In a world where corporations count as people and newspapers and TV programs bend over backwards to keep their big money advertisers happy, what happened to Iowa cartoonist Rick Friday hardly comes as a surprise.
But in a different world where things like freedom of expression, freedom of the press, and common sense still matter, it’s hard to fathom how the 21-year veteran could lose his job simply for printing the facts.
Friday, who has published over 1,090 cartoons for Farm News, a publication catering to over 24,000 households and 33 counties in Iowa, took to Facebook on Saturday, April 30 to express his frustration over being fired by the newspaper — simply for publishing a cartoon based on facts a certain agrochemical corporation did not like:
“Again, I fall hard in the best interest of large corporations. I am no longer the Editorial Cartoonist for Farm News due to the attached cartoon which was published yesterday,” Friday said.
“Apparently a large company affiliated with one of the corporations mentioned in the cartoon was insulted and canceled their advertisement with the paper, thus, resulting in the reprimand of my editor and cancellation of It’s Friday cartoons after 21 years of service and over 1090 published cartoons to over 24,000 households per week in 33 counties of Iowa.”
“I Only Submitted Facts in My Cartoon”
Continuing his Facebook post, Friday essentially said decision is a textbook example of how corporations threaten our most important human rights.
“I did my research and only submitted the facts in my cartoon,” he said.
“That’s okay, hopefully my children and my grandchildren will see that this last cartoon published by Farm News out of Fort Dodge, Iowa, will shine light on how fragile our rights to free speech and free press really are in the country.”
According to an article in the Des Moines Register, the CEOs at the agrochemical giants mentioned earned about $52.9 million combined last year. No data was given about the amount the 2,000+ farmers Friday mentioned earn, but profits across the U.S. have been dropping recently: farm income levels in the U.S. are projected to fall to their lowest since 2002, to $183 billion (loss of millions in export markets due to GMOs certainly isn’t helping)
The publisher of the paper said it was an “editorial decision” to fire Friday as well as to completely shut down the publication’s Friday cartoons section.
It’s not known which company canceled their advertisement with the paper, but so far DuPont and Monsanto have said they were not aware of the cartoon until they found out about it in the media.
Meanwhile Friday continues to work as a cattle farmer, and recently posted the cartoon below on why corporate censorship is becoming such a huge problem.