For as long as there have been editorial pages consumers of mainstream news media in the United States expect wit, humor and insight in political caricature. The opinion columns and letters to the editor that accompany political cartoons are often thoughtful and diverse in reasoning, ideology and perspective. For their part, editorial cartoonists illuminate the foibles of politicians, capture their hypocrisy, and satirize their policies with evocative and often stereotypical images. But the best cartoonists never lapse into hate. Hate caricatures stay on the street, if not in the gutter.
Things are real different in '08. Hillary Clinton's campaign for the Democratic nomination has brought hate cartoons to the lips of prime time anchors and talking heads. No wit, no humor, no insight from that source -- just debasing hate. Referring to Hillary they say "It cries." They diagnose her as having a “multiple personality" disorder. They argue she deserves to be "taken behind the barn." She's the "nagging wife" who barks bitchy demands to take out the garbage. According to Chris Mathews, Hillary is on her husband's "short leash." He adds that the only reason she won her Senate seat because her husband played around. The anchor boys even accuse her of "pimping out" her daughter Chelsea to win the nomination.
The prime time cartooning anchors and talking heads tell us nothing about Hillary - her achievements, her vision, her commitment rebuild the constitutional wreckage of the Bush years. They are silent about her uniquely feminine perspective displayed in concrete proposals for providing health care, stopping a preemptive war, restoring economic and fiscal justice, and ending energy dependence – all of which advance the public interest. These proposals, and the others she advocates, are based on the insight that we must be mindful that the choices we make as a society today will determine the character of our country tomorrow.
What the hate cartoons of the prime time anchors DO tell us is lot about the dark misogynist side of our society. It surfaces like an archetypal demon that configures women as empty stick figures, leashed animals, and rape objects that should be taken behind the barn. The arrival of hate cartoonists in mainstream news media is disgrace to the tradition of American journalism.
For more on this please see this post on the website Women's Voices for Change and watch the video.