Yesterday the Herald‘s Sideswipe column had a poke at tadpole ‘toon. Ana Samways writes:
The Greens’ cutting-edge media unit is springing into action in the lead-up to the election, offering a series of biting political cartoons called “Tadpole toon” on their usually informative blog (blog.greens.org.nz). There have been suggestions that humour and satire are not this party’s strong suit. Sideswipe asked Herald cartoonist Guy Body to critique. His assessment: “The worst one’s ‘Don the Dozer’… Exaggeration is what cartoonists do, but it’s histrionic to portray someone as being out to destroy the universe just because he’s a bit less green than yourself … Cartoons lacking impartiality just don’t work; readers tend to recoil from a cartoonist praising a party, or sparing it abuse. It’s the same with journalism – being a propagandist loses you credibility.” The cartoons will come out weekly, but once the campaign proper starts, they will be daily. Can’t wait.
I’m not sure whether Ana is disagreeing with Guy Body or being sarcastic, but frankly Guy has missed the point. He is drawing for a ‘independent’ media outlet, whereas we are doing what we do from the perspective of a political party, which by definition has a position and a bias.
The Herald has an interesting track record with its political cartoons. A couple of years ago they fired cartoonist Malcolm Evans for alleged anti-Semitism in his cartoons about the Middle East situation.
Apparently the Herald‘s editorial cartoonists have the subject matter and bias of their cartoons dictated to them by the editorial panel, whereas Tom Scott at The Dominion Post is free to draw what he likes. Seemingly, he truly does have the sort of independence that Guy is advocating.
Because the Greens are a biased collective too, we follow a similar route to the Herald in producing tadpole toon. The media team comes up with the angle, one of us writes it up and the artist is simply engaged as an illustrator. We take this approach because tadpole ‘toon is unashamedly a statement of the Green Party’s position. A visual media release, if you will.