I subscribe to the Counterpoint email. Counterpoint is a cartoon service that offers cartoons representing both sides of an argument. Sounds good, right? Except that oftentimes, the counterpoint to the “liberal” argument has to be a lie based on a conspiracy theory, which is what they offer with cartoons by Gary Varvel and Dick Wright (two religious fundamentalist yee-haw fuckers who ignore the commandment “thou shall not lie”). Counterpoint also shares a distinction with Russian state media as both commission cartoons from Sputnik Boy Ted Rall, who Putin pays to support his illegal war on Ukraine with lies and gaslighting. Or often, the “conservative” viewpoint has to misconstrue the issue, as though the right-wing cartoonist doesn’t really know what he’s talking about. I saw that this morning from Scott Stantis.
I don’t have a personal beef with Scott. I’ve always liked him and he’s a great cartoonist. We used to talk years ago so he’s not a goose-stepping talking point kinda guy. We debated the invasion of Iraq before it began with me being opposed and Scott being in favor. While most Republicans at that time refused to admit the invasion was an obvious failure and tried to change the reasons for it after weapons of mass destruction weren’t found, Scott wasn’t one of them. He changed his views on it. He’s a smart guy who I believe doesn’t constrict himself with political labels. He never supported Trump’s election lies or helped spread misinformation about the coronavirus and the vaccines like so many others who call themselves “conservative.” He’s criticized Trump for the January 6 insurrection. That’s why I found his cartoon in today’s Counterpoint email puzzling because I don’t expect such dishonesty to come from Scott.
In Scott’s cartoon, he has a donkey (representing the Democratic Party) holding Trump’s head while saying, “Dammit Facebook (he didn’t include a comma)! I demand my freedom FROM speech back.” Accompanying the cartoon, Scott wrote, “Our precious freedom of speech extends to all and doesn’t have to conform precious sensitivities. The blathering of a buffoon should enjoy the same equal treatment as anyone else. Period.”
Did you catch the trick Scott implemented there? If not, let me point it out.
Scott’s argument is that Donald Trump has the same right to free speech as the rest of us. Scott is right. Donald Trump is a “blathering buffoon” and does have the same constitutional right to free speech as the rest of us. The only problem is, that’s not the issue.
It’s not just basing opinions on lies and conspiracy theories that I hate about the yee-haw cartoonists. I also can’t stand that they so often draw cartoons on issues they don’t understand. Research, goddammit! It begs the question: Do you not understand the issue or are you lying?
First off, social media platforms are not government platforms. Losing your social media account has nothing to do with free speech, yet even the goon who owns one, Elon Musk, doesn’t understand that. If I own a webpage for music fans to discuss music and deleted comments that praised Nickelback, Linkin Park, and Train, you can argue that I’m not being fair but you’d have a losing court battle over free speech. It’s my platform. You do not have a constitutional right to worship the Black Eye Peas on my private platform.
Even when social media accounts suspend me for 30 days, I have a gripe but I don’t have a court case. You have a constitutional right to your opinion, even if your opinion is that “Get it Started” by the Black Eye Peas and pineapple pizza are the two greatest things ever, you don’t have a constitutional right to tweet it. And you really shouldn’t tweet that. Really.
But even if Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram were government platforms, using them to coordinate terrorist attacks by white nationalist MAGA goons is not free speech.
You do NOT have a constitutional right to organize an insurrection.
In addition to gaslighting about free speech, Scott also misrepresented our complaints about Donald Trump’s Facebook and Instagram accounts being reinstated by Meta (the company that owns them). This morning, a MAGAt replied to my 30-second video for my CNN cartoon on this issue saying that we could simply block Donald Trump to spare us from seeing his tweets. He then called the left “morons.”
You know they have a losing argument when they have to misconstrue and lie about our position.
We don’t care about Trump’s opinions. He has a constitutional right to each and every single one of his racist opinions. It doesn’t hurt our sensibilities when he tweets how he and Putin are geniuses. Whatever, Bozo. What concerns us is him using social media platforms to create another terrorist attack against our government in order to install himself as a dictator. Trump is free to share his belief that Chachi, James Woods, and Kevin Sorbo are all better actors than DeNiro, but he’s not free to send white nationalist MAGAts to destroy our democracy.
It doesn’t matter if you block Donald Trump on social media or even if you’re not on social media. You will still be affected by the fascist takeover.
Isn’t it funny that the only people who support Donald Trump being able to return to social media and lie his tiny mango balls off are other liars?
Opinion journalists are paid to understand the issues they cover, and they shouldn’t lie about them. Frankly, I think media outlets need to stop paying right-wing journalists to lie and spread misinformation…and that includes cartoonists.
Creative note: I’m allowed to draw two cartoons on the same issue. But my newspaper clients can’t use my cartoon for CNN Opinion on this issue, but I know a lot of them would have used it. So I created another for them to use. This is it. And I bet a person exists who was suspended by Meta for hating on pineapple pizza.
Signed prints: The signed prints are just $40.00 each. Every cartoon on this site is available. You can pay through PayPal. If you don’t like PayPal, you can snail mail it to Clay Jones, P.O. Box 3721, Fredericksburg, VA 22402. I can mail the prints directly to you or if you’re purchasing as a gift, directly to the person you’re gifting.
Notes on my book, Tales From The Trumpster Fire: There are 19 copies of my book in stock, which go for $45.00 each, signed. Also, I have copies of my first book from 1997, Knee-Deep in Mississippi available for $20.00.
Tip Jar: if you want to support the cartoonist, please send a donation through PayPal to email@example.com. You can also snail it to P.O. Box 3721, Fredericksburg, VA 22402.
Watch me draw:
I subscribe to Counterpoint as well as check in with FOX news regularly to stay up with what people outside my tribe are ranting about. Stantis deserved your wrath for his cartoon today. It was unfunny and inaccurate, and someone with his smarts should know better.
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I, too, saw that Stantis cartoon and was surprised and appalled. According to him, bullies have a perfect right to harass others, and to coerce their peers to harass them — kids, office mates, in person or online. And then there’s inciting ….
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I absolutely and totally agree… “Opinion journalists are paid to understand the issues they cover, and they shouldn’t lie about them. Frankly, I think media outlets need to stop paying right-wing journalists to lie and spread misinformation…and that includes cartoonists.”
But I would press a little harder on the ownership issue. By that I mean a media source being able to extricate commentary they do not approve. Yea their right to make those decisions as in your musky example points to something else never discussed a power imbalance regarding what free speech it. Mango Mussolini being back on the metas is all about the money. Meta can lift it’s bottom line as many have shown the last couple of days. It is looking like Bezos the barbarian might let the WaPo go. Will the next owner or group of owners throw people to the cartoon curb because whatever pronoun they may be do not agree with the new owners owner politics ? Plenty of examples of that happening. So we are dealing with the workers right to speak as well as the readers right to comment. A somewhat parallel issues in terms of owners rights got attention here in Mn at the MOA awhile back. The Mall tried to pull off preventing a protest over a cop shooting of a kid which you likely know about over the issue of private property. The commercial behemoth did not quite pull it off but they tried. And some plantation crapitalist will likely try again. My point being to sort of quote my congressperson but not using her exact words but the words intent it is all about who has the biggest larder. Ya sorry I am preaching to the choir. But I had to clear my head.
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