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I Am a Victim of Republican Cancel Culture

Ted Rall on

The debate over cancel culture centers around how the Democratic Party, "woke" activists and politically correct "social justice warriors" expel people from social acceptability or force them into joblessness because something they said or did provoked an online mob.

But Republicans have been canceling people for much longer.

I am living proof.

My career grew to national prominence during the 1990s. By the time Bill Clinton left office, my cartoons and columns regularly appeared in well over 100 American newspapers and such magazines as Time, Fortune and Bloomberg. My editor at The New York Times added up the paychecks and calculated that his newspaper had published more cartoons by yours truly than by any other artist throughout the decade. I had a talk show on KFI radio, a 50,000-watt megastation in Los Angeles. I won major journalism awards including two Robert F. Kennedy awards and a finalist spot for the Pulitzer Prize.

Because my cartoons and columns criticized Bill Clinton and the Democrats, the right-wing censorship squads let me be. They didn't notice that I attacked Democrats from the left . My editor at the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, a notorious right-wing rag then owned by conservative billionaire Richard Mellon Scaife, loved my stuff, even though I raged against NAFTA. "You sure know how to stick it to Bill and Hillary!" he beamed. Mhmm.

I didn't change my politics or my style after George W. Bush became president. After 9/11, however, I went after Republicans because they were in power. So right-wing cancel culture goons targeted me for elimination.

 

My website contained a list of newspapers that ran my cartoons. GOP chatrooms and so-called warbloggers reproduced my client list, urging Republicans from around the country to pose as angry local subscribers. Fake subscribers demanded that my work be canceled via cut-and-paste complaint email forms the bloggers and their bots helpfully provided. I took my client list offline after my cartoon syndicate figured out their scheme. But many naive editors kowtowed to the fake readers and canceled me.

Corporate cancel culture was relatively cold, ruthless and willing to overlook the profit motive in order to promote right-wing propaganda. Radio insiders said that high ratings guaranteed your freedom of expression. Despite my strong ratings, however, I was fired after KFI got acquired by Clear Channel Communications, the right-wing home of Rush Limbaugh. My replacement was unpopular; they didn't mind.

Even liberal media outlets gave in to campaigns orchestrated by the extreme right. Yielding to a chorus of outrage ginned up by Fox News' Bill O'Reilly and Sean Hannity over a cartoon in which I lampooned the marketing of the war on terror, The New York Times dropped me in 2002.

In 2004, it was The Washington Post's turn to throw me to the braying Republican hounds.

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