When I started as a newspaper cartoonist Keith Holyoake was Prime Minister, and Robert Muldoon was still a junior MP. And my understanding then of what a political cartoonist was had been shaped by those that Minhinnick produced each day in the NZ Herald.
Whatever newspapers were back then, their proprietors at least had ink in their veins and were committed to real news reporting, and rival papers and radio stations competed to be first with it.
Since those times however, with a newspaper now likely to be but one of several owned, along with radio and TV stations, by a multi-national corporation, things have changed.
Today, rather than news reporting being, for its own sake, the focus, it’s now about what best serves “the Corporation,” and particularly that of its other often much larger business interests, that shapes what news is.
Newspapers have always had their “agendas,” their bias, but now, with huge corporations involved, those agendas are more focussed on what geo-political influence they can have, and so profit from, rather than that which might have been created by the paper steering a more local issue.
From the days when a newspaper might support a certain industrial model for instance, as in the case of a farming paper always advocating for “the three Fs” Fertiliser, Finance and “Pharm-aceuticals,” so as to attract advertisers who deliver those services, the new geo-politically focussed model is more global, and so more sinister.
Having been careful to retain the trappings of all that good journalism once stood for; truth, balance, objectivity and free speech, these new multi-national Corporations exploit our trust in those fine principles still being honoured, to exploit us.
The game now is about media-owning Corporations, with their multinational billion dollar business and political interests paramount, manipulating the news to shape people’s perception of world events, to best serve those interests.
Control of people’s understanding of world affairs is so lucrative to the multi-national corporations that the principles on which news reporting was formerly based, like those underpinning Edmund Burke’s assertion of “The Fourth Estate,” survive in little more than name alone.
The news consuming public is reduced to a commodity to be manipulated to accept distortions as truth, and so support the political piracy that flows from them. Piracy which reaps huge rewards for the Military Industrial Complex, of which the multinationals are most often an integral part.
So for those whose sole source of news is the Corporate Media, the “stories” they are routinely fed, and stories they are, are cruelly slanted, often to the point of being criminal.
In the interests of profiting the multi-national corporations, people are coerced into supporting geo-political policies, almost invariably involving military action, that not only cause misery to millions but which often involve war crimes.
Distortions and lies about the alleged shortcomings of democratically elected governments, politicians and people are deliberately presented so as to secure support for action being taken against them.
And of course these “interventions” always done “in the name of democracy,” have never resulted in that outcome ever being achieved, anywhere, since this evil process began.
Today’s corporate media, far from being the solution to the problems we face is in fact largely the cause of them.
And perhaps this campaign of distortion is nowhere more evident now than in the corporate media’s global advocacy for this appalling new definition of what constitutes anti-Semitism, which is fast spreading it tentacles across the globe.
The dictionary defines anti-Semitism as the hatred of Jews because they are Jews, whereas Zionism simply asserts Jewish primacy, as practiced by Israel in its appalling treatment of the Palestinians, and its recent adoption of its odious Nation-State law.
Zionism’s advocacy for these new anti-Semitism protocols reflects such a disdain for our ability to see them for what they really are, as to imply it regards us as all being lesser mortals.
Zionism is racial bigotry made manifest – in other words Zionism is Apartheid!
This new anti-Semitism protocol recently saw a cartoon of a blind President Trump being led by Mr Netanyahu depicted as his guide dog, declared anti-Semitic, which drew a cringing apology from the New York Times for publishing it.
And so the bar has been set.
Upsetting nobody when it was first published in Portugal, the cartoon depicted Mr Trump as not being his own man when it came to Israel, which is something most cartoonists have said of him since he first came on the scene, and, for that matter, about most Presidents before him too.
There is not one shred of evidence that the cartoon in any way disparages Jews for being Jews, or that it in any other way infers it, and so to say it is anti-Semitic is just nonsense.
And that has been affirmed by many in the world-wide Jewish community too, including many in Israel itself where opinions expressed in one of its most respected newspapers, Haaretz, have repeatedly said as much.
Playing on our sympathy for what Jews suffered in the Holocaust, stapled to a self-serving history of Jewish connections to Palestine, Israel knows, with help from the media, we are “a push over” when it comes to justifying the creeping genocide it is foisting on the Palestinians
The “Blind Trump” cartoon got a number of cartoonists sacked, and other others too have since been picked off by Editors, who have bowed down to these preposterous new anti-Semitism protocols, and the trend is snowballing.
The Guardian’s cartoonist Steve Bell recently had an anti-Israel cartoon “spiked” and editors are now so tremulous that even the whiff of their paper attracting attention from the “Anti-Semite Finder Generals” will see an anti-Israel cartoon or article, similarly treated.
It’s important to note here that Editors have always been ultimately responsible for what appears in their newspapers, and so it follows that newspaper cartoons that “cause offence” must, at some stage of their passage to the page, have passed the Editor’s test of fair comment.
But now it seems that responsibility has been passed to a group who, ignoring the fair comment test but with a vested interest in censoring the cartoon, call the shots. You’ll note it’s never the editor, who OK’d the cartoon, that gets “the treatment,” but always the cartoonist.
A cartoonist is a columnist who use draws, who uses images rather than words, to comment on the world we live in. And as long as a cartoon passes the test of fair comment, the cartoonist, in a so-called free society, should be able to say whatever seems most appropriate on that day.
Since most people’s understanding of events is determined by what “the media” tells them, only those who have looked beyond its presentation of events will consider a cartoon that reflects another perspective, which to others less “au fait” will be simply confusing.
And I’ve drawn a few of those.
People like to have their convictions, and their prejudices, confirmed. They like to be part of something, in the club, of the group, together with others in their understanding. And so it follows that when a cartoon reflects a view that’s at odds with that “understanding,” it has no “cache” with the reader, and so the cartoonist is left without a bone to chew on.
Politicians and propagandists (what’s the difference) understand that very well and so do their level best to ensure that the story which best suits their agenda is the one that dominates.
Israel’s justification strategy is an obvious example of a story that has been slanted to present a view of events in which, in that instance, the aggressors, the Israelis, are the victims and the real victims, the Palestinians, are presented as the aggressors. And we swallow it.
How can it be that, by dint of what foreign policy line its media presents, we can predict what a country’s understanding of world affairs will be? What’s geography got to do with truth? The truth’s the truth – isn’t it?
No, “the truth” is what the media says it is, and that’s the problem!
I’ve lost count of how often I’ve heard someone here say they believe President Putin is corrupt, that he has enriched himself at the expense of Russia, and that he meddled in the US election. Where did they “learn” that, if not from a media with vested interest in it being believed?
If you want a good story about one country meddling in the election affairs of another, look up the 15 July 1996 Time magazine story titled “Yanks to the Rescue” and read how the US engineered Yeltsin’s election. And thereby, ironically, that too of Putin!
Or Google the recording of US Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs, Victoria Nuland, saying, in 2014, that the US spent $5 Billion to engineer the coup in the Ukraine, and that Nato would do as it was #@!!#! well told.
A trick I often use when trying to decide how to address a particular situation, is to reverse the protagonists. Instead of Israelis slamming Palestinians into the ground it’s them doing that to the Israelis. And immediately the situation we’ve been programmed to accept is seen in all its absurdity.
But we don’t even have to invent such a hypothesis. Just consider what our reaction if, as cartoonists in the 1930s, we’d just heard of the appalling things the Nazis were doing to the Jews, but were then faced with Nazis saying it was not only untrue, but that to suggest otherwise would invite a charge of “anti-Germanism.”
That in fact actually happened and the main conduit for that denial of the Jews were being vilely persecuted (anti-Semitism at its most vile) was the media!
And I am proud to say the man who led the fight against the lies then being spread by the Nazis, about their treatment of the Jews, was New Zealand cartoonist, David Low.
And, with that sort of legacy to live up to, I’m not about to be bullied into denying that Zionism is in many ways every bit as evil and pernicious as Naziism, and is certainly as disgraceful as Apartheid.
I first experienced Zionism’s influence when my cartoons caught the attention of its Auckland lobby group. It had put pressure on the Herald and so I took my cartoons to a meeting with them where their leader, lawyer Geoff Levy, assured me he was not trying to stifle criticism of Israel but rather, as just another “decent Kiwi,” was just trying to protect Jews here from anti-Semitic attack.
This faxed cartoon idea, defining the distinction between Jews as a people and Zionism as an ideology, was offered as a means of helping Herald readers understand the difference, but it was rejected, only drawing the response written in the margin, and was never published in the Herald.
I’ve never drawn an anti-Semitic cartoon in my life but with the editor threatening to sack me if I didn’t “tow the line” the pressure was on. And so, in the light of Levy’s assurance and conscious that there were still Holocaust survivors living in our community then, I apologised for any concerns my cartoons might have caused them.
Some months later, after I’d been sacked by the Herald anyway, the New Zealand SIS caught that “decent Kiwi” helping an Israeli Mossad agent sent here to “acquire” New Zealand passports!
As disgraceful as that was, leaving aside the Jewish community being so cynically used in that way by the Zionists, imagine how the its lobby would have pounced if that spy episode had been reversed, and it was an Arab caught here doing that.
With Zionist pressure having brought about my sacking from the Herald, the same pressure has since had my cartoons dropped from the Christchurch Press, The Timaru Herald and the Manawatu Standard, and now, most recently, from the Northland Age, which has effectively ended my career as a political cartoonist.
Zionism is Apartheid pure and simple, and no amount of spin, or visits by Israeli cultural artists, or sports people, will change that. Aided and abetted by the perfidious support of Britain and France from the outset, and now that of the US, and billions of its taxpayers’ dollars, and with Zionism’s real face disguised by the corporate media, the Israeli state is built on a lie.
And a lie is lie is a lie!
Ironically, given that anti-Semitism had for centuries been endemic throughout Europe, the British and French support for the Zionist plan for the establishment of Israel was, in the first instance, more an expression of that anti-Semitism, than any interest in the welfare of Europe’s Jewish communities, and so was itself an act of anti-Semitism!
Be that as it may, what few people realise is that, up until World War 2, Zionism was rejected by most of the world’s Jews who, despite having endured centuries of Christian-lead atrocities, preferred still to identify themselves as people of the nation in which they lived.
But of course the Holocaust changed all that and who can blame Jews for it having done so?
And so the greatest crime in history became the greatest springboard in history for the swarming of one people into the land of another, thereby subsequently unleashing the greatest creeping genocide being waged on the Palestinians.
How perverse that, as a consequence of the Holocaust, but as Nietzsche foretold, Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians has come to have no greater parallel than that of the Nazis’ treatment of the Jews, which had been the cause of their flight to Palestine.
But, at the end of the day, why do I care? Well that’s a fair enough question, and the answer is; because it’s our duty to care for each other, and if the boot was on the other foot I’d be just as concerned.
“But,” people say, “there are plenty of other terrible happenings in the world – why pick on Israel?” Because those other “terrible happenings” are a consequence of Israel, in its need to preserve and protect itself, deliberately creating instability in those states to spike their ability to threaten to Israel.
And that instability, resulting as it has in the total destruction of societies and in countless deaths, has in turn spawned the Mujahidin, The Taliban, Al Queda, and ISIS and the consequent world-wide “war on terror,” which ultimately led to Muslim Kiwis being massacred in Christchurch.