Ted Rall’s Wacky Theory About Warbloggers Getting The New York Times To Fire Him

It seems that the only thing the left loves more than raising taxes or talking about how much they hate George Bush is getting a good myth started. You know, like Gore really beat Bush, Max Cleland had his patriotism questioned in the 2002 elections, or Bush was AWOL from the National Guard.

The latest person to come up with one of these fantasies is Ted Rall who was recently unceremoniously dumped by the New York Times. So why did old Marxist Ted the cartoonist get fired? Well, here’s the line Rall is trying to peddle…

“My trouble with the Times website dates back to the “terror widows” controversy. That cartoon, which appeared in March 2002, became the target of a coordinated email attack by right-wing “warbloggers.” These pro-Bush bloggers, coasting on a wave of post-9/11 patriotism, sent out emails to their followers (helpful souls forwarded some to me) asking each other to deluge the Times and other papers with complaints that purported to come from their readers. The Times, under the mistaken belief that hundreds of their readers had complained about the cartoon, dropped that particular piece.

As I said at the time, it’s their paper. They can run what they like. And I still believe that.

Since that time, the Times website has been lackadaisical about maintaining my link to their site. Cartoons often went days without geting posted. It seems that the warbloggers consistent campaign of email harrassment has finally taken its toll over at Times Digital. Because they’re annoyed by receiving so many email complaints about my work–all of them motivated by partisan politics–the Times has decided to drop my cartoons entirely.”

At first, I thought Rall was merely claiming that recent email campaigns started by warbloggers got him pulled from Times. I was a bit puzzled by that, since there are only so many large warbloggers and I didn’t remember any of them encouraging their readers to write the Times. But in his column today, Rall elaborated on his theory…

“The Internet has become the tool of choice for the previously powerless. Email forwarding, hyperlinks and blogs–a genre dominated by right-wingers–allow anyone with a used Gateway computer and a dial-up connection to rally hundreds of likeminded individuals to point and click, instantly firing off fiery letters to the bosses of radio talk show hosts, cartoonists and columnists who offend their sensibilities.

“Here’s the feedback form for Yahoo!’s opinion syndicate,” a blog called “The Agitator” suggests. “Write and tell them it’s time to drop Ted Rall’s column.” “No paper should ever run Rall again,” howls Andrew Sullivan, a Time magazine columnist who also writes the country’s most prominent extreme-right blog. “I urge all of our readers to write to the NY Times,” urges another hate site. “Here is their Contact page. I wrote to the publisher this morning.”

A few liberals try to censor conservatives, but most opponents of the First Amendment reside on the right.”

Rall gets a lot of things wrong here. Blogs regrettably aren’t dominated by right-wingers, readers asking for a paper to yank an annoying cartoonist are exercising their First Amendment rights, not “censoring” anyone or infringing on their rights, and who in their right mind thinks Sullivan’s Daily Dish qualifies as an “extreme-right blog”? These days, Andrew Sullivan spends a good bit of his time agitating for gay marriage, railing against George Bush, and trashing religious conservatives.

But, that’s not the main point. The three bloggers Rall identifies as having urged their readers to write emails, Radley Balko at The Agitator (who encouraged his readers to write to Yahoo by the way, not the NYT), Sullivan at the Daily Dish (who didn’t encourage his readers to write any emails at all in the post cited), & Charles Johnson at Little Green Footballs (which isn’t mentioned by name for some reason) all made their posts back in 2002. Yes, you’re reading that right. Apparently, Rall is claiming that emails generated by warbloggers back in 2002 got him fired in 2004 =D.

Now as much as I’d absolutely love to see the right side of the blogosphere take credit for getting Ted Rall fired from the New York Times, I don’t think a bunch of year and a half to two year old email from our readers got the NYT to give Ted his pink slip. My suspicion is that Rall is trying to whip up a little email campaign of his own and claiming that “The warbloggers got me fired” will generate a lot more sympathy than “The Times fired me because my cartoons irritated so many of their readers”. That’s a pathetic maneuver, but it’s about Rall’s speed…

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