Friday, May 6, 2016

Iowa Cartoonist Fired for Targeting Big Ag CEOs

A sad, sad state of affairs. Fired for what? This.......

For pointing out the truth. For pointing out the lack of reward that our farmers get. For reiterating the unbalance between big corporate business and the small family farm. 

So what's the story.

Farm News accepted Rick Friday's cartoon for publication, as usual for the past 20 years. Yes, it got published. The next day it was yanked off the online magazine. Mr Friday was notified that he had been fired due a complaint received from a seed dealer, whose identity the magazine has kept secret. 

So much for freedom of speech, amendment rights, speaking the truth. 

It's not like Mr Friday's cartoons have never poked fun at anyone or any ag company in the past. Going back through the years of archives, there are plenty of examples of just that. But suddenly the wrong CEO got its nose tweaked, got the truth exposed. Little guy gets squashed. Huuusssh....don't let the little farmers know how they stand in regard to the giant incomes awarded the big Ag CEOs. Ssssshhhh. Don't tell us that the opinion of one giant Corp carries far more weight than thousands and thousands of readers and farmers. Sssh. Don't let the people know. 


  1. You wrote, "So much for freedom of speech, amendment rights, speaking the truth."

    Rick Friday's termination had nothing to do with the freedom of speech protected by the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

    The First Amendment reads as follows:

    "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."

    What is protected is a person's right to say things without being silenced by government action or authority.

    Farm News is not a government publication and had every right to make decisions about the employment or non-employment of someone.

    Publications have a long, unattractive history of taking similar actions when writers, editors and/or cartoonists say things which are seen to cause the business financial harm, either through loss of advertising revenue or loss of subscribers. But a private business is well within its rights to make those decisions and they are not under any obligation to continue the employment of someone who expresses an opinion with which the publication disagrees.

    I used to write columns for major collector publications about public auctions. Time & time again my columns were edited to remove things which those publications knew would piss off large auction firms which spent huge dollars advertising. Ultimately I decided to no longer write those columns and published my own newsletter where I was free to say whatever I wanted to say.

    Whether or not Rick Friday was "speaking the truth" is a matter of opinion. If he has been working with Farm News for 20 years, then he must have known there could be consequences.

    Do I agree Farm News should have caved when a major advertiser complained? Of course not.

    But the action it took had nothing to do with Mr. Friday's "freedom of speech" or his "amendment rights."

    Jeff Purser

  2. I'll stand corrected on my reference to the right to freedom of speech.

    Next point -- the labor boards who review the discharging of employees don't necessarily believe that it's an employer's right to make decisions about the employment or non-employment of a person. I've been before state labor boards having the justify the firing of employees. As an employer, I did not have the right to simply arbitrarily fire someone. But Rick Friday wasn't a legal employee. Thus Farm News did not have to justify anything nor reveal the cause for not needing his services anymore.

    As for Rick Friday anticipating consequences.....Farm News had ample opportunity to reject his cartoon and not run it in the first place. But Farm News opted to run it, then caved in when DuPont (I am assuming it was DuPont because Monsanto issued a statement that it wasn't them --- and Monsanto partly owns Pioneer) threatened to withdraw its advertising money.

    Once again, it all comes down to money and the corporate bottom line. Yes, it's all about money. No surprise,