A sorry hack submitting free editorial cartoons to the Montgomery (Maryland) Sentinel under the signature William Charles was exposed by council member Tom Moore as a serial plagiarist, stealing other cartoonists' work, expunging the signatures and repurposing the cartoons to address local issues. (Alan Gardner of the Daily Cartoonist notes that even the cartoonist's name might turn out to be stolen. Heck, even the signature!)
For example, this cartoon from last July, critical of the aforementioned Councilman Moore...
"William Charles" swiped the work of about a dozen different cartoonists, whose styles are so dissimilar, it boggles the mind how the Sentinel editors could possibly have mistaken Charles's so-called work as the product of any one individual. I've looked through a number of the cartoons Councilman Moore collected in a .zip file, and several cartoons clearly involve pasting together pieces of three or four different cartoonists' and clip artists' work.
Councilman Moore reports that "I informed the Sentinel’s editor, Brian Karem, in person several months ago that his newspaper is stealing art from all over the Internet and passing it off as its own; he seemed unconcerned and said he’d maybe mention something to 'William Charles' about it." Since Moore took the case public, Mr. Karem has suddenly taken notice:
“He is a third-party UNPAID contributor. We have about four or five of those. As I said, we’re a small family-owned newspaper. As for not noticing, yep, the buck stops here on this one. He sent us Jpegs and PDFs of his art that showed no tells of being manipulated. If there is a way to tell in the future, I’d appreciate a heads up on that. In fact any assistance you can provide in that area would be GREATLY appreciated. I first found out about it from Mike Shapiro [one of the plagiarized cartoonists] two days ago. We pulled all of the cartoons and I now have a copy editor going through them all to see how many are original.”"No tells of being manipulated"? Seriously? Mr. Karem couldn't see that the piper and the children in this 'toon were not drawn by the same person? (I'd bet that the four or five nearest kids were drawn by Walt Handelsman.)
Given the discrepancy between Karem's responses a couple months ago and a couple days ago, I have to wonder whether this is just another example of a newspaper happily choosing free content, worth every penny. I've been disappointed in a weekly newspaper here in Wisconsin which breaks up its editorial page with its "Web Picks" -- images copied from whatever is trending on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram.