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I Am a Victim of Republican Cancel Culture
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The debate over cancel culture centers around how the Democratic Party, “woke” activists and politically correct “social justice warriors” expel people from social acceptability or force them into joblessness because something they said or did provoked an online mob.

But Republicans have been canceling people for much longer.

I am living proof.

My career grew to national prominence during the 1990s. By the time Bill Clinton left office, my cartoons and columns regularly appeared in well over 100 American newspapers and such magazines as Time, Fortune and Bloomberg. My editor at The New York Times added up the paychecks and calculated that his newspaper had published more cartoons by yours truly than by any other artist throughout the decade. I had a talk show on KFI radio, a 50,000-watt megastation in Los Angeles. I won major journalism awards including two Robert F. Kennedy awards and a finalist spot for the Pulitzer Prize.

Because my cartoons and columns criticized Bill Clinton and the Democrats, the right-wing censorship squads let me be. They didn’t notice that I attacked Democrats from the left. My editor at the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, a notorious right-wing rag then owned by conservative billionaire Richard Mellon Scaife, loved my stuff, even though I raged against NAFTA. “You sure know how to stick it to Bill and Hillary!” he beamed. Mhmm.

I didn’t change my politics or my style after George W. Bush became president. After 9/11, however, I went after Republicans because they were in power. So right-wing cancel culture goons targeted me for elimination.

My website contained a list of newspapers that ran my cartoons. GOP chatrooms and so-called warbloggers reproduced my client list, urging Republicans from around the country to pose as angry local subscribers. Fake subscribers demanded that my work be canceled via cut-and-paste complaint email forms the bloggers and their bots helpfully provided. I took my client list offline after my cartoon syndicate figured out their scheme. But many naive editors kowtowed to the fake readers and canceled me.

Corporate cancel culture was relatively cold, ruthless and willing to overlook the profit motive in order to promote right-wing propaganda. Radio insiders said that high ratings guaranteed your freedom of expression. Despite my strong ratings, however, I was fired after KFI got acquired by Clear Channel Communications, the right-wing home of Rush Limbaugh. My replacement was unpopular; they didn’t mind.

Even liberal media outlets gave in to campaigns orchestrated by the extreme right. Yielding to a chorus of outrage ginned up by Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly and Sean Hannity over a cartoon in which I lampooned the marketing of the war on terror, The New York Times dropped me in 2002.

In 2004, it was The Washington Post’s turn to throw me to the braying Republican hounds.

Throughout the Bush years, my income shrank. No radio station would have me. I was no longer shortlisted for journalism prizes. It became increasingly difficult to get published. I received fewer invitations to speak in public.

ORDER IT NOW

You can easily check it out yourself, or you can take my word for it — it’s not like my work got worse. I write better now. I draw better. I speak better than I used to. What changed was that gatekeepers at American media outlets became gun-shy. They would rather publish bland material that doesn’t elicit a response than a strong opinion that generates controversy. Who can blame them? Right-wing cancel warriors, no longer content to get leftie content banned, harass and threaten editors who run it.

No account of a cartoonist’s shrinking client list over the past 20 years would be complete without noting the financial meltdown of print media in general, brutal budget cuts and a widespread practice of laying off the cartoonist first. That goes double for left-leaning commentators who have found themselves out in the cold as the 50-yard line of American politics steadily moved to the right under Republican and Democratic administrations alike.

The same thing happened on TV. ABC canceled Bill Maher; MSNBC fired Phil Donahue, Keith Olbermann and Ed Schultz, obviously for all being too liberal.

Everyone in the media has suffered. But right-wing cancel culture accelerated both of those trends.

I have adjusted to the new media landscape. It’s tough going, but I still have a viable career.

But don’t let anyone think Republican cancel culture isn’t a thing. It is.

And it has won.

Even though there are more socialist voters than either Democrats or Republicans, the left is out in the cold. Thirty-nine percent of American voters prefer socialism to capitalism. Sen. Bernie Sanders’ approval rating is 49%, which is 10 points higher than that of Joe Biden or Vice President Kamala Harris. Yet it’s doubtless any newspaper in the United States employs a columnist or a cartoonist who endorsed Sanders or admits to being a socialist. It’s also doubtless any cable news network employs such a host or frequent contributor. This is not normal or OK. A nation with a vibrant and free news media represents a diversity of opinion. In this respect, American news outlets are more rigidly censored than those of authoritarian regimes with state-controlled media.

I oppose left-wing cancel culture. I spoke out against liberal boycotts of companies that advertised on Rush Limbaugh’s and Dr. Laura Schlessinger’s shows. Censorship is toxic whether it comes from the left or the right.

Mostly, though, it comes from the right, and liberals go along with it.

 
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  1. Jmaie says:

    Schultz was cancelled because he was unable to transition from radio to TV, Olbermann because he is stark raving insane.

  2. “ What changed was that gatekeepers at American media outlets became gun-shy. They would rather publish bland material that doesn’t elicit a response than a strong opinion that generates controversy.”

    That’s the moment when I realized I was reading satire, or alternate history. I don’t know who the author is but he is entirely disconnected from 21st century reality.

    • Agree: Sollipsist
    • LOL: El Dato
    • Replies: @El Dato
  3. Anon[172] • Disclaimer says:

    Over the past five-six decades editorial cartoonists have been overwhelmingly liberal. The few remaining political cartoonists still are.

    Jeff MacNelly, a rare conservative, died 20 years ago.

    You never held a staff position. You are a freelancer- a choice you made. The NYT et al owe you and all other freelancers just a paycheck. Nothing more.

    The taxpayers owe you- a free-lancing socialist- even less.

    Get a job.

  4. Republican cancel culture may have been a thing at one time and it was certainly as detestable as the left-wing variety, but it’s dead as the proverbial dodo now.

    • Agree: El Dato, brabantian
  5. meamjojo says:

    Life’s a bitch Rall and then you die. We all have our crosses to bear.

    How about adding a topical cartoon to your blog here. In fact, maybe you could reduce the whole column to a cartoon? Cartoons are what you do best and should stick with.

    • Agree: Macumazahn
  6. El Dato says:
    @Fozzy Bear

    “Controversial” in old times: “makes powerful assholes uncomfortable”

    “Controversial” now: Pavlovian keyword to to assemble a proletarian “liberal” mob to shield powerful assholes

  7. Biff says:

    The New York Times dropped me in 2002.

    You blame republicans for that?

    Agreed that the establishment does like to shut down and cancel dissent, but it is clearly the liberal left that goes to presentations/speeches(Usually at universities) to physically shut down speech they don’t like. I don’t see the right doing that very much at all.

  8. Ted Rall, you are just plain wrong about ‘censorship coming mostly from the Right’ … you are just projecting from your own bitter experience, evil as it was. Consider Herbert Marcuse’s 1965 ‘Repressive Tolerance’ etc … Censorship is a fracking leftist RELIGION.

    And regarding leftist hypocrisy, a significant denunciation of the fake ‘leftism’ of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez appears on the Trotskyite World Socialist Web Site, using the words of AOC herself, AOC praising Biden and denouncing more genuine socialists

    Her hypocrisy and that of fellow fake ‘socialists’ is traced to the work of Polish-USA Jew Max Schachtman (1904-72), mentor of Michael Harrington and USA ‘Democratic Socialists’, this duo even joining in USA imperialist Vietnam War propaganda.

    AOC & pals denounce the old Left, the Ted Rall types, as ‘class essentialists’, not Woke to more ‘key’ issues for cultural Marxists, such as multi-racial identity politics, which WSWS describes as “doling out privileged positions to corrupt representatives of various racial groups”, plus war-mongering imperialism masquerading as ‘human rights’.

    WSWS says AOC and pals are “gatekeepers of the bourgeois political left, channeling social opposition into the Democratic Party and placing its left opponents beyond the pale” – left opponents like Ted Rall, who faces his next bannings from the Left not the Right.

    • Replies: @Chris Moore
  9. BuelahMan says:

    I am no republican, but I cancelled this ignorant Marxist hack a long time ago.

    • Replies: @Begemot
  10. David says:

    Articles about how the author feels he’s been done wrong are almost always uninteresting and unpersuasive. If you have to dwell on your sense of injustice, include some examples so the reader can at least possibly persuade himself of the merits of your case. Possibly you simply ridiculed some internationalist projects and irritated a powerful ethnicity.

    • Replies: @Alfa158
  11. Ted,

    Your story is interesting and I learned some information I did not know before, because I first became acquainted with your work only after you had been “canceled,” when I noticed your stuff in all of the alternative weeklies that were found in many big cities all over the United States in the 2000’s. I lived in several large cities in the United States then after leaving my long-term home of San Francisco in 2002.

    You do, realize, don’t you, that the monopolization of radio by Clear Channel was achieved only due to Clinton, don’t you, Ted?

    Your experience appears to me to be the result of over-concentration in the media field by just a few. And yes, during the Bush years, those who were against the neo-con policies (e.g., The Dixie Chicks, you, Linda Ronstadt, even Crosby & Nash, etc..) were “canceled.”

    So, your point seems to be that because you and others were canceled in the 2000s by Neo-conservatives, that they are now the ones canceling people in the 2020s.

    Ted? Do you see how stupid that is? No. More: do you see how wrong you are? What’s going on now has nothing to do with conservatives.

    Ted, I am beginning to wonder if being canceled affected your brain. You do not seem to be able to think clearly. In fact, I will tell you that I used to read your strips a lot in the 2000s, and thought them pretty good, pretty smart. But now? Ted you took a wrong turn while in Cancelville back a few years ago.

    And you are still lost somewhere in there, Ted. It’s sad to see. You coulda been a contender.

    • Agree: meamjojo
  12. Alfa158 says:
    @David

    Ted seems like a nice guy and I like the populist and anti-war elements of his work, but his ideological conditioning makes him oblivious to what is right in front of his face. ABC, MSNBC, NYT, and all the other outlets who cancelled aren’t run by Republicans, they are run by (((Democrats))) and the Stupid Party has 0 influence with them.
    As soon as Ted came out against the Israeli approved War on Terror he was out, but he crimestops himself from thinking what really happened. In this post he even lays out exactly the evidence of why he was canceled, but can’t allow himself to put it all together.

  13. So you are saying that are your cartoons are too left-wing for mainstream media?

    Even if that were true I don’t see how Republicans would be to blame when they are the enemy of mainstream media.

    The same thing happened on TV. ABC canceled Bill Maher; MSNBC fired Phil Donahue, Keith Olbermann and Ed Schultz, obviously for all being too liberal.

    Even during his peak Bill Maher had that extra late night time slot. He is now on HBO and talks about cancel culture as a left-wing phenomenon. Keith Olbermann just isn’t that good at political commentary. He should have stuck with sports. His political rants are scatter brained and his rhetoric is over the top. His vendetta against the turkey hunter was completely insane:
    https://www.yahoo.com/entertainment/keith-olbermann-apologizes-turkey-hunter-urging-people-make-life-living-hell-170504752.html

    It’s true that liberals will often exclude the traditional left but that is the beast you helped create. Liberalism is a secular cult that has gone insane from race denial. Their extreme hypersensitivity and constant focus on race comes from liberals like you supporting their unfounded basis of race not existing and Whites somehow being to blame for everything. Instead of thoughtfully looking at what affects workers they run around like a headless monster trying to find THE RACIST that keeps thwarting utopia. You helped create this beast and now it has turned against you. Hang on while I get my tiny violin.

    • Agree: meamjojo
    • Replies: @Curmudgeon
  14. Chris Moore says: • Website
    @brabantian

    AOC & pals denounce the old Left, the Ted Rall types, as ‘class essentialists’, not Woke to more ‘key’ issues for cultural Marxists, such as multi-racial identity politics, which WSWS describes as “doling out privileged positions to corrupt representatives of various racial groups”, plus war-mongering imperialism masquerading as ‘human rights’. WSWS says AOC and pals are “gatekeepers of the bourgeois political left, channeling social opposition into the Democratic Party and placing its left opponents beyond the pale” – left opponents like Ted Rall, who faces his next bannings from the Left not the Right.

    The problem with WSWS is that it uses a vernacular and frame of reference invented by Jews. Jewry “invented” the “old Left” as well as the modern identity politic left that also serves its interests.

    Zionists did Bolshevism, Zionists did neoconservatism, Zionists did identity politics. You could call Ted Rall a bitter golem, as AOC and her pals will eventually end up as well. America has become a bitter golem state, aka an idiocracy.

    In fact, you could say the Jews themselves are golem to a bad idea hatched millennia ago: the idea of bloodline “choseness” and entitlement.

    The problem is, the human race has not yet figured out a better way to live. Maybe there isn’t a better way, and we’re all destined to die as bitter golem.

  15. @John Johnson

    Geez, all along I thought Bill Maher, Keith Olberman and Ed Schultz were cancelled because they were Bill Maher, Keith Olberman, and Ed Schultz being their smarmy selves.

  16. Ted Rall is not living in reality.
    Liberals and conservatives want free trade and open borders, i.e. cheap labor, i.e. a slave labor system for the 21st century.
    Liberals and conservatives want US global hegemony, i.e. permanent war in the middle east, eastern Europe, and Asia, i.e. war for profit for a handful of oligarchs.
    Liberals and conservatives want to eliminate the white working middle class because the white working middle class is the standard-bearer for majority rule, republican government, responsibility, family stability, personal self-discipline and the personal freedoms that go with it.
    Obama/Bush and Clinton/McCain are in complete agreement on these points.
    The “conservatives” who canceled Ted Rall in the 2000’s are exactly the same people as the “liberals” who are cancelling Trumpists today. Same people, same program.
    Progressives and the far Left are on the same page as the liberal/conservatives. Ocasio-Cortez and the gang of four are pro-slave trade, pro-empire, anti-middle class, anti-white, anti-responsibility, and anti-freedom.
    The only political group in America today that will be reasonably tolerant of dissent against their values is the old-fashioned American middle class, i.e. Trump deplorables. They show at least some respect for the 1st Amendment.

    • Agree: beavertales
  17. Begemot says:
    @BuelahMan

    Yet you are still coming back. That’s some cancellation.

    • Replies: @BuelahMan
  18. Possumman says:

    Hey Ted–you used to be FUNNY !

  19. Poor Ted Rall.

    Get’s canceled by all his leftist buddies but then blames it on Republicans.

    It seems Ted Rall is the poster boy for Cognitive Dissonance.

    Look up Cognitive Dissonance on Wikipedia and you’ll see a picture of Ted Rall.

    In fact he should star in his own production of Clueless in Seattle.

    • Agree: Bill Jones
  20. zimriel says:

    This post is true. When I was a neocon I too cheered the cancellation of Ted Rall. Having read Ted Rall here at Unz, I now see Ted Rall as a man of integrity and I regret this error. Although I was (am) a nobody commenter, this is no excuse for my conduct. I am sorry for the harm I helped cause.

  21. Oh just throw in with the populists already.

    Liberals have become obsessed with controlling dissenting views which is incongruent with political humor. The major newspaper have coalesced around promoting a single point of view and political cartoons are unnecessary in that context.

    Even if the Times or WaPo picked you up they probably don’t have the budget to pay you. This is partly why liberal journalists are so anxiety driven these days. Really not a safe career field to be in.

    Every few years there are budget cuts as the advertising pie can only be split so many ways.

    All independents and oddballs will eventually join with populists. They will have no choice.

    Liberals don’t tolerate dissent and conservatives are stuck on stupid.

    There will be room for a third way but not a fourth.

    • Agree: meamjojo
  22. fnn says:

    The same thing happened on TV. ABC canceled Bill Maher; MSNBC fired Phil Donahue, Keith Olbermann and Ed Schultz, obviously for all being too liberal.

    The current dominant left is tied closely to the Military-Industrial Complex. Remember NYT and New Yorker played key roles in agitation for the Iraq War. There are still a few antiwar leftists around but they seem to have little or no influence.

  23. polistra says:

    Newspapers have always promoted war. It’s their main job. If you’re genuinely antiwar, and not just antiwar when the wrong party is running the war, you shouldn’t even try to work for newspapers. Censorship has always been there. Real dissidents have always needed to find alternate ways of expression.

    Political cartoonists, like other “comedians”, have never been an important part of real expression, and have never made real philosophical or ideological points. Most of them are court jesters, mocking the peasants to please the aristocrats. Rall is the same.

  24. ruralguy says:

    I seriously doubt, Ted Rall, that the New York Times and Washington Post would drop you over right-wing pressure. Their dogmatically left writing indicates they do not listen to voices from the right.

    You were likely dropped by so many papers, because you have nothing to sell. Maybe, at one point in time, those left-wing papers thought your far-left views were interesting, but those dogmatic and intolerant views get old and dated. If you have nothing to sell, they will at first respond slowly to you, and then eventually do not respond to you at all, because you have nothing they want. Look at your comments on this site. Does your writing generate intense interest? No, it doesn’t. Sorry to be blunt, but I think you need a wake up call.

  25. BuelahMan says:
    @Begemot

    Take it up with Unz who keeps featuring this Marxist hack’s bogus posts. I see you love you some Rall. Ignorant Marxist hacks seem to clamor together.

  26. Whenever one starts to get bogged down in this kind of debate it helps to recall the distinction between tradcons versus bizcons. Tradcons were fundamentally all defeated by at the latest 1877. By this time the new bourgeois class had decisively displaced in the West those who earlier would have fought against Oliver Cromwell. Yet the new bourgeoisie became aware that social rumblings were occurring which could threaten their own position if they did not adopt a conservative guise. Hence bizconism was formed.

    The original spokesman for bizconism had been Edmund Burke. Burke was an Irish-born British liberal who supported the call for independence by the North American colonists. It can sound strange to think of Burke as a “conservative” in light of his background. But Burke had grown to maturity at a time when John Locke was ascendant over Oliver Cromwell and Burke was actually quite appalled by the violence of the French Revolution. Burke therefore felt compelled to device some form of conservative argument of a sort which the actual conservatives of the time would never have thought of.

    Burke’s thinking paved the way for Charles Darwin in much the same way that Karl Marx laid the ground for Stephen Gould. Burke simply postulated that there was actually a kind of natural evolution going on all the time and this led to the most appropriate changes. Burke then argued that revolution should be rejected because it disrupts a natural process of change and hence is counter-productive. Burke’s argument was sharp enough that even later revolutionary thinkers such as Marx and Engels found it important to clarify that revolution only occurs at times when the changes in the means of production are ready to bring it about. That is, they accepted that there were certain historical epochs when Burke would be correct in saying that revolution was pointless since the development of productive forces did not yet call for a revolution.

    The fact that so many conservatives eventually hailed Burke as a leading intellectual can be taken as a sign of how completely bankrupt the old conservativism of the 18th century really was. But bizcons embraced Burke enthusiastically while tradcons jumped on board the bizcon train. For the last 150 years bizcons have been guided the train while tradcons have periodically kvetched about where is the train really going. The gap between tradcon and bizcon has mushroomed out into the open within just the last 3 decades to a degree that was unthinkable during the Cold War.

    A lot of arguments which show up in the media and even on various alternate sites such as this can reflect confusion over tradcon versus bizcon. Tradcons themselves sow a lot of this confusion because a favorite old trick for arguing against things supported by bizcons which a tradcon does not like is to call it “Communist” or some such. Not surprisingly, there are some issues where Marx and Engels would have supported a position which might also be supported by bizcons but not by tradcons. This does not mean that the bizcon would really support the things which Marx and Engels called for in a general sense. It’s just that the transition from tradcon to bizcon fits into the broader flow of history which Marx and Engels envisioned.

    But with regards to the arguments which the author of this piece is making, he is basically saying “I got screwed by bizcons!” But then he also seems to retroactively think that some big bad tradcons may have victimized him. More likely is that a lot of tradcons acted as chumps while the bizcons were screwing him over (because that’s what tradcons usually do), but it is doubtful that any of the real initiatives against him came from tradcons.

  27. ccoffer says:

    What an insipid pile of bullshit. Republicans cancel people? How?

    What a self-righteous prick.

  28. Maybe Rall’s cartoons of era immediately after 9/11 had something to do with his downfall? Rall is lucky he wasn’t tarred and feathered.

  29. Ted Rall:
    “I Am a Victim of Republican Cancel Culture”

    Not so fast, Teddy boy.

    Let’s try that again:
    “I am an Alinskyite (Israel lobby) victim of neo-con (Israel lobby) cancel culture”

    FIFY.

  30. So you’re for open borders now because the woke left supports it? And if Sean Hannity and Rush Limbaugh are extreme right then what are the right on Unz? 🤡🤡🤡🤡🤡

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