Friday, 20 May 2016

Drawing Fire

As we have seen in recent years, being a cartoonist can be a risky business.

This example turned up in the Dr. Mercola web site as an example of how some companies can react.


Rick Friday is a veteran political cartoonist for Farm News, an Iowa newspaper. That is, he was their political cartoonist up until earlier this month. After drawing more than 1,000 cartoons over his 21-year career, he was fired from the newspaper after one of its advertisers complained.

It’s true that money talks, and this is a clear example of who’s really in control of the press. The career-ending cartoon pictured two farmers talking.

One said, “I wish there was profit in farming.”  The other responded, “There is, in year 2015 the CEOs of Monsanto, DuPont Pioneer and John Deere combined made more money than 2,129 Iowa farmers.”

As for who complained, it was reportedly “a large company affiliated with one of the corporations mentioned in the cartoon,” according to a Facebook response written by Friday. The company cancelled their advertisement with the paper after the cartoon was published, leading to Friday’s termination.

Monsanto claimed it had no role in Friday’s firing, but a reported email sent by his supervisor said it was a “seed dealer” that cancelled their advertising.

Friday’s cartoon was accurate, by the way, but it doesn’t matter. When you receive advertising money from Monsanto, DuPont and other bigwigs, you have to censor what you say so they — and their products — are painted in only a positive light.

In rebuttal, Friday wrote:

“I did my research and only submitted the facts in my cartoon. That's okay, hopefully my children and my grandchildren will see that this last cartoon published by Farm News out of Fort Dodge, Iowa, will shine light on how fragile our rights to free speech and free press really are in the country.”


I wonder how much of this happens around the media in one way or another?


  1. "I wonder how much of this happens around the media in one way or another?"

    I think we all have a plausible answer to that one. Usually the pressures are understood without having to be explicit.

  2. But why sack him?
    sacking gets media attention. They should have just warehoused him in some job till he got the hint.