How long do you have to work for a company to earn their loyalty?
Apparently, when you work for Farm News, a small Iowan publication that is part of a larger conglomerate Ogden Newspapers Inc. —21-years ain’t squat when it comes to the interests of their advertisers.
According to the Des Moines Register, Rick Friday was fired by Farm News because his latest cartoon mentioning 3 large agribusiness corporations angered one of those three advertisers, enough to pull their advertising from the publication.
Drawing upon real facts, Mr. Friday depicted two farmers in the field talking to each other. One bemoans the difficulties of making a profit in farming. The other farmer responds to the effect, no, farming is quite profitable, stating: “the CEOs of Deere & Co., Monsanto Co. and DuPont Pioneer made more money than 2,129 Iowa farmers last year.”
In the real world, money talks and Rick Friday loses a job for essentially telling the truth in a humorous fashion which is what cartoonists—good cartoonists— do.
There is a silver lining in all this. His provocative cartoon is reaching a far larger audience than it would have otherwise.
Postscript upon further reflection:
Something was still sticking in my craw about this story. Here are my suggestions, duly noting that it would not fit the world we live in today:
- Why was the cartoonist fired in the first place? If anyone where to be fired, how about the person who made the decision to publish the cartoon in the first place?
- Why not call up corporate and bring in the big guns for support? Ogden Newspapers Inc. owns newspapers in cities around the country. Their parent company also owns magazines. Farm News should tell their corporate parent, please fire that fucking advertiser, we can not afford to have our integrity impugned no matter how much advertiser dollars may be at stake.
- Have Farm News and Ogden hold an emergency sales meeting and tell their entire sales force, “get me that (sonofabitch) advertiser’s number 1 competitor and I don’t care what you charge, I want them signed up in replacement across our entire publication chain even if it means we sell at cost!! YESTERDAY!!!”
- Have a low level Ogden executive call the advertiser and tell them their money is no longer needed across the entire Ogden empire. The advertiser can figure out another way to reach their dedicated readers across whatever number of umpteen states with a combined reach of just shy of a gazillion eye balls that collectively their publications reach.
With all due respect to Bernie Sanders, that would be a revolution!