Despite the fact that my tax dollars fund it, I pretty much ignore NPR, even when it pulls stupid stunts such as running an extremely crude little video cartoon that lambastes the Tea Party movement by promising to teach “How to Speak Teabag.” Speaking “teabag,” of course, involves mouthing things that are either inane, or that use the word Nazi in every other sentence — or both. Conservatives, unsurprisingly, took umbrage at this cartoon. NPR’s ombudsman acknowledged that the whole thing was “mean-spirited,” and out of sync with NPR’s normally saintlike demeanor.
What’s really funny about the whole thing is that NPR earnestly assures us that it’s been looking for a conservative cartoonist to balance out its taxpayer-funded offerings. It just can’t find one:
It comes as no surprise to learn that NPR does not employ a conservative cartoonist. [Dick] Meyer says the criticism that “we don’t have a conservative cartoon is certainly legitimate and reasonable.” He claims that NPR has been looking for a conservative cartoonist. But if NPR were serious about this effort, wouldn’t it have found one by now? I suspect that any search for a conservative cartoonist has taken a back-seat to the quest “to make sure there are an equal number of female and male voices as well as minority perspectives,” to quote the person in charge of NPR’s site.
While I’m sure the search is indeed taking a back seat to everything, I believe that, even if it took a front seat, NPR still wouldn’t find a conservative cartoonist. Cartoonists, after all, are supposed to be funny. Since we’re speaking here of political cartoons, we’re not expecting “Take my wife . . . please” jokes or Keystone Kops chases. Nevertheless, the essence of political cartooning is to use satire and humor to drive the joke home. And in NPR land, there is nothing funny about jokes aimed at Obama, Pelosi, Reid, Islamic terrorists, etc. Since the topics, to them, are inherently unfunny, no cartoonist can ever submit examples of his work that will tickle the NPR pooh-bahs enough to decide that the cartoonist is worth hiring.