CSotD: Facts are so 20th Century!

Candorville (KFS) offered this portrait of fact-free criticism Sunday, and not only did the familiarity bring a chuckle, but it happened to coincide with both a discussion here about conservative cartoonists and an email exchange with two other cartoonists, who pondered the question of whether conservative commentators have bothered to read the indictments against Donald J.

That wasn’t phrased as a question. The actual question is whether we should trust their intelligence or their honesty, because, while everyone is full of “But what if he really DID think turkeys could fly?” defenses, nobody is bothering to address the issue of him having dropped them over Cincinnati, as is clearly spelled out in the indictments.

Jack Smith spoke for two minutes and 38 seconds in his press conference the other day, but, in that short time, managed to both insist on Trump’s innocence until the evidence had been heard, judged and condemned by a citizen jury, and urged people to read the indictment for themselves.

I think I could get my dog to pay attention for two minutes and 38 seconds, but I am absolutely certain that, if I assigned a reporter to the story, there would be an explosion in my office if he came back and said he’d lost focus and left the room after 45 seconds.

At the risk of invoking a sports analogy, “Just Do Your Job.” Or, as Bill Bellicheck expanded, “Just Do Your Job Well. It can be enough to make a difference.”

For the present, “well” seems like a lot to ask.

The greatest compliment I ever earned as a journalist was not a plaque or a certificate but, rather, the time an company in town asked about me and was told, “He’s fair and he’ll get it right, but don’t lie to him, because he’ll find out and then he’ll nail you.”

Every journalist should seek that appraisal, and every editorial cartoonist should be a journalist. If you’re just going to be a scribe, you might as well be cleaning pools: The hours are better and you’ll make about as much money.

Read the indictments. Do your job.

Juxtaposition of the Middle Ages

Eric Allie — Counterpoint

Gary Varvel — Counterpoint

One of the major innovations of the Enlightenment was when science turned away from attempting to discover convoluted explanations for what they already believed and began, instead, to start with a blank slate and build their beliefs around the evidence in front of them.

It wasn’t instantaneous: It took time for biologists to give up their belief that barnacles morphed into geese within the timbers of ships or that maggots spontaneously grew from cut meat without the intervention of flies. And James Garfield might have survived his assassination, had his physician not been so deeply opposed to Lister’s theory of germ-based infection and had washed his hands before operating.

Yet here we are, thrust back a century or three or four, to the point where, if you believe that Hunter Biden and his father were making backroom deals, it doesn’t matter if your chief witness declares in sworn testimony that Hunter was bragging and that he and Joe never discussed the deals.

The fact that Devon Archer was in the room makes no difference, unless he says the things you brought him to Congress to say. You might as well waste time reading phony indictments as listening to an obvious liar.

Besides, as Bill Bramhall points out, we already knew that Biden is senile and wouldn’t remember those conversations where he and Hunter laid out their cunning plan.

If you already know it, what’s the point in gathering further evidence, or paying attention to what you’ve already got?

The proof is probably in Jim Jordan’s jacket pocket.

It’s all lies anyway, Al Goodwyn (Creators) contends, part of a nefarious plan to lower inflation and cut unemployment to create the illusion of economic improvement, reduce the number of illegal border crossings in order to give the impression that things are improving there and to continue to ask the Freedom Caucus to come up with better proof of bribes than a witness who says it didn’t happen.

Hey, I’ve seen barnacles on ships and I’ve seen geese swimming nearby, and you can’t fool me: They go together!

Amid all this pre-Enlightment thinking, it’s important to note that you can be conservative without surrendering your judgment to the rightwing national mood.

While I often take conservatives to task for lazy work and for illustrating, without evaluating, Fox News talking points, I also feature Michael Ramirez (Creators) frequently, more in an argument than for a scolding.

Here’s a good example: I think he’s wrong that Fitch’s downgrading of the US credit rating from AAA to AA is a major disaster, but, then again, it wasn’t good news, either. And while mounting national debt is a large part of the debt issue, “Free Stuff” is a partisan cheap shot that not only oversimplifies things but puts the blame on hungry families. There’s plenty of other padding and slack in the budget.

And there are other things we could quarrel over, such as the fact that Trump criticized Janet Yellen for raising interests rates to try to stem inflation, then blamed Biden when the resulting hammer fell on his watch. And, of course, Standard and Poor’s had knocked us from AAA to AA a dozen years ago, so this is only one more step in the process.

What process? Well, besides rising debt, Fitch pinged us for political chaos and a divided government that can’t seem to come together even to preserve our own economy.

Here’s a long but useful summary from Fortune about the whole thing, and it’s worth your time.

Even if you’re not a journalist. But especially if you’re a journalist, and especially if you’re a journalist who draws political cartoons.

We don’t have to agree, but we need to start with a solid factual basis, even if it leads us in different directions.

Which boils down to this: Just do your job.


16 thoughts on “CSotD: Facts are so 20th Century!

  1. I think you are under a misapprehension of weekday their “job” actually is.

  2. “. . .you might as well be cleaning pools: The hours are better and you’ll make about as much money.”

    The odds of getting lucky are also better, the Kliban cartoon notwithstanding.

  3. “while everyone is full of “But what if he really DID think turkeys could fly?” defenses”

    Wait… Is this a thing? They CAN fly… I live in a canyon lousy with the stupid critters, and they fly from one side to the other all the time. I can see why one might think they can’t: they’re the stupidest animal in nature I am aware of, and will walk/run/climb/get stuck in a shrub all day long before they’ll fly, but they definitely can and do fly. Or am I missing something?

    1. I googled more, and seems I was doing it wrong. It’s a reference to a sitcom from before my time.

    2. Wild turkeys, not the over-stuffed ones in Thanksgiving giveaways.
      Apparently, this was a reference to an episode of WKRP in Cincinnati.

  4. We’ve been in the “My opinion is just as valid as any proven facts” era for a while now, and certainly since the advent of social media.

    Indeed everywhere I look I see people hunting for “facts” that only back up their pre-conceived notions than anything resembling the truth.

    1. After all, this is AMERICA right?

      The truth is whatever I say it is, and how DARE you try to tell me otherwise!?

    2. Attributed to Isaac Asimov, possibly from a column in Newsweek, January 21, 1980:
      There is a cult of ignorance in the United States, and there always has been. The strain of anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that “my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge.”

      After all one of the qualifications for President is “seems like a fun guy to have a beer with,” rather than “this person is brighter and better-educated than I am.”

  5. Dear Mike: True Journalism, WKRP and Enligtenment: some of my favorite things. I applaud your insights, decency and, yes, True Journalism (just like Les Nesman /LOL sarcasm).

  6. The House Republicans are making no attempt to be fair. They speculate about unproven corruption and then look for proof.

    “Asked whether he [Comer] would be able to prove the outrageous claim about the president, Mr Comer hesitated.

    Pressed further by Hannity, he finally replied: “I sure hope so. And I do believe that there’s a lot of smoke and when there’s smoke, there’s fire”.”

    Nothing about trying to find the truth. Just “I hope we can find evidence of Biden’s corruption”.

    1. ‘We’ve got lots of theories, we just don’t have the evidence’

      Rudy Giuliani to Rusty Bowers.

  7. You are way, way, way too “kind” to the mis- and dis-informing cartoons of Allie, Varvel, and Ramirez. (Although, like you, I am somewhat in awe of Ramirez’s artwork.)

  8. Here’s what I said the other day on this site, and now I’m saying it again:
    I have been outraged by the right-wing cartoonists even existing at all, much less being published widely. They are merely the cartoon equivalent of the MAGA crowd. Stupid and biased to the core. Their existence reinforces asinine cliches, such as Biden being senile, and we do not need any more bolstering of that kind of thinking. I say off with their heads!

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