney as the Statue of Liberty. So, here he is—and there he has the torture handbook and he's saying, 'Bring us your huddled masses yearning to be waterboarded.'"
Rogers shared the work of Thomas Nast to illustrate the history and influence of editorial cartoons in American politics. Known as the "Father of the American Cartoon," Nast was most famous for exposing corruption in Tammany Hall, a New York City political organization, which was led by William "Boss" Tweed during the late 1800s. Tweed famously complained about the unwanted publicity, saying "I don't care so much what the papers write; my constituents can't read. It's them damn pictures." Tweed was ultimately arrested for corruption in 1871.
Every day, Rogers begins with a sketchbook and depending on the day he jots down topics. "I look at two topics that are very different and very disparate and I think, what if I combine those, that would be a surprise," said Rogers. On February 3, 2004, for example, he combined the two topics: Groundhog's Day and weapons of mass destruction intelligence. He drew a mortally wounded Punxsutawney Phil and President Bush with a smoking shotgun saying, "I was wrong about having weapons of mass destruction, but he was still a threat."