The MSM works itself into a frenzy celebrating a “bipartisan” (but strangely Leftist) political cartoonist

Herb Block cartoonI 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.

A picture PLUS a thousand words — Michael Ramirez vents his spleen against a disgraceful media

We all know Michael Ramirez as one of the most talented editorial cartoonists ever.  (And no, I’m not exaggerating when I say that.)  I happen to know from going to a luncheon at which he was the guest that he is also a delightful speaker.

Now we all get to learn that he can write too.  In the face of a media that is so one-sided that it is becoming destructive of our nation’s integrity, Ramirez has gone beyond his visual approach to getting a point across and set pen to paper (or I guess I mean fingers to keyboard).  The result is a scathing indictment of a media that has become every bit as corrupt as Pravda — only it’s actually worse than Pravda, because Pravda writers were state employees and always had the threat of Siberia hanging over them.  Our modern media’s corruption is something it gleefully embraces, a thought that ought to make all Americans feel somewhat ill:

As White House reporter for ABC News Jake Tapper recently commented, “The media is failing the country.”

I agree.

A July 16 Rasmussen poll revealed “59% of likely U.S. voters believe Obama has received the best treatment from the media so far” and “51% expect most reporters to help Obama.” Only 9% expect the media to help Romney.

The media should, at bare minimum, be expected to reveal the truth. But it won’t even do that.

Still the media focus nonstop on unsubstantiated reports about Mitt Romney’s tax returns — not on anything substantial.

MSNBC analyst Mark Halperin, when asked about Mitt Romney’s tax returns on the Today Show, said, “The press still likes this story a lot.”

He added, “The media are very susceptible to doing what the Obama campaign wants, which is to focus on this.”

The fact the media are susceptible to do what any campaign wants is disturbing enough.

But the way the media focus relentlessly on gaffes and ignores substantive issues when covering one side, while ignoring gaffes and issues critical of the other side, does serious damage to the integrity of news reporting.

Read the whole thing here (and enjoy the cartoon that goes with it).

Michael Ramirez

I didn’t blog today because I did something fun:  I went into the City to hear Michael Ramirez give a talk at a luncheon that the Pacific Research Institute hosted.  The lunch took place at the Ritz-Carlton, which is indeed a very ritzy hotel, so that was quite the inducement (not to mention having a very good parking lot nearby).

The real draw, of course, was Michael Ramirez himself.  I’ve learned to love his editorial cartoons through the Investor’s Business Daily editorial page.  They are amazing cartoons.  The first thing one notices is that they’re beautifully drawn.  Ramirez is a gifted artist.  Visual beauty, though, won’t go very far if one wants to make a career as a political cartoonist.  One needs a depth and breadth of knowledge, wit, and the ability to distill complex ideas into very short phrases without losing anything.  Ramirez does it all.  It’s no wonder that he’s won two Pulitzer Prizes.  Although I don’t think much of the Pulitzer lately, Ramirez’s wins give it some cachet.

The fact that a person is a gifted artist and satirist is no guarantee that he will be a good speaker.  I went in hoping for the best, but prepared for the worst.  I got lucky, in that Ramirez realized my hopes, rather than confirming my fears.  He is a delightful speaker:  informed, funny, elegant, passionate and fluid.  He talked about Reagan’s greatness, about the media’s dishonesty, about Obama’s ineptitude, and myriad other subjects in between.

In the small amount of time remaining at the end of his talk, he showed some cartoons from his recently published book Everyone Has the Right to My Opinion.  We in the audience roared with laughter, we groaned with political pain, and we fell silent at the moving cartoons that acknowledged the big tragedies that have hit the Western world.

If Ramirez comes to your town, make the time to hear him speak (even if he’s not speaking at your local Ritz-Carlton).  He’s a master at the art of editorial cartooning, and a delight as a speaker.  So, really, can you do better than that?  Oh, and of course you should buy the book.