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Why Does the ‘Political Cartoon Fairness Index’ Matter?

Posted on Saturday, September 16, 2023
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by Mike Fuljenz
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8 Comments
Trump and Biden silhouettes in front of American flag backdrop

As I travel the nation meeting with other industry leaders and giving insight on issues impacting the numismatic and precious metals community, I don’t have time to watch all the local TV news or read all the local editorials but a quick glance at their daily political cartoons gives me a hint about their political balance or bias. If I am in a town for three or four days at a major money show, I will tally the political cartoons each day in the largest newspaper in that city and if the cartoon index leans 100% in one direction or the other, I can assume their editorials and political bias also lean in that same direction. In the rare case in which they “harpoon” candidates of both political parties equally, I tend to believe that I have found a reasonably fair news outlet.

The two most influential national newspapers haven’t endorsed a Republican for President for many decades. The last time the New York Times editorial board endorsed a Republican for President was in 1956, when Dwight D. Eisenhower ran for re-election against Adlai Stevenson. They did not recommend Ronald Reagan, even in 1984, when Reagan swept 49 of 50 states. The Washington Post editorial board has not recommended a Republican in any year since 1976, when they first started making Presidential endorsements. Think about that, the Washington Post has NEVER endorsed a Republican for President of the United States.





The Houston Chronicle editorial board has been more balanced, at least in our local area. Since 2000, they have endorsed George W. Bush twice and Republican challenger Mitt Romney in 2012. On the flip side, they endorsed Barack Obama in 2008, Hillary Clinton in 2016 and Joe Biden in 2020, so they made three endorsements for each major party. I wish I could say the same for their political cartoons, which have not harpooned liberals in the last 12 days. Their cartoonist has become “nose blind” to his/her bias. Contrast that with The Beaumont Enterprise, another Hearst Publication I subscribe to and advertise in that is typically balanced in targeting the left and the right.

As for late night talk shows, I’m old enough to remember the wonderful opening monologues of the Tonight Show when Johnny Carson and Jay Leno hosted the leading late-night variety show for over 50 years, from 1962 to 2014. Although I’m sure they leaned slightly Democratic, as does most of Hollywood, they didn’t let their bias show, as their comic jabs hit both political sides almost equally.

A study by George Mason’s Center for Media and Public Affairs tracked 44,000 jokes by Jay Leno over his 22-years hosting the Tonight Show (1992 to 2014). It turns out Bill Clinton earned the most (4,607) jabs, but Clinton’s scandals earned him that top spot over #2 George W. Bush (3,239 jokes) or the more boring Al Gore (1,026) and Barack Obama (1,011), but that results in about 15 percent more jabs at Democrats than Republicans.





You couldn’t say that about any of Leno’s successors or any other late-night hosts in the past decade, all of whom seem to be obsessed with bashing Donald Trump, whether he is currently in or out of the White House….and most of their jokes aren’t that funny. There is certainly plenty of fodder for similar jokes about the current President, Joe Biden – even ignoring the sadness of his age limitations – but you seldom hear a current late-night host daring to utter a word lampooning our current President’s failures.

The Biden Administration now seems determined to go beyond humor and jail the leading political opponent. In doing so, they are walking a slippery slope. What if their opponents did the same thing to them in some future year? All politicians need to beware that any current precedent can be used against them in future years. As the German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche said, in Beyond Good and Evil: “Whoever fights monsters should see to it that in the process he does not become a monster.” Donald Trump should heed these words, too.

The good news for us is that the current unbalanced reporting by many larger newspapers and by some television networks and affiliates leads to a rising level of frustration among conservatives, who feel they have no voice. This drives many conservatives to become huge buyers of gold and silver, which you see reflected in the recent U.S. Mint sales and the various polls by Gallup and Bloomberg about investor’s favorite asset classes at this time.

We advise investors to keep up to 25% in gold-related investments, especially going into a contentious election year, as gold has risen in all four of the latest Obama/Biden/Clinton/Trump election seasons.





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David Millikan
David Millikan
5 months ago

I always enjoyed the comics about presidents throughout the decades. Today, the FAKE news media is CHICKEN to put any out about Dictator Beijing biden and Communist harris.
Maybe if they quit protecting the pedophile who sniff’s little girls hair and put some comics out on how STUPID he is. Just look at our Energy Independence. Oh wait. He DESTROYED that.
Remember, he taught politics at a university for 4 years. NOT.

James
James
5 months ago

Maybe praying for our Presidents should be set as a precedent to follow over preying on our Presidents past and present. Innocence is not the reason few Democrats serve jail time nor is guilt the reason more Republicans serve jail time and pay fines. People are biased in judgement and judges are people.

Robert Zuccaro
Robert Zuccaro
5 months ago

Comics? I’m too busy laughing how no one can say Trumps name (unless talking about his court cases) but refer to him as “the prior administration”.

Richard
Richard
5 months ago

Besides gold and silver Conservatives take refuge in other precious metals, brass and high grade steels as well as polymers and chemical powders to use together. Democrats and their Progressive overlords are now pulling all the restraints because they believe they will be permanently in power and that no outrage will ever be turned against them.

Jackie
Jackie
5 months ago

So, now it’s comedy that the Democrats are going after?? Democrats have absolutely NO HUMOR!! I don’t think they ever laugh unless it’s at Republican/conservatives who are losing their very existence at Democrat hands!! Everything to them is now ‘what else can we take away from the people’!! Democrats are offended by everything!!

David
David
5 months ago

All that to sell Gold? Really? You going to go to the gas station or grocery store and slip some gold in the slot for gas and food?
Besides that, Gold has been a historically safe- partially because the price mirrors inflation, but a poor investment- partially because the price mirrors inflation.
Maybe because I look at the practical, I’m extremely pessimistic of the Gold and Silver hype.

Word Of Truth
Word Of Truth
5 months ago

When Trump was president it was non-stop disparaging cartoons on AOL and USA Today. With Biden …nothing.

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