The Association of American Editorial Cartoonists condemns the decision of Iowa's Farm News publication to part ways with long-time cartoonist and contributor Rick Friday on the grounds of an unhappy advertiser. This decision is a disservice to journalism and to the people of Fort Dodge, Iowa. This represents a dangerous trend among newspapers where the vitally important wall separating editorial content from advertising is beginning to erode.
The cartoon in question was truthful. Friday displayed courage in speaking out for the less fortunate in the farming industry. The cartoon was a factual statement on the increasing economic disparity of Big Agribusiness and the small farmers of Iowa. He should be thanked for his work, not disgracefully shown the door. For us to maintain a strong freedom of the press, editors and journalists around the country should be beholden to truth and the public good, not the corporate interests of their advertisers. The readers of Farm News deserve far better.