Tony Perkins / March 10, 2021

Political Correctness Run a Duck

The banning of Mallard Fillmore in newspapers across the country is showing everyone where the liberal quack down might lead.

Cartoonists ought to be mocking the cancel culture — not becoming victims of it! Apparently, not only is the mob overbearing and hypocritical, but humorless too. They’ve turned their corporate guns on everything from the gender-insensitive Mr. Potato Head to Pepe Le Pew, a Looney Tunes skunk the New York Times accuses of “normalizing rape culture.” (What’s next? A #MeToon hashtag?) Now, 27 years into a comic strip about a fictional duck, the banning of Mallard Fillmore in newspapers across the country is showing everyone where the liberal quack down might lead.

“I’ve thought a million times, ‘This is it,’” cartoonist Bruce Tinsley said. But of all the comic strips he thought he’d be blacklisted for, this wasn’t the one. “You know,” he explained on “Washington Watch,” “I don’t understand. It was just over two cartoons.” One was about the Equality Act and another about girls’ sports. Neither of them “attack[ed] transgender people in any way,” he assured listeners, “but it did support a woman’s right to compete only with other biological women in sports. And to me, it’s just a matter of fairness.”

But “fairness” wasn’t on the minds of executives at Gannett. “The president of my syndicate, King Features, and my editor both said they’d never seen it before — because what happened was that I was canceled at the corporate level. They went over the heads of all the local newspaper editors all over the country from Florida to California to everything in between and didn’t even give their editors or publishers a say. They said, ‘We’re canceling Mallard Fillmore immediately.’” Honestly, Bruce said, no one knows what’s going on — only that “the current cancel culture climate is really scary.” And 64 percent of his country agrees.

Look, he said, “I’ve worked in newsrooms all my life. And there was a time — and I’m sure you probably remember it — when [liberals] really encouraged debate, even if they were against your position. Debate and discussion were [even] encouraged in colleges and in the media. And it seems like all of that is suddenly changing in a really frightening way.” Right before Bruce came on Monday’s show, he got a call from another editorial cartoonist for Creators Syndicate. “Guess what?” the voice at the other end of the line said. “I’m in the same boat. I just got canceled in 13 newspapers.” “It’s frightening,” Bruce said, shaking his head, “for the future of our country and [free speech].”

And just when people think the world might be coming to its senses, something else happens. This week, it was Pepe Le Pew and Speedy Gonzales. Last week, it was Dr. Seuss. The week before that, Hasbro tried to say that a male and female potatoes were “too limiting.” (Then, after the uproar, thought better of it.) “No one asked Hasbro to weigh in on the issues of gender identity, just as no one really wants Jimmy Dean sausage to tell us where they stand on Peruvian labor conditions,” James Lileks argued on NRO. But look at where those corporate politics have gotten us. Americans are logging on to their Twitter feeds to see Oreos and Nilla Wafers fighting over who loves transgenderism more. These are cookies, for crying out loud! Big Business can’t even advertise snacks in this country without bowing to the cultural extremists.

It’s no wonder, Bruce said, that his email and social media are full of “a whole lot of people who are really fed up with it.” The problem is, he explains, “They’re just average readers and college students — just regular old people like my audience has always been. And all the power seems to be concentrated within these big corporations.” Like him, they don’t think there’s much hope for dialogue in this country if we can’t even laugh at ourselves. Dropping Mallard Fillmore wasn’t about being inclusive or sensitive or striking a more unified tone. This was about silencing a conservative perspective and any criticism — however legitimate — of this president.

And readers like Indiana’s Anita Sewall aren’t happy about it. “Every day,” she wrote in a letter to her editor, “I think that this newspaper [the Indianapolis Star] was not published for someone like me. Every day, I think, ‘Is it worth the money?’ … With the cancellation of the ‘Mallard Fillmore’ comic strip, you have completely stilled any conservative voice in your publication — and in the process you have answered my question: No, it isn’t worth the money.”

Others, like Florida’s Jerry Saylor, told his Sarasota paper, “Since Gannett acquired the Herald-Tribune, the Leftward drift of the newspaper has continued unabated. The announcement Feb. 24 that the ‘Mallard Fillmore’ comic strip will be discontinued, while ‘Doonesbury’ remains, confirms the trend. Why you wish to alienate your readership only you understand.”

It will take more vocal people like that, Bruce agrees, to put an end to this insanity. Americans have to stand up and be counted. “I appreciate readers writing their papers who take [Mallard Fillmore] out and [supporting] the strip and other conservative materials in papers that still carry it.” If these companies won’t listen to conservative voices, they’ll listen to conservative dollars. And the more Americans move their subscriptions to outlets who believe in free speech, the sooner the mob will get the message.

Originally published here.

This is a publication of the Family Research Council. Mr. Perkins is president of FRC.

Start a conversation using these share links:

Who We Are

The Patriot Post is a highly acclaimed weekday digest of news analysis, policy and opinion written from the heartland — as opposed to the MSM’s ubiquitous Beltway echo chambers — for grassroots leaders nationwide. More

What We Offer

On the Web

We provide solid conservative perspective on the most important issues, including analysis, opinion columns, headline summaries, memes, cartoons and much more.

Via Email

Choose our full-length Digest or our quick-reading Snapshot for a summary of important news. We also offer Cartoons & Memes on Monday and Alexander’s column on Wednesday.

Our Mission

The Patriot Post is steadfast in our mission to extend the endowment of Liberty to the next generation by advocating for individual rights and responsibilities, supporting the restoration of constitutional limits on government and the judiciary, and promoting free enterprise, national defense and traditional American values. We are a rock-solid conservative touchstone for the expanding ranks of grassroots Americans Patriots from all walks of life. Our mission and operation budgets are not financed by any political or special interest groups, and to protect our editorial integrity, we accept no advertising. We are sustained solely by you. Please support The Patriot Fund today!


“Our cause is noble; it is the cause of mankind!” —George Washington

The Patriot Post is protected speech, as enumerated in the First Amendment and enforced by the Second Amendment of the Constitution of the United States of America, in accordance with the endowed and unalienable Rights of All Mankind.

Copyright © 2022 The Patriot Post. All Rights Reserved.

The Patriot Post does not support Internet Explorer. We recommend installing the latest version of Microsoft Edge, Mozilla Firefox, or Google Chrome.