Tom Spurgeon's Web site of comics news, reviews, interviews and commentary

May 6, 2016

Rick Friday: Man Of The Hour, Cartoonist Of The Week


The Columbia Journalism Review -- the magazine most likely to be on the back of my Dad's toilet from 1974-1980 -- has a piece up on cartoonist Rick Friday being fired from a rural Iowa publication called Farm News after a late-April offering, reprinted above in the spirit of more people seeing a suppressed cartoon than would have ever seen it had it been left alone, brought an advertiser complaint followed by Friday's abrupt firing.

Friday self-announced the news through social media and it was borne through those currents through the first part of this week. I started to get e-mails on Tuesday. NYT ran a piece Thursday.

This most recent round of pieces note the ownership profile of Farm News, which goes to the one of the family conglomerates, Ogden Newspapers of Wheeling, West Virginia. I suppose the pressures would be similar no matter the exact type of owner involved, with ownership closer to local likely to sacrifice wider corporate concerns but feel the departure of a single advertiser in a more severe way.

The notion that an expression of a political point of view as journalistic commentary should be punished by those with a dissenting opinion is a development of the commercialization of political opinion crossed Island Of Dr. Moreau style with the hyper-commercialization of the newspaper business. That's a tangled mess with some dire consequences for what remains of mainstream editorial cartooning. I'm already worried that a story like this one comes with a shrugged-shoulder ending, no matter how much we might be horrified by the longterm implications.
posted 12:25 am PST | Permalink

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