Thursday, March 04, 2004
By way of Instapundit comes this pathetic whine of Ted Rall, aghast that the New York Times has dropped his pitiful excuse for a cartoon. Repent, ye sinners, and hear the lamentations of Rall:
My trouble with the Times website dates back to the "terror widows" controversy. That cartoon, which appeared in March 2002, became the target of a coordinated email attack by right-wing "warbloggers." These pro-Bush bloggers, coasting on a wave of post-9/11 patriotism, sent out emails to their followers (helpful souls forwarded some to me) asking each other to deluge the Times and other papers with complaints that purported to come from their readers. The Times, under the mistaken belief that hundreds of their readers had complained about the cartoon, dropped that particular piece.
Oh, those silly Times people, apparently unable to run the list of senders against their subscriber database! Those intrepid paragons of investigative journalism, bamboozled by an email campaign! That must be it -- it couldn't just be that the Times editors took a close look at his alleged artwork, and good taste prevailed. No, no, the Times simply ran for cover.

. . .It seems that the warbloggers consistent campaign of email harrassment has finally taken its toll over at Times Digital. Because they're annoyed by receiving so many email complaints about my work--all of them motivated by partisan politics--the Times has decided to drop my cartoons entirely.
I have frankly forgotten all about Rall since that time, but who knows, maybe others still keep up the "campaign of email harrassment." Somehow I doubt that Rall is the biggest issue for the Times staff. I mean, really, is NYT's other content so completely inoffensive that it's the Rall "campaign" that drove them to submission? Methinks someone is suffering from delusions of importance.

Not content to simply whine, Rall first paints himself as a selfless artist. . .

Other cartoonists have decried the censorship of their cartoons over political (rather than quality) concerns, but never me. I've always believed that papers can run whatever they want--or not. But this is different. For one thing, no money is involved. That's right--I didn't get one penny from the Times for running my work online. The syndicate was giving them the content for free--for the exposure, as they say. So when I ask for your help, please rest assured that this isn't some cheesy financial appeal. If the Times picks me up again, it won't make any difference to my checkbook.
Right. Being carried by the New York Times is not at all helpful to the career of a cartoonist. No difference to Rall's checkbook. None whatsoever.

But, please, he has more noble concerns:

The fact of the matter is that what the Times has done here to me--and to you--represents a dangerous precedent for a free press (or, in this case, an online press). They've sent the message that political pressure works.
My God -- saying unpopular things makes you unpopular! Others may not like you! People may choose not to associate with you! A newspaper may decide that your humor is neither funny nor tasteful, and seek better talent! The horror of it all!

And by the way: in order to be a precedent, something has to occur for the first time. I'm sure Rall has heard of the cancellation of CBS's Dr. Laura show, or NBC's pulling of the L&O Puerto Rican Day Parade episode -- both done at the behest of "pressure groups" who did way more than writing email. Yet somehow I doubt he was very concerned with these "precedents" -- "dangerous" though they may have been. At best, Rall's worldview seems a tad self-centered.

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