The New Blacklist – Criticizing Obama From The Left

It has finally come to this. The controversial and sometimes deplorable Ted Rall is speaking out about being black balled (can I say that? Is it racist? Too much, Mr. Matthews?) for attacking Obama with the same intensity he had for Bush.

This is a “read the whole thing” article, but here are some of the juicy bits:

In the late 1990s my cartoons ran in Time, Fortune and Bloomberg Personal magazines and over 100 daily and alternative weekly newspapers. I was a staff writer for two major magazines.

Then Bush came in. And 9/11 happened.

The media gorged on an orgy of psychotic right-wing rhetoric. Flags everywhere. Torture suddenly OK. In a nation where mainstream political discourse was redefined between Dick Cheney on the right and libertarian Bill Maher on the not-as-right, there wasn’t any room in the paper for a left-of-center cartoonist. My business was savaged. Income plunged.

McCarthyism–blackballing–made a big comeback. I had been drawing a monthly comic strip, “The Testosterone Diaries,” for Men’s Health. No politics. It was about guy stuff: dating, job insecurity, prostate tests, that sort of thing. They fired me. Not because of anything I drew for them. It was because of my syndicated editorial cartoons, which attacked Bush and his policies. The publisher worried about pissing off right-wingers during a period of nationalism on steroids.

Desperate and going broke, I called an editor who’d given me lots of work at the magazines he ran during the 1990s. “Sorry, dude, I can’t help,” he replied. “You’re radioactive.”

I don’t agree that a great national tide moved the media rightward , but Rall’s point is that post-9/11 he became too toxic for mainstream publications.

And here’s where it gets ugly

It was tempting, when Obama’s Democrats swept into office in 2008, to think that the bad old days were coming to an end. I wasn’t looking for any favors, just a swing of the political pendulum back to the Clinton years when it was still OK to be a liberal.

I didn’t count on the cult of personality around Barack Obama.

It feels a little weird to write this, like I’m telling tales out of school and ratting out the Vast Left-Wing Conspiracy. But it’s true: there’s less room for a leftie during the Age of Obama than there was under Bush.

I didn’t realize how besotted progressives were by Mr. Hopey Changey.

Sure this is nothing a reader of right-of-center bloggers would call new information. But we’re hearing this from Ted Freakin’ Rall!

I appreciate political humor and especially cartoons (check out the sidebar link to Pookies cartoons if you need proof) and have thought Rall to be at the very least honest and consistent and damned funny at his best.

All that to say, I share his disgust and amazement that there is a concerted media effort to build a temple around Obama. For crying out loud, if he can’t mock Obama, one cannot be surprised that no one gets a fair chance to criticize the One.


I was merciless to Obama. I was cruel in my criticisms of Obama’s sellouts to the right. In my writings and drawings I tried to tell it as it was, or anyway, as I saw it. I thought–still think–that’s my job. I’m a critic, not a suck-up. The Obama Administration doesn’t need journalists or pundits to carry its water. That’s what press secretaries and PR flacks are for.

Other censors are brazen.

Now there’ s a new cause for refusal: Too tough on the president.

I’ve heard that from enough “liberal” websites and print publications to consider it a significant trend.

A sample of recent rejections, each from editors at different left-of-center media outlets:

· “I am familiar with and enjoy your cartoons. However the readers of our site would not be comfortable with your (admittedly on point) criticism of Obama.”

· “Don’t be such a hater on O and we could use your stuff. Can’t you focus more on the GOP?”

· “Our first African-American president deserves a chance to clean up Bush’s mess without being attacked by us.”

I have many more like that.

What’s weird is that these cultish attitudes come from editors and publishers whose politics line up neatly with mine. They oppose the bailouts. They want us out of Afghanistan and Iraq. They disapprove of Obama’s new war against Libya. They want Obama to renounce torture and Guantánamo.

Rall concludes with this gem:

“So what should I think about [the war in Libya]?,” asks Kevin Drum in Mother Jones. “If it had been my call, I wouldn’t have gone into Libya. But the reason I voted for Obama in 2008 is because I trust his judgment. And not in any merely abstract way, either: I mean that if he and I were in a room and disagreed about some issue on which I had any doubt at all, I’d literally trust his judgment over my own. I think he’s smarter than me, better informed, better able to understand the consequences of his actions, and more farsighted.”

Can you image (you probably don’t have to, but I’m too lazy to Google for it), what this journalist had to say about Bush’s judgement on, oh I don’t know, going into Iraq? Equivalent executive actions, 150% different reaction from someone who chose supposedly to bring their intelligence and reason to the public forum.

Maybe, doubtfully but said with sincere hope, Mr. Rall will find that he has been mugged by reality and that liberalism left him.


  1. Rall hasn’t even come close to discovering it all, yet. He should take a hard look at ALL of Obamacare. Why 58 committees and commissions? Why 3.8% sales tax when one sells a home? Because it’s there! THEY can do it! His “man of judgement” whammy’blammy Obammy!

    Maybe he should stop drawing political cartoons and get a job working on an oil derrick. He might discover something practical about America. Rather than continue to live in the fever swamp of left wing politics as an ingrate in an ingrate’s land.

  2. Ted hates capitalism. Hey, moron, that’s how you make a living.
    And no one wants to buy your stuff anymore.
    That’s how it works, you idiot.
    I agree with Bodell: Go get a job on an oil derrick so you actually understand how things WORK in this country.
    There’s no “blacklist” on you, Ted.
    Most people don’t know who you are or give a shit who you THINK you are.

  3. I’m good with Rall sitting over in the corner of his dingy apartment, clasping his hands together, wondering what happened to the utopia he was promised and why nobody wants his crap. The only thing that’s changed is that his gravy train has dried up. Or maybe he grew a conscience. Either way, what goes around comes around.

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