September 5, 2002

Comix Now More Weighty than News

Ted Rall's "Where's Osama?" is journalism that hits you so hard in the face it can make your nose bleed.

After noticing a number of especially bright and incisive pieces by Ted Rall I looked into him a bit and discovered he is a cartoonist. In fact, I recognized his drawing style and realized I had just failed to put Rall the cartoonist with Rall the editorial writer.

O'Reilly or Rush would love to use his description as a cartoonist as a way to discredit his writing and what he has to say. But Rall's writing reflects a clarity of thinking that is rare in the established media, even among its most prestigious pundits.

I recently picked up a copy of The Greatest Generation by that talking head, I forget his name at the moment. It was a gift from an esteemed member of that generation and I wanted to give it one more chance before heaving it. I opened it, and there was a chapter on George Bush Sr. I couldn't resist looking at it. There was a picture of that phony aw-shucks face and a little write up on George Bush Senior's World War II experience that could have been written by the old phony himself. Here is a guy from a family of Wall Street racketeers, whose family history is polluted with crime, and this reporter can't see any trace of it. The history is right there for anyone who wants to read about it, but this guy, at the top of the broadcasting industry, has obviously never even looked at the unscrubbed record. He's completely snowed.

Tom Brokaw is his name. You can forgive me for forgetting. Though famous, he is gloriously obscure. He is famous for being a totally nondescript human being, a pleasant face and voice with nothing behind it who reads whatever the corporate rulers tell him to read. This is the pinnacle of broadcast news.

He calls Bush's inarticulate awkwardness "endearing." He allows Bush a petty political swipe against other veterans. "He insists he is owed nothing," Brokaw says, for his service in World War II. And he criticizes other veterans who "ask for more benefits." Not all veterans were beneficiaries of huge ill-gotten Wall Street fortunes like George Bush. If he really thought no one owed him anything, why does he take so much?

But this alleged newsman sees nothing below George Bush's own public relations image. I saw Dan Rather interviewed on Larry King recently. He too reflected no insight at all that cut below the surface of what these smooth racketeers are selling. These news clones are completely wrapped up in the game. They have far too much vested interest to dare to ever take a fearless look at the facts. They keep their blinders firmly in place and they keep those nice fat paychecks coming.

Then on the other hand you have this cartoonist Ted Rall who has more of real value to offer in one essay than these robotic servants of the corporate state offer in their whole soft lives.

Of course Rall is not really "a cartoonist." He's a man who writes, and draws cartoons, who cares passionately about a world that is in dire need of some people courageous enough to open their eyes and speak the truth.

Bravo Ted.

For information on Rall's book To Afghanistan and Back see

-- By David Cogswell

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