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TED RALL Printer Friendly Page

Ted Rall: Bad Obama Artist or Racist Obama Artist?
By Daniel Greenfield
December 6, 2013


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  • Cartoonist and syndicated columnist
  • Reserves condemnation almost exclusively for Republicans
  • Characterized America’s post-9/11 war in Afghanistan as "genocide" perpetrated solely to clear the way for the U.S. to build an oil pipeline through the region
  • Supported the Marxists Jean Bertrand-Aristide and Hugo Chavez, as well as the Castroite government of Grenada
  • Opposed sanctions against Iran, Iraq, Libya, North Korea, and Serbia


Born in Cambridge, Massachusetts in August 1963, Ted Rall is a cartoonist and syndicated columnist who serves as President of the Association of American Editorial Cartoonists. His cartoons and writings are distributed by Universal Press Syndicate and appear in approximately 140 American publications, including the New York Times and the Los Angeles Times. He also regularly posts his opinion pieces on his website. One of three finalists for the Pulitzer Prize in 1996, Rall is a two-time winner of the Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award.

From 1981 to 1984, Rall studied engineering at Columbia University, where he contributed cartoons to the campus newspapers. He failed to complete his studies at that time, but he returned to school a few years later and graduated in 1991 from Columbia's School of General Studies with a B.A. degree in engineering.

Through his writings, cartoons, and public statements, Rall attacks conservatives on a regular basis. In June 2004, for instance, he said that the recently deceased former U.S. President, Ronald Reagan, was surely in hell “turning crispy brown right about now.” Expanding on this theme, Rall said, “I think most people view the President as a fair target. Reagan was a public figure, and he was an idiot. And if he were around and lucid, he would probably say that it [criticism] comes with the territory…. If there is a hell, this guy is in it."

Shortly after Reagan’s death, Rall wrote a column titled “Reagan’s Shameful Legacy,” which contained a number of gross misrepresentations of historical reality:

“Reagan's quack economists trashed scholarships and turned welfare recipients into homeless people and refused to do anything about the AIDS epidemic, all so they could fund extravagant tax cuts for a tiny sliver of the ultra-rich. Their supply-side sales pitch, that the rich would buy so much stuff from everybody else that the economy would boom and government coffers would fill up, never panned out. The Reagan boom lasted just three years and created only low-wage jobs. When the '80s were over, we were buried in the depths of recession and a trillion bucks in debt. Poverty grew, cities decayed, crime rose. It took over a decade to dig out.”

Rall also dismissed as a “myth” the notion that Reagan had led America to victory in the Cold War, crediting him only with having “elevated unjustifiable military action to an art.” Finally, he accused both Reagan and President George W. Bush of relying on “Christianist” -- which he described as “the radical-right equivalent of Islamist” -- “depictions of foes as ‘evil.’”

In the 1980s Rall supported the Castroite government of Grenada. Later, he backed Marxists like Jean Bertrand-Aristide of Haiti and Hugo Chavez of Venezuela. He alleged, without evidence, that President George W. Bush tried to overthrow Chavez. He opposed sanctions against Iran, Iraq, Libya, North Korea, and Serbia. He strongly hinted that leftist Senator Paul Wellstone, who had died in an October 2002 plane crash, was assassinated. And he said that George W. Bush should be “warming a prison cell right now” for having led the U.S. to war in Afganistan and Iraq.

Rall characterized America's post-9/11 invasion of Afghanistan as “genocide,” perpetrated, in his estimation, for no reason other than to clear the way for the U.S. to build an oil pipeline through the region.

In November 2003, during the height of Iraqi sniping attacks against American forces in the Sunni Triangle, Rall wrote a faux recruitment ad for “Iraqi resistance forces,” which stated:

“Thank you for joining the Iraqi resistance forces…. [W]e are fighting side by side because there is no dignity under the brutal and oppressive jackboot of the U.S. Coalition Provisional Authority…. Because we destroyed our weapons of mass destruction, we were unable to defend ourselves against the American invasion. This was their plan all along. Now our only option is guerrilla warfare: we must kill as many Americans as possible at a minimum risk to ourselves…. [I]t will only be a matter of time before the U.S. occupation forces become demoralized. As casualties and expenditures rise, the costs will outweigh the economic and political benefits of occupation…. Ultimately the American public will pressure their leaders to withdraw their harried troops from our country…. Indeed, the soldiers are themselves oppressed members of America's vast underclass … poor and uneducated, [they] do not understand that they are being used as pawns in Dick Cheney's cynical oil war…. If someone you know is considering taking a job with the Americans, tell him that he is engaging in treason and encourage him to seek honest work instead. If he refuses, you must kill him as a warning to other weak-minded individuals.”

In a May 4, 2004 Op Ed titled “An Army of Scum: Or, We're Looking for a Few Good Homosexual Rapists,” Rall wrote the following about the prisoner-abuse scandal at the Abu Ghraib detention center in Iraq:

“Now it's official: American troops occupying Iraq have become virtually indistinguishable from the SS. Like the Germans during World War II, they cordon off and bomb civilian villages to retaliate for guerilla attacks on their convoys. Like the blackshirts who terrorized Europe, America's victims disappear into hellish prisons ruled by sadists and murderers. The U.S. military is short just one item to achieve moral parity with the Nazis: gas chambers…. … Don't be fooled by military apologists who insist that these American SS are nothing more than a few bad apples…. We know about Abu Ghraib only because the inbred psychos … were dumb enough to snap photographs as mementos … It's like the Rodney King video: cops beat up blacks every day, but there usually isn't a camera around. Abu Ghraib, you can bet your bottom dollar, is merely the tip of the iceberg. Our military is structurally corrupt.”

In a cartoon he published two months later, Rall depicted then-National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice as an inmate at a “racial re-education camp” where she referred to herself as a “house nigga” and as George W. Bush's “beard” -- i.e., a decoy whose purpose was to conceal the President’s alleged racism.

Also in 2004, Rall implied in a cartoon that former professional football player Pat Tillman was an “idiot” for having given up a lucrative sports career to enlist in the U.S. Army to fight in Afghanistan, where he ultimately was killed on April 22, 2004. Suggesting that Mr. Tillman had “falsely believed” that the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan were linked to the 9/11 attacks, the cartoon referred to Tillman as a mere “cog in a low-rent occupation army that shot more innocent civilians than terrorists to prop up puppet rulers and exploit gas and oil resources.”

That same year, Rall advised that America should pull all its military forces out of Iraq immediately. “Sooner or later,” he wrote, “one way or another, we’re leaving -- as defeated and bankrupt and demoralized as we were when we fled Saigon [in the 1970s]. The only question now is: how many more people are we going to kill before we cut and run?”

From August 1998 to August 2000, Rall hosted a weekend talk show on KFI radio in Los Angeles. After 9/11, KFI rehired him temporarily to travel to Afghanistan and file live reports from the battlefield. In 2005 Rall hosted another weekend radio program on San Francisco's KIFR-FM.

Portions of this profile are adapted from two articles: (a) "The Left Smears an American Hero," written by Ben Johnson and published by FrontPageMag.com on May 5, 2004; and (b) "The Left's Dunce of Death," written by Ben Johnson and published by FrontPageMag.com on June 14, 2004.



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