March 18, 2021

Cartoonists are Canceled, Charlie

The “fact-checkers” come for satirical cartoons that hammer a leftist shiboleth.

On January 7, 2015, armed assailants attacked the far-left (and famously irreverent) Charlie Hebdo satirical newspaper in Paris, France. By the time they were finished shooting, 12 were dead, 11 were injured, and the world was rightly horrified. The jihadist murderers’ motive? They didn’t like cartoonists making certain cartoons and exercising their right to free speech (an “Essential Freedom,” according to the French Constitution).

On January 11, 2015, more than a million people and dozens of world leaders gathered for a rally of national unity, where the slogan “Je suis Charlie” (translated to “I am Charlie”) became an international cry of solidarity supporting freedom of speech — a fundamental right long honored by Western civilization. Political and cultural satire, as it were, was upheld as a protected and cherished practice, and its purveyors hailed as martyrs slain for the cause.

Cue 2021 — the world has changed. Where once we only worried about extremists threatening the free exercise of Liberty, now it’s an establishment practice conducted by Big Tech and the New Media. There may not be guns involved, but if the pen is mightier than the sword, one can only conclude the situation is significantly more dire.

On March 8, 2021, we posted a cartoon from one of our syndicated cartoonists, Gary Varvel. Two days later, it was labeled as “Mostly False” by independent “fact-checker” PolitiFact and our page was punished (again) for sharing “false information.” The cartoon was “missing context” and did not technically toe the line for the leftist version of the truth about the Democrats’ tyrannical HR 1 legislation. The sentiment surrounding the well-known push by Democrats to manufacture new voting blocs (among other things) was essentially ignored. The whole point of the hyperbolically humorous cartoon was lost on the humorless wokescolds. In its place, an increasingly common tactic of nitpicking “facts” here and there was used to discredit the intention of the cartoon — which was to analytically mock the intentions of a political party and not literal features of the bill.

Varvel wasn’t trying to say that these are the provisions in the bill, or that Nancy Pelosi is literally handing out ballots to illegal 16-year-olds. He was trying to say that Democrats are after letting kids and illegals vote.

But it doesn’t matter that, à la Charlie Hebdo, editorial cartoons are meant to be satirical commentary on politics and society. Satirical cartoons, once hailed as sacred by the Left, have now become the next prime candidates for cancellation. The Left will stop at nothing to ruin humor.

Well, conservative humor anyway. Also in 2015, PoltiFact “fact-checked” a Tom Toles cartoon about female wages that was based on false information. He still got a “Mostly True” rating. In 1989, Toles won a Pulitzer Prize for a cartoon including language that “technically” isn’t in the First Amendment. So there’s that.

For leftist “fact-checkers,” it’s not really about the truth, of course. It’s about using their power to squelch conservative thought.

Cartoons are not policy papers — they are cartoons. So much for opinion journalism.

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