I wrote here about an idiotic political cartoon that appeared on NPR's website called "Learn to Speak Teabag." The cartoon portrays a stammering representative of the Tea Party movement as having no arguments to make about Obamacare other than to repeatedly label it "Socialism" and to accuse its supporters of being Nazis. The cartoon, in the words of Tim Graham, "satirized" conservatism as a "form of political retardation." The cartoonist, Mark Fiore, substituted name-calling for argument, just as he baselessly claimed Tea Party movement members do. Fiore's cartoon was so bad that even NPR couldn't defend it. Ombudsman Alicia Shepard said it is "mean-spirited" and claimed that "it doesn't fit with NPR values, one of which is a belief in civility and civil discourse." However, Fiore's cartoon fits beautifully with the values of the band of liberals who award the Pulitzer Prize. For, as Byron York informs us, the Pulitzer committee announced yesterday that Fiore has won that very Prize. The committee cited Fiore for his "biting wit, extensive research and ability to distill complex issues" which "set a high standard for an emerging form of commentary." The last phrase suggests that the Pulitzer Prize committee would like to see more extensively researched and intelligently distilled cartoons like "Learn to Speak Teabag." Provided, of course, that they target conservatives.
In his history of National Review, former NR senior editor Jeffrey Hart notes one consequence of the 1964 election at the magazine. "The odor of the John Birch Society had been so strong and so intolerable, and so damaging to Goldwater," Hart recalls, "that National Review decided that for the future of American conservatism, decisive distance had to be laid down irrevocably between the magazine and the society." That distance had originally been marked off in a 1962 editorial, "but that had not been enough. The distinction would now have to be made, once and for all, between a viable conservatism and the fantastic theories that energized the leadership of the JBS." Among the JBS's "fantastic theories" was the proposition that Dwight Eisenhower had been a Communist agent. NR sought to separate the JBS from the conservative movement with a "root-and-branch attack" in October 1965. That month NR published a special section of the magazine denouncing the JBS in contributions by Buckley as well as NR senior editors James Burnham and Frank Meyer, along with endorsement letters by leading conservative figures including Goldwater himself. Hart describes the opening of the special section ("The Background") as "an act of war" that "takes no prisoners." Bill Buckley provided his own account of related events in Flying High: Remembering Barry Goldwater, excerpted here by Commentary. The JBS responded in its inimitable style here. The annual Conservative Political Action Conference is a great event attended by just about everybody who i