I found myself in the unfortunate position last night of having to watch HBO’s hagiography . . . oh, sorry — documentary about Herbert Block, who was a political cartoonist for the Washington Post for several decades. Although the show’s ostensible premise was that Block (known professionally as Herblock) was a bipartisan scourge of all presidents, one wouldn’t have known that from watching the show.
Block himself admitted that he was a “liberal,” a statement that, when run through the HBO to English translator, comes out as pretty darn hard Left. To the extent Block criticized Democrat presidents, it was because they weren’t Left enough for him as is the case with the cartoon above, which came out under Carter’s presidency. Incidentally, Block admired Carter, which tells you everything you need to know about the man and his world view. It’s patently clear that Block emerged from the Roosevelt era (yes, he started working back then) as a solid-Left Progressive.
My problems with the show began instantly when I didn’t get his cartoons. (I didn’t get them when I was a youngster/Democrat either.) They were neither funny nor clever nor astute nor well-drafted. They were just illustrations consistent with the same points being made in that day’s Pravda. If you want witty, brilliant, clever cartoons, you need to check out Michael Ramirez (who’s also a better draftsman than Block ever was).
All that is bad enough — hard-core Leftist praised as “centrist,” pedestrian drawings with Leftist themes — but what made the whole thing nightmarish was the parade of talking heads who repeated over and over again that Block was incredibly brilliant and bipartisan. Yes siree, his views were middle of the road, you betcha.
These assurances that Block was as 1950s American as apple pie came from a laundry list of the Leftist media’s Who’s Who. The WaPo, in its rave review about this HBO hagiography . . . sorry, there I go again. Reset: The WaPo, in its rave review about the documentary (because Block’s “brilliant” humor was bipartisan), also provides a useful list of all the rapturous media Lefties agreeing that Block was brilliant and, yes, bipartisan:
There’s Tom Brokaw, Ted Koppel, Jim Hoagland, Ken Auletta, Don Graham, Ben Bradlee, Bob Woodward, Carl Bernstein, Clarence Page, Hendrik Hertzberg, David Brooks, Bob Schieffer, Eugene Robinson, Thomas Friedman, Michael Beschloss; from the cartooning world, there’s Jules Feiffer, New Yorker cartoon editor Robert Mankoff and former Philadelphia Inquirer cartoonist Tony Auth; and from “The Daily Show,” there’s Jon Stewart and Lewis Black. To name a few.
Funnily enough, the show’s creators didn’t talk to Charles Krauthammer, or George Will, or even Michael Ramirez to learn more about Block’s brilliant bipartisanship.
Having watched the documentary last night, and then having spent today being bombarded with MSM hagiographies . . . er, obituaries about the “brilliant” Pete Seeger (the man who never met a communist madman/dictator he didn’t admire), I’m not sanguine about America’s future. As long as the media continues to act as intermediary and interpreter for Americans viewing the world around them, things are only going to get worse at home and abroad, not better.
It turns out that Lincoln misspoke when he said that you can’t fool all of the people all of the time. If you’re America’s 21st century media machine, you actually can.