We here at NewsBusters usually pay no mind to Tom Toles, the editorial cartoonist for the Washington Post. He's paid to render his opinion through his work -- although the quality of both his cartooning the cleverness of his observations are, to be charitable, debatable -- so it takes something really egregious to get on our radar.
That happened today when Mr. Toles compared Republican critics of ObamaCare with segregationist Democrat George Wallace, depicting the iconic Republican elephant mascot standing in a doorway marked "health care door" and proclaiming [see cartoon below the page break]:
Yesterday morning, the Washington Post published a drawing by Tom Toles in which the liberal cartoonist depicts a minister marrying two men, with the speech bubble reading, "If anyone here objects to the marriage of these two men, speak up now because opponents are aging and dying off and soon won't matter anymore..."
In his trademark depiction of himself in the corner reacting to the graphic, Toles depicts himself asking "Is it okay to yell 'Hurry Up'?" So to borrow from the former Democratic Rep. Alan Grayson (Fla.), does Tom Toles want same-sex marriage opponents to "die quickly"? [Cartoon depicted below page break]
Four days before the infamous "lipstick on a pig" remark by Sen. Obama, Gov. Sarah Palin was depicted as the lipstick-wearing porcine embodiment of "Federal Budget Earmarks" in a St. Louis Post-Dispatch cartoon by R.J. Matson (see picture at right; h/t tipster Chuck Hodges).
Yesterday NewsBusters contributor Warner Todd Huston noted that Obama's remarks sounded remarkably similar to a speech bubble in that ran in a Tom Toles cartoon the same day, September 5, in the Washington Post.
It's not too far-fetched to say Team Obama is cribbing his stump speech laugh lines from the liberal funnies.
The folks at FreeRepublic have found an interesting... uh, shall we say coincidence... concerning Barack Obama's widely panned September 9 comments made at a rally in Virginia where he seemed to be saying that Governor Palin was a "pig" by referencing the "lipstick" quote from her acceptance speech at the GOP convention. It is looking like Obama's comments were not off the cuff, but scripted. And, not only were they scripted, but they were stolen without attribution from a Washington Post political cartoon by Tom Toles from September 5. Will the media notice?
Obama tried to quip that "you can put lipstick on a pig, it's still a pig" when attacking the McCain/Palin record. But the entire segment, including the previous comments leading up to the insensitive "pig" line, are almost word for word from the Tom Toles cartoon from September 5.
The Washington Post Style section front page features a front-page Howard Kurtz report today on the furor caused by the Tom Toles cartoon featuring Donald Rumsfeld calling a quadruple-amputee "battle hardened." Here's the official Post quotes in the story:
In an interview, Toles called the letter "an understandable response" but said he did not regret what he drew. In thinking about Rumsfeld's remarks, he said, "what came soon to mind was the catastrophic level of injuries the Army and members of the armed services have sustained . . . I thought my portrayal of it was a fair depiction of the reality of the situation.
"I certainly never intended it to be in any way a personal attack on, or a derogatory comment on, the service or sacrifice of American soldiers."
As for the Joint Chiefs' letter, he said: "I think it's a little bit unfair in their reading of the cartoon to imply that is what it's about."
Fred Hiatt, The Post's editorial page editor, said he doesn't "censor Tom" and that "a cartoonist works best if he or she doesn't feel there's someone breathing over their shoulder. He's an independent actor, like our columnists." Hiatt said he makes comments on drafts of cartoons but that Toles is free to ignore them.
Asked about Sunday's cartoon, Hiatt said, "While I certainly can understand the strong feelings, I took it to be a cartoon about the state of the Army and not one intended to demean wounded soldiers."
I do wish Kurtz would have asked the question: so Toles has never been "censored," or has there never been an occasion where editors have successfully talked Toles out of a cartoon idea?