About a year ago, Daily Kos began running cartoons. To their credit, they paid a modest fee for them. Many alternative political cartoonists were invited; I was not.
At the time, the owner of the blog mentioned as an aside that I would be welcome, like anyone else, to post to Daily Kos. A few weeks ago, I decided to take him up on that.
Why did I post here for free? To access readers, many of whom would enjoy my work if they saw it. It was an experiment.
The experiment ended this morning. When I went to log on, I received the above message. I clicked the acknowledgement.
Which marks the end of my experiment posting to Daily Kos. I might consider altering the way I draw a political figure for a paying client. A very high-paying client. Someone who employed me full-time.
I'm sure not going to alter my drawing style for $0.00 money.
Obviously, this is no biggie. Nothing gained, nothing lost. Given the reflexive pro-Obama/pro-DNC politics of the blog and its owner, it was probably inevitable that they'd do this. It was crafty of them to choose the Thanksgiving holiday weekend to ban me. Fewer people will be around to notice or care.
This act of censorship is notable for several reasons, however:
1. This "liberal" blog has slammed me with the most severe act of censorship of my career. Since I began syndication in 1991, I have had individual cartoons killed. I have been fired, sometimes unjustly (like in 2004, when Men's Health discontinued my apolitical cartoons about sex and relationships because I opposed Bush and his wars in my political work, which they did not run). I have been kept out of publications where my work obviously belonged.
But this tops them all.
Daily Kos wasn't paying for my work. To the contrary. My cartoons were routinely among the list of High Impact Posts that elicit a lot of discussion. If you read them, you'll see that a cadre of militant Obama defenders was determined to drive me away, and they succeeded.
This is what the Democratic Party has come to: so unable to face criticism, whether from left or right, that they stifle opposing voices.
2. Despite the politics of the pro-Obama forces, there remain many liberals and progressives who remain Democrats. I encountered hundreds of them on Daily Kos. They enjoy(ed) my work. I will miss interacting with them. Fortunately, the Internet allows them to find my work in many other places, including my blog.
3. The grounds for censoring my cartoons from the site — my drawing style — are beneath contempt. Anyone familiar with me and my work knows I'm not racist. My criticisms of the president are unrelated to his race, and to say otherwise in the absence of evidence is disgusting. It should be noted that my editors at a variety of American newspapers, magazines and websites, almost all of whom are left of center politically, some of whom are black and many of whom voted for Obama, have never expressed the slightest concern about the way I draw the president.
Here is the discussion at Daily Kos, which includes a deluge of comments accusing me of drawing Obama in a racist way.
Everything is context. It is clear that many of these posters were previously unfamiliar with my work or, for that matter, with editorial cartoons. This is not surprising. Political cartoons have been pushed out of newspapers and magazines since 9/11. Many readers under 30 never see any. Still, I have a long track record. My flaws are out there for everyone to see, but racism is not one of them.
Goodbye, everyone. It's been an interesting visit. Happy Thanksgiving!