It is common knowledge that ads placed by large corporations make up a large part of the revenue of major printed, online, and television publications. And that has some serious consequences.
A veteran cartoonist from a newspaper publication gets fired after one single reader from a big company called his work offensive.
Rick Friday, 56, lost his job as a cartoonist after the cartoon he created got him into trouble.The cartoon features two farmers, in overalls and skewed baseball caps, talking to each other at a fence.
“I wish there was more profit in farming,” one farmer said.
“There is. In year 2015 the C.E.O.s of Monsanto, DuPont Pioneer and John Deere combined made more money than 2,129 Iowa farmers,” the other replied.
After the cartoon was published, Friday said he was informed in an email from an editor that the cartoon he created would be his last for Farm News because a seed company had withdrawn its advertising in protest to what the cartoon implied.
Friday is a self-taught artist who picked up a No. 2 pencil when he was still a child living on a 300-acre livestock and grains farm in Lorimor, Iowa. During his childhood, he sold sketches to other children on the school bus in exchange for a nickel or a dime.
In a Facebook post, Friday published how he felt about the whole incident.
“Again, I fall hard in the best interest of large corporations. I am no longer the Editorial Cartoonist for Farm News due to the attached cartoon which was published yesterday. Apparently a large company affiliated with one of the corporations mentioned in the cartoon was insulted and cancelled their advertisement with the paper, thus, resulting in the reprimand of my editor and cancellation of It’s Friday cartoons after 21 years of service and over 1090 published cartoons to over 24,000 households per week in 33 counties of Iowa.
I did my research and only submitted the facts in my cartoon.
That’s okay, hopefully my children and my grandchildren will see that this last cartoon published by Farm News out of Fort Dodge, Iowa, will shine light on how fragile our rights to free speech and free press really are in the country.”
The backlash at this treachery was massive…..and effective!
Monsanto Mocking Cartoonist Rick Friday Rehired By Farm News
U.S. cartoonist Rick Friday — who was fired in April after publishing a cartoon criticizing his paper’s advertisers — has been rehired by Iowa-based Farm News. On July 2, Friday wrote on his Facebook page: “After 60 days, Farm News has offered me an agreement to return, as with an apology. Both of which I have accepted and returned to submitting cartoons . . . By returning to Farm News this gives a strong statement to all who tried to censor the truth and that the voices of many people were heard. I encourage a correlation of rural and urban fellowship to better understand each other’s world, we owe this partnership to our future. I respect opinions and diversity and understand that in order to survive we each must make the best choices environmentally and economically. Most importantly we must be nice to one another . . . Thank you, everyone, for sharing your voice and support and I look forward to continuing the push to preserve our family farms.”
The cartoon that got Friday fired compared farmers’ earnings to CEO salaries at seed companies Monsanto and DuPont and tractor maker John Deere. At the time of his termination, Friday wrote: “Apparently a large company affiliated with one of the corporations mentioned in the cartoon was insulted and cancelled their advertisement with the paper, thus, resulting in the reprimand of my editor and cancellation of It’s Friday cartoons after 21 years of service and over 1090 published cartoons to over 24,000 households per week in 33 counties of Iowa. I did my research and only submitted the facts in my cartoon.”
Friday’s termination was reported by The New York Times and the Columbia Journalism Review, and he received notes of support from “Spain, Canada, Mexico, Netherlands, Switzerland, Hong Kong, Japan, Russia, Ukraine, Africa, Argentine, Poland and Holland.”
In an interview with CRNI after he was rehired, Friday said, “They [Farm News] did not give a reason they wanted me back, only a sincere apology and that it was a mistake. The apology did come from the publisher. No apologies from anyone else. . . There are absolutely no guidelines in the contract as to [cartoon] subjects or themes.”
Friday’s advice to other cartoonists: “Once you get your work past the editor you have it in the bag. Document everything and push to the limits.”
Always remember this: The First Amendment of the U S Constitution may promise freedom of speech and the press, but unless the people stand up and DEMAND it when it is threatened either by government officials or corporations, YOU MAY ACTUALLY LOSE YOUR RIGHTS!
With so many media outlets in the USA controlled by giant corporations, that is indeed a serious concern.