I have been censored by Daily Kos


Daily Kos is a major liberal/Democratic Party blog. About a year ago, the blog began running cartoons. To their credit, they paid a modest fee for them. Many alternative political cartoonists were invited; I was not.

At the time, the owner of the blog mentioned as an aside that I would be welcome, like anyone else, to post to Daily Kos. A few weeks ago, I decided to take him up on that.

Why did I post there for free? To access readers, many of whom would enjoy my work if they saw it. It was an experiment.

The experiment ended yesterday. When I went to log on, I received the above message. I clicked the acknowledgement.

Which marks the end of my experiment posting to Daily Kos. I might consider altering the way I draw a political figure for a paying client. A very high-paying client. Someone who employed me full-time.

I’m sure not going to alter my drawing style for $0.00 money.

Obviously, this is no biggie. Nothing gained, nothing lost. Given the reflexive pro-Obama/pro-DNC politics of the blog and its owner, it was probably inevitable that they’d do this. It was crafty of them to choose the Thanksgiving holiday weekend to ban me. Fewer people will be around to notice or care.

This act of censorship is notable for several reasons, however:

1. This “liberal” blog has slammed me with the most severe act of censorship of my career. Since I began syndication in 1991, I have had individual cartoons killed. I have been fired, sometimes unjustly (like in 2004, when Men’s Health discontinued my apolitical cartoons about sex and relationships because I opposed Bush and his wars in my political work, which they did not run). I have been kept out of publications where my work obviously belonged.

But this tops them all.

They weren’t paying for my work. To the contrary, I drove traffic to them. My cartoons were routinely among their list of High Impact Posts that elicit a lot of discussion. If you read them, you’ll see that a cadre of militant Obama defenders was determined to drive me away, and they succeeded.

This is what the Democratic Party has come to: so unable to face criticism, whether from left or right, that they stifle opposing voices.

2. Despite the politics of the pro-Obama forces, there remain many liberals and progressives who remain Democrats. I encountered hundreds of them on Daily Kos. They enjoy(ed) my work. I will miss interacting with them. Fortunately, the Internet allows them to find my work in many other places, including here.

3. The grounds for censoring my cartoons from the site — my drawing style — are beneath contempt. Anyone familiar with me and my work knows I’m not racist. My criticisms of the president are unrelated to his race, and to say otherwise in the absence of evidence is disgusting. Here’s the cartoon in question. It should be noted that my editors at a variety of American newspapers, magazines and websites, almost all of whom are left of center politically, some of whom are black and many of whom voted for Obama, have never expressed the slightest concern about the way I draw the president.

Here is the discussion at Daily Kos, which includes a deluge of comments accusing me of drawing Obama in a racist way. You be the judge:

If You Like Our Troops, You Can Keep Them


  • Many people who criticize the President have been labeled racist merely for disagreeing with what he is doing. When people start calling you names like that instead of engaging, it’s just a way of shutting you down.

    Some people aren’t self aware enough that they do this themselves with the people they disagree with.

    Just something to think about.

  • detroitmechworks
    November 29, 2013 9:31 AM

    Sorry it happened Ted. As a Gun Control advocate and general anti-war guy I have run afoul of the “Rox” crowd in the past. I hate to say that DKOS is a site where you have to tiptoe around issues, but unfortunately it is. All you need to do is suggest that that:

    1. President Obama is less than perfect. Anything that is bad is not his fault though, because he is the president, not a dictator. (But you WON’T be called out on that. You’ll be called out on any pretext they can muster up. And then you’ll be accused of Racism, or being a paid troll for Redstate, OR being a fan of Ron Paul or Nader. Which they’re STILL talking about I might add.)

    2. Someone, somewhere is using fake outrage to stifle dissent. (This one is a BIG one. Failure to properly kowtow when called out on even a transparently manufactured claim of intolerance is a big no-no, because somebody’s fee fees might get hurt.)

    3. There are cliques that demand obedience. There are of course cliques that demand obedience, and unless you have enough “cred” on the site, you get attacked by one of the gangs.

    Course knowing the site, anything I post here will probably be held against me…

    • alex_the_tired
      December 1, 2013 8:43 PM


      You made a very insightful dissection of the DK crowd. I think you left one thing out: their adherence to “group.” A frequent mindset in DK is the group-has-spoken kind of mental click. The group has spoken and — THERE! — I no longer think at all about this issue, I just react as I have been instructed to.

      That of course is one of the standard, and major, gimmicks in the fascist playbook.

  • In my opinion, someone seeing your depiction of the president, by itself, might consider it racistly ape-like. But you draw *everyone* that way. For example, Karzai has almost all the same features.

    • detroitmechworks
      November 29, 2013 10:30 AM

      Oh they’re STILL harping on it days later. Now there’s an impassioned speech up about how hard it is to be an African American with a nose and how people “Just Don’t Get It.” (Lots of talk about white beauty privilege, etc. Essentially it’s designed that no matter what you say other than “Oh how totally right you are!” you are being racist)

      No, I’m not making this up.

      • In the interest of being totally clear, white beauty privilege is totally a thing. And depictions of african americans in our culture are incredible problematic. I just think that in *this particular case* that’s not the main problem.

      • detroitmechworks
        November 29, 2013 10:37 AM

        Oh how Right you are.

  • This isn’t surprising at all. Peel back the skin of a liberal and you’ll find a fascist, every time. The Obamabots at Daily Kos take the concept of “hive mind” to a whole new level. They take the concept of “race baiting” to places even the most progressive progressive couldn’t have anticipated.

    Daily Kos is the Red State of the left, only much much worse. It’s hard to say this, but Erik Erickson seems reasonable and thoughtful compared to the vile and robotic infants at Daily Kos. In short, they’re repugnant. You didn’t get censored because of racist content. You got censored because of your criticisms of Obama, and the shameless Obamabots there used their standard race-baiting to get rid of you. I mean this seriously: Fascists have nothing on these people. They’re vile, controlling, and won’t be happy until we’re all under their legal yoke. You’ll rue that day, believe me.

    If you think what happened to you was bad, you should see what they did to progressives like Greenwald, Sirota and Alex Pareene — simply because they endorsed Cory Booker’s challenger in the primary. All of them were eviscerated as racists for endorsing an alternative to Cory Booker because of his Wall Street ties. Nevermind that these thoughtful progressives never uttered a single word about race — that doesn’t matter to these Daily Kos scumbags. All that matters is defeating their perceived enemies, and nothing works better than smears and slander. Accusing someone of racism is the scarlet R, and they know it. You thought only conservatives got that brand? Ted just found out what happens to ANYONE that crosses them.

    I stopped identifying as a liberal a few years ago. I’m not a conservative, nor a libertarian — but reading this story only makes me more certain I made the correct choice. I wouldn’t spend a single second cavorting with these scumbags. They’re totally shameless, and in the end they’re doing more damage with their blind authoritarianism.

    • Well said, Ex.

      When ever I am critical of Obama before authoritarian Democrats, I will be called a subversive Socialist or a secret Republican.

      One of these morons even called me Socialist and Republican in the same breath.

      I hate Democrats more because they occupy the space where a party of the left would belong if this was a democratic form of government. The Democratic Party”s job is, and has been for a long time, suppressing dissent on the left by posing as a party of the left.

      There are only two parties of the right here, and none of the left.

  • When I read that message from The Daily Kos, I thought I might have missed something! I was hoping to find your cartoon with Obama’s knuckles of one hand dragging the ground, holding a banana in the other hand!
    Imagine my disappointment when I saw that it was one I had already seen previously! Did they say “ape-like”? Really? This must have been the first time they’ve seen your work. Hell, even Dubya looked “ape-like” in your cartoons, especially when he was drawn picking his nose. (But I personally think a finger of one hand up his nose and a finger of the other hand up his arse – and then swapping them – would have been hilarious!

  • Hey Ted,

    Talk about racism:

    These but holes won’t be happy until you draw Obama as white as the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. monument in Washington D.C.

    Now that’s racist!

  • Daily Kos and Democratic Underground are alike in their lack of a sense of humor.

    I got thrown off of DU for the comment that if you want to get Obama’s attention, tell him you are a Republican and he will roll over and pee all over himself. No sense of humor.

  • Threatened, more like it. Threatened with banning for having the temerity to post your work there.

    I love it that they had the temerity to insist you change your drawing style. Such narcissism is breath-taking.

    I agree with other commenters here that they were just looking for an excuse to run you off. Pretty thin fare.

    • And now Markos is up with a diary claiming that Ted Rall hasn’t been banned, so it’s all good.

      • alex_the_tired
        December 2, 2013 7:13 AM

        Yes. This is called retconning. Having published it, the DK Kommunity will read it as fact, internalize it, and any shred of cognitive dissonance will collapse. Problem solved. We have always been at war with Eastasia. No need to revisit what happened, why it happened, etc. or ask any cumbersome questions “Who, exactly, struck the cartoon as racist in the first place?” “How often does Kos actually reverse his admins?” “How much does Kos make off the site?”

  • I understand completely why you’re mad. When reading what happened I was thinking you portrayed him as an actual ape, but upon seeing the cartoon I realize it’s more complicated. There are several issues here.

    1. He is not drawn out of the spectrum of how you draw faces in general. They all have some ape-ness to them, regardless of race. I would also never guess that was Obama if I hadn’t been told, because his face shape is in reality so different. I think this is what caused their misunderstanding.

    2. They saw a cartoon of Obama looking very un-Obama-like and much more ape-y and, not connecting his appearance with your drawing style, were offended. I have to admit, if I hadn’t seen any of your drawings before, this would give me more pause than it does.

    3. Here’s the most important part: Even though you aren’t doing anything wrong and it may be a misunderstanding (which I think it is), the fact that someone who is unfamiliar with your work might see that and connect it with an ape/racism thing is the problem. And not for the politically correct/faint of heart people. But for the people who won’t think about it at all. The people who will let the image and the unconscious connection they make seep in. This is just one of many distorted images (although yours is accidental) that have been fed to us in a constant stream all our lives. Black characters in shows, acceptable social archetypes – all that old propaganda imagery against black people we laugh about now is still present in our society. But now it’s subtle. It’s so damn insidious. And that’s so much more dangerous than the overt racism. Because you can ignore that it’s there.

    I don’t know their reasoning and I’m sorry they antagonized you, but there is an element here of ambiguous and unintentional contribution that I didn’t want to get lost in the fact that you are obviously not racist and they obviously went about this in the wrong way.

  • Telling the ‘phants that their favorite syco isn’t wearing any clothes is a helluva inconvenience….

  • As you’ve written, no great loss there. Political correctness is the death of humor–especially in political cartoons! If you hadn’t been booted for some silly racism charge you would have definitely been banned when they saw any criticism of Israel surfacing in your cartoons!

  • I used to read an occasional “Daily Kos” article. I never signed up, though. And if I get any more “Forwards” I will report them as Spam or Phishing. What a bunch of turds.

  • It’s not at all racist, Ted. I would be proud to publish your cartoons in Intrepid Report (www.intrepidreport.com), and I don’t censor, but, alas, I can’t pay, either.

  • You’re the perfect example of why the left gets absolutely nowhere (and hasn’t for 40+ years), but even I find the claim that you are drawing Obama in a “racist” way indefensibly ridiculous.

    • Yeah, that little piece of legislation called the ACA was really nothing. Only the most major health care reform …. ever.

      But yeah, whatever works in that insipid and shit-filled brain of yours. You are really a retard. You are.

    • Still waiting for substantiation for that claim of yours that scientists can undo global warming. Eh Whimsical?

  • alex_the_tired
    November 30, 2013 4:28 PM


    I used to read DailyKos. I stopped after a while because, frankly, the quality of the discussion was very poor. There were a very few lucid, intelligent posters, but the majority of the participants struck me as suffering from “dry trauma.” (That’s when someone survives something awful–rape, incest, whatever–and considers themselves recovered, but they aren’t. Usually, the trauma manifests as a secondary characteristic: the incest survivor becomes a spendthrift who refuses to discuss his $9,000 Visa bill; the rape survivor still has screaming matches with total strangers, ten years later, but insists that she’s recovered from the rape.)
    DailyKos seems to attract these people: trauma victims who have not resolved what happened to them, and their “dry” tends to be to become angry at those who speak against the Dogma. The Freudians would have a field day.

    That they call you a racist doesn’t really hold up very well in the, um, fact-based community. It sounds like a grossly irresponsible reaction by people who are incapable of the necessary introspection and contemplation required to arrive at their own conclusions based on their own evaluation of mutually agreed-to facts. In short, they scream “How high” whenever one of the leaders whispers “Frog.” (Pausing only long enough to take someone to task for insulting the French.)

    Where is their indictment? Surely they aren’t calling you a racist with only one exhibit of evidence? And what of all your cartoons in which you decry racism? Or does the Star Chamber not allow the defense to point to such things?

    Ted, the biggest criticism I can raise against you in all this is that I am surprised that you did not, after checking out their site, realize that this was something best left alone. We all have our off moments, but Daily Kos? Good God, Ted. …

    • The main unhappiness here is that the victims of “dry trauma” think they can claim epistemic privileges based on their “dry trauma,” and that the main path to continuing those privileges is to continue the trauma.

  • Since they are so focused on the nose…when a cartoonist draws numerous characters looking kind of simian, and quite a few with large noses, and you single out the black guy and say he looks like an ape…who’s the racist?

  • I think this proves what we all knew, that Ted is a Republican and he hates Obama because he’s racist. After all, Daily Kos only censors people that deserve it!


    • CherryTheTart
      December 2, 2013 6:35 AM

      LOL. I got censored. I definitely deserved it. I called one of their regulars a “c**t.” Spelled exactly like that. And I enjoyed it. I had been writing for them for six years. For free, of course.

      The “progressive liberals” of dkos suffer from malignant scrupulosity. It is too bad that malignant scrupulosity is not painful, except to others. They are a dying, if not dead, website. You cannot throw out and/or insult perfectly good people over stupid shit and keep your audience and/or free writers.

      • Hi Cherry!

        The change in the advertising model has hit everyone in publishing really hard, with so much free content online. Markos, like Ted, has had to at least partially switch to a voluntary subscription-based service. We’ll see who lasts longest 🙂

        Also, we have years left in the Obama presidency. Dog only knows what Ted will be drawing Obama like by then. Bush looked like a bloody mutant.

      • @ CherryTheTart –
        I think I’ve been missing something. You sound like a person whose writings I might remotely enjoy! Do you have a website? 🙂

  • […] Click Here To Read The Rest of: I have been censored by Daily Kos […]

  • […] certainly not the ape-like nose. Rall, who hasn’t been paid for his Daily Kos submissions, was furious at being accused of a racist […]

  • […] Story via Ted Rall: (H/T […]

  • […] But that’s Ted Rall for you. He doesn’t feel his a legitimate artists unless he’s being bitched at from the right AND from the left. So, he draw Obama as an ape and Daily Kos, as is their right, refused to publish it. Naturally, Rall is having a hissy. […]

  • […] Kos did not immediately respond to TheWrap’s request for comment, but Rall posted on his blog what he said is a message from Daily Kos, which said his depiction of Obama as “ape-like is […]

  • […] Kos did not immediately respond to TheWrap’s request for comment, but Rall posted on his blog what he said is a message from Daily Kos, which said his depiction of Obama as “ape-like is […]

  • […] Kos did not immediately respond to TheWrap’s request for comment, but Rall posted on his blog what he said is a message from Daily Kos, which said his depiction of Obama as “ape-like is […]

    • Am I the only one on the Internet who recognized the sarcasm of this article? To me, it was obvious that the writer was poking fun at the accusers.

      • There are a ton of DailyKos.com users who don’t know what irony is. I’m guessing unintentional self-parody myself.

  • I agree with this assessment from http://grumpyelder.com/2013/12/i-have-been-censored-by-daily-kos/ :
    “It’s virtually impossible to draw cartoons involving people without exaggerating a persons features..   Rall’s cartoons aren’t racist,,  But as most of us have learned, anything critical of Obama is automatically considered racist by his bots.”

  • […] Kos did not immediately respond to TheWrap’s request for comment, but Rall posted on his blog what he said is a message from Daily Kos, which said his depiction of Obama as “ape-like is […]

  • […] on The Daily Kos, a very liberal news website. However, he says he was told by the site that his ape-like depiction of President Obama was “intolerable.” (Rall has been critical of Obama in the past for not being […]

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