Saturday, September 26, 2009


At the risk of being accused of political correctness, I must comment on yesterday's grotesque political cartoon in The Telegram.

For a while now most of Kevin Tobin's cartoons featuring the premier show him wearing a bow-tie. I thought it was saucy and cute. Let's face it, can anyone in this province see a bow-tie and not think of Joey? Very satirical, Kevin!

Yesterday, Kevin's editorial cartoon ratcheted up the dictator image by portraying the Premier and Muammar Gadhafi together at a Dictators Anonymous convention. It was over the top and disturbing. As someone who has been rightfully called out for using terms like "quisling" and "traitor" to describe political opponents, I acknowledge that I have at times crossed the line in a moment of verbal indiscretion. This cartoon, however, was published in our province's largest daily newspaper. The publisher must now clarify his paper's editorial position. Yes, The Telegram has been engaged in a war for public access to information against a government that flaunts the rules, but giving in to the temptation presented by a dictator's visit to make a point reflects poorly on the paper's journalistic integrity.

No matter how controlling and manipulative the Premier's approach might be considered, he is the head of a democratically elected government.

As a young army officer Gadhafi seized power in a 1969 coup. He is president for life. His 40-year history as Libya's despotic leader reads like a resume of terror and revolutionary causes. He supported various unsavory Palestinian factions and the IRA. He has accepted blame for the 1988 bombing of an airliner over Lockerbie as well as the 1989 bombing of a French aircraft. He has had dissidents in his country hunted and shot. He ordered the killing of 1200 political prisoners in an AbuSleem Prison uprising demanding fair trials and improvement to living miserable conditions. Just this year, two visable opponents from opposite spectrums of dissent died in prison. He defends the hijackers who have been involved in a record surge of piracy in and around the Gulf of Aden by saying,"It is not a piracy, it is self defence" and "it is defending the Somalia children's food."

Okay, so we have a Premier who is perceived to be a one-man show. The P.C. bone yard is littered with political hits - Fabian Manning, Tom Rideout, Loyola Sullivan, Elizabeth Marshall, and Tom Osborne to name a few. The premier has been known to intimidate and run roughshod over the media when the message is not to his liking - David Cochrane, Ryan Cleary and most notably Craig Westcott, to name a few, have been on the receiving end of his fury. He flouts the laws of the land sometimes and without a doubt he is in control. Some compare him to Joey Smallwood, others go further and call him a benevolent dictator. A Premier with a strong majority can pretty much do anything he wants with the legislature during his or her term in office. In no way can this kind of power be equated with despotic presidency for life.

Yesterday's grotesque cartoon was repugnant. Kevin Tobin has gone too far. This cartoon crossed the line from acceptable political critique to unacceptable personal attack, character assassination and vilification.

The Telegram
owes this province and our premier an apology.


Anonymous said...

If the cartoon featured Harper and Gadaffy you probably would be praising it. You Danny lovers can give it but you sure the hell need to learn to take it!

Anonymous said...

Suck it up, buttercup, it is an exercise in free speech.
In many countries, a local politician who ordered tearing down the national flag and personally attacked the national governing leaders would face a trial (or court martial) for treason or sedition.
And in most western democracies, any senior member of the Bar who publicly suggested that a municipal politician ought to be taken out and have the sh*t beaten out of him would have been suspended from practicing law, if not disbarred.
Last week, the Supreme Court of Canada upheld the one month suspension from practice of a Halifax lawyer named Lienaux. The suspension was for describing some members of the nova Scotian judiciary as being part of an "old boys' club".
By contrast, Danny said that someone ought to physically beat the former mayor of St. John's to a pulp. Then he asked, rhetorically, whether Judge Halley, who ruled in favour of Max Ruelokke, might not have gotten up on the wrong side of the bed. Neither of these intemperate and inappropriate remarks resulted in ANY discipline of the sawed-off little despot by the Law Society.
He ought to be VERY grateful for the freedoms which he not only enjoys, but abuses.

Greg said...



All is fair in love and war ...and war is just politics by other means.

Edward G. Hollett said...

The Danny Fannies must have gotten a few phone calls telling them to launch a jihad against the cartoon.

Interesting how Peter went from posting it without comment to condemning it.

And this condemnation of the cartoon comes from a guy who felt nothing at lacing into the Premier's enemies with the vilest of personal insults.

Or weeping at the human price paid by the families of politicians, but only those politicians who aren't traitors and quislings. They apparently deserved none of the Whittle compassion.

That cartoon was just a cheap and easy poke. Most people looked at it and flipped the page without much of a thought.

The (delayed) reaction from the Danny Fannies is much more telling.

john said...

I'm ok with the cartoon. It's satire; get over it. The main stream media is all pablum for the most part anyway and just when someone puts some bite in an editorial cartoon the pc's jump all over him.

WJM said...

The Telegram owes this province and our premier an apology.

I can sort of understand why you say the Telegram owes the Premier an apology. I disagree. But I understand.

But why on earth would it have to apologize to the PROVINCE?

Peter L. Whittle said...

To each there own. I have am all for free speech but I think it was done in poor taste. I ran it yesterday to gauge some reactions. They were mixed.

As far as I am concerned it is right up there with putting the premier in league with Mussolini or Stalin.

It is an insult to our democracy to compare our premier with a person responsible for genocide in his own country and a state sponsor of terrorism all over the world. From where I sit it is an insult to each and every one of us. Thousands of our people have died in two world wars and other conflicts preserving and promoting democracy.

I am not for censorship but I certainly think that this cartoon was below the Telegram and in poor taste. An apology is in order or the paper needs to confirm that its editorial policy is that the Premier of this province is a dictator in league with the likes of Gadhafi.

As for Anon 7:16 comments. I was very clear in my post that Willaims' has a reputation of being a one man show r but hauling down a Canadian flag in a respectable manner or geting pissy with with a municipal politician (while a private citizen) is a far cry from genocide and terrorism. The issues are legitimate but the comparison is over the top.

I could care less if Williams was a democratically elected communist,a liberal or a PC; The elected premier of newfoundland and labrador should not be portrayed as a dictator in the same light as some one like Gadhafi.

Ed dare I cross the line but I still think that these people were quislings and traitors because they turned their backs on the people who they were supposed to represent. They were puppets for Ottawa. Quisling is a synonym for betrayer and that is exactly what that gang was and why they fled the scene or were thrown out of office by the people of Newfoundland for their traitorous behavior.


Anne said...

Tell the relatives of Pam Am Flight 103 that were blown out of the sky by terrorists sponsored by this mad man that the leader of any state, or province in the west is on an equal footing with his mad dog and see how they react. I doubt they will say suck it up, or find the satire entertaining. The fact is that this man has killed thousands of his own countrymen; sponsored and trained the IRA and radical terrorist organizations; no democratically elected leader should be compared to him. It is over the top and crosses a moral boundary.

WJM said...

Tell the relatives of Pam Am Flight 103 that were blown out of the sky by terrorists sponsored by this mad man that the leader of any state, or province in the west is on an equal footing with his mad dog and see how they react.

Right on Anne.

And while you're at it, tell anyone who died in the Norwegian resistance to Nazi occupation that someone, in a free and democratic society, who dares to hold a different opinion on a matter of public policy from the opinion (whatever it is on any given afternoon) held by Danny Williams, is on an equal footing with Vidkun Quisling.

Edward G. Hollett said...

You are all for free speech as long as it doesn't dare be free enough to offer on comment on Your Hero.

Free speech comes with conditions for you and the rest of the Fan Club. Free speech to you isn't free at all, which of course we know since Your Hero has already mused about getting rid of it.

And thank you Wally for noting in greater detail the hypocrisy shown in this post by Peter and Anne.

Mark said...

Why does the Telegram owe an apology to "the Province"?

Anonymous said...


I wonder if you replaced Danny with Clyde their hero would some of these windmill tilters be whistling the same for thought.

Fannious Dannious

Edward G. Hollett said...

Are you sending anonymous e-mails to yourself now, Peter?

Peter L. Whittle said...


Yes boy that is me!

Not everyone thinks your boy wonder Ed