I was never a de Adder fan. The entire time we lived in New Brunswick we would complain about the wrongheaded and often stereotypical editorial cartoons published in Brunswick News. But, of course, it is an Irving-owned newspaper, so we couldn’t expect any better.
We finally cancelled our subscription to the Times & Transcript after they fired all their photographers. It was the one shining light in the paper, the only part of the editorial staff to win any national awards for journalism, and even though they were being paid a pittance they at least demonstrated a shred of credibility.
Michael de Adder was also an award-winner, with a 2002 National Newspaper Award and a 2006 Golden Spike Award award for the American Association of Editorial Cartoonists. But he also had the misfortune to be, as he put it, working for “a foreign oil company with business ties to the United States.”
In the wake of the dismissal de Adder released a series of tweets in which he was very clear about what it meant to work for the Irving newspapers:
# When you work on the editorial pages at an Irving owned newspaper for 17 year, you learn how they operate. It’s not a front row seat, but it’s a third row seat. You definately get a clear picture of how they run a newspaper.
# Does it matter if I was fired over one Donald Trump cartoon when every Donald Trump cartoon I submitted in the past year was axed?
# It got to the point where I didn’t submit any Donald Trump cartoons for fear that I might be fired.
# And Donald Trump doesn’t even matter. It’s a distraction from the big picture.
# The Premier of New Brunswick Blaine Higgs is a former Irving Oil executive and any cartoon I drew that was slightly critical of him was systematically axed. You want to know why I was let go? I wanted to do my job as an editorial cartoonist, and they wanted me to do their job.
# With this said, I had been giving the NB newspapers what they want for several months. Trump wasn’t on my radar. I work for canadian newspapers so there’s no need to cover Trump 24/7. And Canadian politics is quite interesting right now.
# But in the past 2 weeks I drew 3 Trump cartoons. 2 went viral and the third went supernova and a day later I was let go. And not only let go, the cartoons they already had in the can were not used. Overnight it was like I never worked for the paper. Make your own conclusions.
The media in New Brunswick is not a free media. It is owned by, and speaks for, the Irvings. That’s has always been widely known but as time goes by – and as other forms of media finally make their way into the province – the depth of the misdirection and deception has become more and more apparent.
I support what John Miller says in Rabble: “I hope the federal government’s newly formed Journalism and Written Media Independent Panel of Experts — representing eight professional journalism associations and unions — will decide the Irving monopolies do not qualify as ‘professional journalism organizations.’ Such a step would make the Irving newspapers ineligible for the federal government’s $600-million assistance fund.”
I started this blog back in December because I wanted to have a place to speak out against “a general loss of moral leadership on the part of those very people who claim to be moral leaders, the politicians, by virtue of their offices, and their supporters, by virtue of their values and beliefs.”
I needed such a place because someone has to speak out, and because our corporate-owned press is not going to be that voice. New Brunswick is just an extreme case, just as Donald Trump is just an extreme case. But they are not exceptions. They are the rule. Corporate toadies will continue to be elected premiers of Canadian provinces, and the politics of corruption and hate will continue unabated even after Trump is gone.
As AE Marling says, “When newspapers are afraid to print art that speaks truth it’s up to the people to shout it from the rooftops.”
P.S. one more note from de Adder:
# The hardest part in all of this,I have a mother with dimentia in NB who has a hard time remembering her family at times.But she knows her son draws cartoons. Part of her daily routine is to open the @TimesTranscript and see her son’s cartoon.A cartoon that won’t be there anymore.