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Just Another Weather Cartoon


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I’ll be honest. I used to do these kinds of crappy cartoons. In my case, it was a compromise with my editor. I’d do the anti-climate change cartoon and go home early, and the next day he had to leave me alone to do whatever I wanted. Of course, he didn’t know that but I kinda trained him that way. It was how I justified it to myself. Then something happened. I got bored.

I got bored with the way I was working. I spent the majority of my career trying to think like a political cartoonist which influenced me to race my cartooning colleagues to be the first with commonly used analogies, like sinking ships, mazes, Lucy holding the football, people going over cliffs and ledges. I decided to change the way I approached my job which meant I had to change the way I thought. I spent nearly twenty years training my brain to think like other cartoonists. From that point, I was going to train it to think differently. I’m still training it. That was around 2009. But it meant no more clichés and definitely no more cartoons I didn’t really believe in. The clichéd weather cartoons were gone.

I’m still bored. Not of my work but of the entire genre of crapping out clichés. I think the best political cartoons in history are being produced in this era, and by just a few cartoonists. The rest, meh. I’m just as tough on myself. At the end of the year when I have to go through every cartoon over the past 365 days, I end up cringing looking at my own work. Then I get bored with my work all over again.

The majority of cartoonists are still rushing to be the first with the lame cliché. Liberal cartoonists do it too. Over the past month, I’ve seen about a dozen cartoons each of Trump boxed in a wall and as Humpty Dumpty sitting on a wall. Several cartoonists have done both of those analogies. The worst part of all of this is that the newspaper industry supports this lazy tripe. If you look at any of the weekend roundups of the nation’s political cartoonists in The Washington Post, USA Today, or Politico, you will see the clichés every single time. Editors love them. I’m not really worried about pissing off those editors because they rarely run me anyway.

And as bad as liberal cartoonists can be about it, I find the conservative cartoonists much more egregious in this area.

There is not a conservative cartoonist who hasn’t drawn Elizabeth Warren in Native-American garb and at least 39 Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez cartoons since the election. They all got the Venezuela/socialism talking point. And of course, they all have to do the Climate-change-doesn’t-exist-because-it’s-cold-outside cartoons. They do those every year. You would think after thirty or forty years in the business they would understand there is a difference between climate and weather.

Sure, the president of the United States doesn’t understand the difference between climate and weather, but he also thinks wheels are older than walls. Here’s a tip; don’t get your talking points from a guy who doesn’t know the differences between “their,” “there,” and “they’re.” Don’t believe me? Go look at yesterday’s Trump tweets.

I’d like to say, at least these conservative cartoonists were able to take a day off from drawing about Ocasio-Cortez in order to draw their yearly anti-climate change cartoons except this morning, I’ve seen two that included her. Seriously.

Did I tell you I get bored with my industry?

Be Complicit

What kind of person would want to be part of something that disparages, slanders, and disrespects Dear Leader and his sycophantic followers? Hopefully, you. 
Making a contribution supports my work and keeps the cartoons, columns, and videos coming. My income is from newspapers that subscribe to my work and small contributors. George Soros hasn’t sent me a million dollar check in weeks. Making a contribution of any amount, or buying a print for $40.00, makes you part of this specific resistance, and a member of Team Claytoonz (we’re still working on the name). You are complicit, an accomplice, and in cahoots (and whatever gangster terms we can think of) with this political satire pointing out that the stupid emperor has no clothes. Contributions can be made through PayPal, checks, and wads of cash exchanged in back alleys.
Whether you can help support, can’t, or just choose not to, please continue to enjoy and keep reading my work. Thank you!!! 

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Ensnared By Sinclair


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I might be biting the hand that feeds me a bit with this cartoon.

Sinclair Broadcast Group made news a few months ago over the way it requires their stations to run opinion pieces in support of Donald Trump. Now, they’re under criticism for forcing their anchors to read scripted material.

Deadspin published a video which has gone viral that shows a collection of anchors across the nation reading the same script, like a bunch of pod people from Invasion of the Body Snatchers, or as one commentator put it, like hostages reading ransom demands.

Most people aren’t aware who owns their local TV stations. They know the faces and think of the anchors as locals reporting on issues in their community along with sports and the weather. Why, those anchors fight the same traffic we do. They’re just like us.

What most don’t realize is that their station is most likely owned by a corporate overlord that owns many other stations. The owners based in Baltimore, like Sinclair, don’t give a rat’s patootie about what’s going down in Madison, Wisconsin, except for the dollars they get out of that location.

Sinclair, which is very close to the Trump administration and orders their stations to run conservative commentaries by a goon who worked in the administration, sent a script for their anchors to read about media bias.

Donald Trump, who’s an avid fan of InfoWars, The National Enquirer, and sets his daily agenda on whatever lunacy is being upchucked by Fox and Friends, tweeted his support of Sinclair and their biased programming. I bet Trump couldn’t tell you what stations are owned by Sinclair. They own a lot of stations.

Sinclair owns 173 stations and they’re about to purchase 42 more. The majority of Americans who view local news will be watching it on a Sinclair-owned station.

It’s not just difficult to find a TV station that is in touch with its community. It’s becoming even rarer to find newspapers that are locally owned.

I search for new clients for my syndication every day. I am often told by editors that they’re not allowed to choose their content, and all decisions on syndication come from corporate. The newspaper overlords don’t care about content, and newspapers are decreasing in size and in local coverage.

Even liberal Warren Buffet’s newspaper company is gutting the newspapers they own. There is little interest from corporate newspaper chains, liberal or conservative, that cares about creating original features.

I know of a few cartoonists who are defending Sinclair, and the way they operate. The irony they don’t get is that they work for a newspaper chain and their jobs are in danger of being eliminated. I know of at least three, two who are very conservative, who are in trouble. But, hey. Keep defending the faceless machine.

It broke my heart to see my former employer, The Free Lance-Star, sold in bankruptcy liquidation after over 100 years of being family-owned. Shortly after that sale, the assets were sold piecemeal and the newspaper was sold again. In the span of a year, the paper went through three owners. Today, it’s a shell of its former self. I have very few friends and colleagues still there as most were either laid off, like myself, or escaped for greener pastures. Most are no longer in the newspaper business.

A lot of readers don’t even notice. Fredericksburg Today, a local news site, runs my cartoons and I’ve seen readers comment there that they’ll never read the newspaper again for running my work, despite the fact Fredericksburg Today doesn’t have anything to do with the newspaper. I don’t even work at FLS anymore and I’m still losing subscriptions for them.

Excellent journalism is still being done today. There are still great reporters at local stations and newspapers. The problem is the owners of the outlets care very little about quality.

Kathleen Parker once wrote that newspapers should hire interesting people and leave them alone. I’ve always liked that philosophy, but it’s rare to see it in practice. In an ideal world, the corporations would leave their outlets alone and let the local people make the decisions on how best to serve their communities.

A threat to journalism and information is a threat to freedom. Before long, the anchors won’t be the only ones sounding like hostages.

Here’s the video.

 

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American Print Media, Cartoon For The Daily Dot


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I drew this for The Daily Dot last Friday. Over the past few months and even once last week I’ve had friends suggest articles to read from The Daily Dot. The publication must really be increasing it’s profile.

They do a lot of stories other publications don’t think of and they cover them well. I expect this online exclusive publication to grow and to be a player in national media. I’m glad I got on board pretty early.