The Internet Adventures of a Rogue Cartoonist

This week’s guest on Real Politik is political cartoonist Ben Garrison. In a sea of largely homogeneous editorial cartooning, Mr. Garrison brings a truly unique voice and vision. Presently a freelance commercial artist, Garrison’s first cartoons appeared in The San Angelo Standard Times in the early 1980s. He was also a graphic artist at the The San Antonio Express Newgarrison1s and The Seattle Post-Intelligencer.

In 2008, the big banks were bailed out, which served as Garrison’s wake-up call. Like many other outraged Americans, he wrote his senators and congressman, urging them vote against the bailout, but he was ignored. The bailout marked the point where Mr. Garrison felt he had to do something. He wanted to ring alarm bells and so he became a citizen muckraker. In 2009 he began drawing editorial cartoons that skewered the Federal Reserve and the growing police state in America. The Internet made it possible for his cartoons to be seen by millions all over the world. The Internet also made it possible for anonymous entities to deface his work, libel his name and make him into the most trolled cartoonist in the world.

Mr. Garrison’s wife, Tina Garrison, is also a cartoonist and together they began a web site in 2010 named “” It features a growling bulldog named “GRRR” who takes a bite out of tyranny. Their dog is doing the job as watchdog that the mainstream media now seems reluctant to do.

Ben has completed his first book titled, Rogue Cartoonist: The Internet Perils of a Citizen Muckraker, due to be release later in 2015. More information is available at


Interview Highlights

As noted above, Ben Garrison began to do editorial cartooning after a long hiatus. His main impetus for doing so was the outrage he shared with most Americans following the US government’s “too big to fail” bailout of investment banks. “When the bankers were bailed out in 2008,” he recalls searching for something to raise awareness about the country’s political atrophy. “‘The politicians aren’t listening to us.’ I think it was like 98% of the Americans who complained about this bailout and contacted their senators and congresspeople were against it, but we still got it anyway.”

That got me to thinking, “Well, what can I do besides voting–because voting is not working.” My father was a World War Two veteran, and he fought for his country. What did I ever do for my country? I’ve never done anything, except for voting and paying taxes. So, that’s when I decided I’m going to do something for my country, and I’m going to start drawing cartoons again. I had a crystallization of my political ideology, which I realized was libertarian. Also, I had my target. I was mad. I wanted to go to the source of a lot of the problems with big government, and that goes toward the Federal Reserve.”

What I realized also was that a lot of cartoonists were not touching that subject. It’s almost like it was a sacred cow. And I said, ‘Well, I’m going to go after the Federal Reserve, and I’m going to support Ron Paul, and draw pro-Ron Paul cartoons because he was running for president. That’s when it all sort of came together for me. And I realized how there’s the internet. I don’t have to have a publisher. I don’t have to an editor telling me this isn’t appropriate for the newspaper. So I had my forum, I had a free internet. There’s nothing to stop me, right?

While Garrison’s cartoons have earned substantial notoriety and even some acclaim on the internet, he believes that editorial cartoons, particularly those that truly skewer the powerful, are becoming a thing of the past. There were at one time thousands of newspapers cross the country, with major cities like New York and Chicago having a half dozen or more dailies. “In the golden age of newspapers,” he notes, “there were around 2,000 paid editorial cartoonists. Every newspaper had to have a cartoonist. They knew that was very effective for people who didn’t want to read all the grey on the editorial pages, they will look at the cartoons. That had a magnet-like effect for readership.”

Today, however, declining readerships combined with competition from the internet “I think there are 36 paid editorial cartoonists out there today,” Garrison points out.

We’ve gone from 2,000 to 36, and those are all old, and once they retire they’re not going to be replaced. Newspapers are going away and are being replaced by the internet. There’s also a decline in the content. I think cartoons sort of end up getting a homogeneity, and they ended up going for cheap gags and comedy. That’s one thing that turned me off, because I’m not a comedian. I don’t pretend to be funny. My cartoons for the most part aren’t funny. I don’t want to get little giggles for my cartoons. I want for them to be hard-hitting. A lot of that homogeneity in the cartoons was reinforced by Pulitzer Prize committees and just the general blandness of newspapers where editors did not want to take risks. They did not want to offend readers. They didn’t want to offend advertisers. So what’s [the safest route]? Just make a little cheap joke about something. So cartoons end up losing their steam. They’ve lost their punch. There are a great many exceptions, but generally speaking that’s what I think has happened.

The success of Garrison’s online political cartooning has not come without its drawbacks. In fact, he regards himself as being “the most trolled cartoonist in the world” and has had to battle a malicious campaign to deface his work and make the public believe that he is radical right wing white supremacist. “This trolling business started almost immediately” following his initial foray into online political cartooning in 2009. “My cartoons were being put on some respectable blogs–a lot of economic blogs–such as Judge Andew Napolitano. I was getting some notoriety and acclaim. Almost immediately, I started getting on my personal blog … this influx of Nazi messages talking about Jews. I was just overwhelmed by this. I didn’t have time to moderate all this so I ended public comments altogether. I thought, ‘Well, that’s that. I shut them up.’ But what I did was really made them mad, because then they said I was against free speech. This is a meme they say, because I don’t enjoy seeing my cartoons hacked up and turned into hate images, that I’m somehow against free speech. That’s a meme that started at 4-Chan back in 2009. I never heard of these sites–4-Chan and the Daily Stormer–I didn’t pay attention to the dark side of the internet.”

Despite his efforts to quell the attacks on his work and public persona, the trolls’ abuse only intensified.

Apparently they had threads running on me where they would deface my cartoons, and then they invented this meme of me as being this dark figure–this Nazi white supremacist. There’s this other artist–this anonymous artist in the 1990s–who created extremely repulsive racist and anti-semitic cartoons. He was too cowardly to put his real name on them, so he called himself “A. Wyatt Mann.” So what they would do is hack up these A. Wyatt Mann cartoons–or they’d take pieces of them–and then put them on my cartoons. They would then say, “This is the Ben Garrison original. The other Ben Garrison–the libertarian Ben Garrison–he’s fake. These are the real things.” They’re able to get away with this because I’m not a public figure. Nobody’s heard the name of Ben Garrison. Nobody’s knows who I am. But my cartoons started getting popular, and so they saw an opportunity [along the lines of], ‘Hey, we can trick the public into thinking the real Ben Garrison is this mass-murdering Nazi.

Garrison is the resident cartoonist for the Australia-based Online Hate Prevention Institute.

This is an early cartoon and I drew it quickly—in about three hours. I wish I had spent more time on it because it’s my most famous cartoon and it has been seen by people all over the world. Many have republished it on blogs and message boards…most recently on, which gets a lot of traffic. I got a very positive response from this one overall. It has even been translated into Spanish.
This one was also a big ‘hit.’ It is one of my most re-posted cartoons.
A cartoon critical of government worship. Citizens expect ‘Big Guv’ to solve all their problems. Judge Andrew Napolitano once republished this on his blog.
This was one of my more controversial cartoons. I should have included “GMO foods” as one of the ropes. Americans have been sleeping and accepting all sorts of abuse to their liberty, but the threat of gun grabbing seems to wake them up.
‘Authority Man’ was another popular one I drew. It is critical of the militarization of police and their general decline in attitude toward citizens.
Americans aren’t paying attention and when that happens they get abused by ‘Big Guv.’

al_gore_climate_change (2)

This one went with an essay I wrote for the Online Hate Prevention Institute. It might sound ironic for me to be against anonymous hate speech, but I consider it legal, not ‘free.’ They spew hate online but are too cowardly to attach their own names to what they post. (They often paste my name on their hate screeds). This kind of cyber bullying is becoming a big problem on the Internet.


27 thoughts on “The Internet Adventures of a Rogue Cartoonist”

  1. wow. It’s lucky we have you to find these guys, James, since they don’t get a viewing in the MSM. However I object to the term ‘muckraker.’ This was a derogatory term coined by Theodore Roosevelt in 1906, if I remember right, and then taken up by dissidents. I think ‘truther’ is a much less offensive term. More important, it is a more holistic one, and applies to print, symbols, images, comment, and theory. Since one is going to be denigrated and stigmatized by power, one might as well use those concepts and pre-concepts that serves our interests, rather than theirs.

    1. Mark this is in response to all of your recent racist commentary on “whites”

      IDK where to begin, sigh. This is going to offend you, I can already tell. Look, white people don’t ever think about race unless someone brings it up. We are trained to ignore it or be “color blind.” I understand things in prison are vastly different, but I will continue on in regards to the those who aren’t incarcerated.

      I don’t get offended when someone says cracker. It means nothing to me. I “get it” that derogatory use of any pejorative will offend some, but isn’t that the intent? Any other use of supposedly racial terms is moot to me and should be to most if it weren’t for PC behavior. I despise PC behavior and try to not acknowledge it, however it is hard to not to accept it as a mandatory social policy without being cast out.

      My point is – I sometimes think you focus a little too much on race. Yes there is divide and rule going on, but is the racial angle the ONLY way to look at it? Surely we can see that the Ukraine regime is more a terrorist group than anything else? I look at them like they are just another CIA op like ISIS, even though I’m sure they will take whatever bad publicity they can get.

      Humans instinctively group together with those who “look” the same. This is due to evolution and is unavoidable from birth. This is also “sane” behavior that is essential for survival. It is terrible that we don’t all look the same, but since we differ, racial grouping is a permanent feature of our condition. No amount of PC behavior will root it out unless the whole world becomes a melting pot (entirely possible).

      I do appreciate your slant, but the reason I posted was that I was actually concerned that your opinion is probably hurting more than helping. For example, instead of educating us as to the tactics used against us, all I see (from your posts) is imminent war against our own fellow americans of differing ethnicities.

      I hope this is not the case, however I am becoming more and more prepared for racial tensions to burst. I’m just wondering if bringing it up all the time only perpetuates intolerant attitudes and behavior?

  2. If I can interject something off-topic in regard to this particular post (not sure where else to put it), I noticed that Google has amended its policy in regard to Blogger. They now say that they will be censoring anyone who posts “sexual” materials or sexually explicit materials/photos within their Blogger account. That type of content will be put behind a wall that only selected “users” (that the blogger signifies) will be able to access. The problem I see with this is they, Google, shall be the sole determinant, via an algorithm I assume, as to what is “sexual” materials or posts, or by (again, I assume) others “tipping” them off as to “sexual” posts/blogs. This seems to be what YouTube (Google) does with “offensive” materials uploaded to YT.

    And therein lies the problem, or the “cloak,” of censorship.

    Let me just say, I avoid these types of blogs or web sites on the Net that contain sexually explicit content. I don’t care what people post. If I’m not interested in it, I move on. I am my own censor.

    However, here’s my puzzle about this new Blogger policy that perhaps we all should ponder. I received the notification from Google about this change in policy to one of my Gmail accounts. I have in the past used this account to subscribe and visit various YouTube accounts that fall out of mainstream media, but provide alternative takes on news events (those here at Memory Hole Blog know what I’m talking about). I vaguely recall using this same Gmail account to open up a Blogger account, but never did much with it.

    In reading the notice from Google about the Blogger upcoming change, it went on to say that MY Gmail/Blogger account had been “one identified” as possibly being in violation of their new policy! It pretty much warned me that my Blogger account was going to go behind a wall and suggested that I might want to take another look at my account (words to that effect).

    Scratching my head, I went to my Gmail/Blogger account. NOTHING had ever been uploaded to that Blogger account, therefore the public, if they stumbled across it, would have seen a blank page. However, what WAS there was a draft of an essay from about a year and a half ago that I thought about posting to my blog. Guess what the topic was? The Boston Marathon. I was simply ruminating on various videos I’d seen at the time and posing rhetoric questions as to why the MSM did not question certain “facts” from that day. Again, this was a DRAFT and it was never uploaded. The only person who saw it was me – and Google and their algorithm, apparently.

    Yet, my blog had been singled out for one of those emails from Google telling me that MY blog was questionable and would be put behind a wall when the new rules were enforced in March.

    So, Google has a new policy regarding sexual content on Blogger? It would seem that it will be going far beyond censoring photos of breasts and penises. Chip, chipping away at alternative news content might very well be what their true intentions are.

      1. Hmmm. One does wonder, Anne. Google, as usual, seems to be saying one thing, while the true intent is clearly another. They are preparing to mess with and confuse Blogger just like they have with YouTube. Has there been a great outcry over sexually explicit Blogger accounts? If there has, this is the first I’ve heard of it. I think their new policy is a smokescreen that will be used to censor content of an alternative nature, and therefore, it will be more difficult for the information to get “out there.” Again, just like on YouTube.

        1. Google is building large new quarters close to Los Angeles International Airport. The area is already being billed as Silicon Beach.

          The Anthony “Wieners” of the world will have to find other outlets.

        1. 🙂 Long time, recynd! Thought you were a goner… How ya been? Have you ran across anything good to read lately?

        2. I’ve been lurking more than posting, for a couple of reasons. First and foremost is that I finally got a smartphone (iPhone 6+) for Christmas…I was one of the last holdouts. Anyway, I’m not on my desktop much anymore, and while I love the convenience of the phone, I HATE typing on the damned thing (and it IS damnable!).

          The other reason is that I got overwhelmed by the number of comments a few months back. I don’t ever want to miss anything, so I read everything (or try to)…and it was just too much. Also, I’m mostly out of my league here, research-wise, and don’t have much to add.

          This is the only blog I read faithfully…no plans on going anywhere just yet ;).

        3. Always found it quite bizarre that we are supposed to believe college kids created Facebook that now has billions of members.

          Am convinced most of what is broadcast to the public is more testing to see how dumbed down we are.

          How many folks will poor ice water over their heads instead of giving to a well meaning charity? A bunch!

          Many reports the ” what color is this dress’ meme, brought the internet to a crawl.

          When our corporate internet was in it’s infancy state, a single user could bring the whole system down by replying to all on a corporate message with a large attachment. They do not need to declare the internet off limits, they could simply disable it with huge data dumps. We have all seen how trolls have in effect done this.

  3. Sex, Ramona, is the usual pretext for slandering truthers who oppose the power system, or to bait-and-switch to repress people politics. Scott Ritter, Spizer, and the head of the IMF all fell into honey traps after bucking city hall. That they would go after truth about the Marathon Bombings is a dead give away as to what they really want. Frankly, I don’t think the internet is long for the American people, given the rapidity of the police state’s progression.

    The cartoonist Garrirson was strongly anti-racist which was why he was attacked by the Nazis. This kind of thing will probably get worse in the near future with American power supporting the Nazis in Ukraine. I wouldn’t be surprised if there was a covert support for the White movement by US power in USA as well, it appears to be growing in the American consciousness. Although the growing American police state is not traditional fascism, a racist movement would help to implant it, and the cops and others shooting unarmed non-White people might be covertly encouraged on some level. Certainly it has affected MHB commenters.

    1. I agree, Folktruther. They’re continuing to chip away at our full access to the Internet, the last bastion of citizen “freedom” and discourse (and the vessel with which we unveil TPTB’s manipulation of us all). And, but of course, they will succeed.

  4. See my Feb. 23 comment on your article about gov mandated adult vaccinations. I must have been reading your mind. LOL !

    ‘Jihadi John’ killer from Islamic State beheading videos named by media

    So much for Obama’s theory if the Jihad’s had College and Jobs they wouldn’t be bloody murderers. HAHA

    This guy is rich from a wealthy family with a college degree.

    We should cancel our plans to put Walmarts and McDonalds all through the mid east to employ them…what a farce. They are all CIA.

    If this clown was really captured by an honest US agent, he would confess No One was Ever beheaded in the Film Studio known as SITE.|maing11|dl1|sec1_lnk2%26pLid%3D619429

  6. The part of the conversation about newspapers and their future brought to mind Mark Steyn, an old Fleet Street denizen, and his frequent observation about why newspapering in America is in such a dismal state. He likes not talk about how unreadable our dying “monodailies” are, in contrast to the vibrancy of the trade over in England, where there are lots of papers competing with each other: they are written not to drain the content of all interestingness, but to entice people to read them.

    Mark traces this horrible state of affairs to the Columbia School of Journalism, and its many imitators across the land. These “J schools” actually teach aspiring reporters to write excruciatingly boring prose. They are taught that the most important word in the language is “alleged” and its various forms. A young black male with a Nigerian accent is seen repeatedly stabbing an old lady to death with a shiv while shouting allahu akbar!, and then riffling through her purse, leaving fingerprints, dripping blood, and the CSJ graduate working at the Daily Advertiser will write: “a youth is alleged to allegedly be involved with an alleged murder of an alleged senior citizen; several alleged witnesses allegedly were present at the scene.” You try to read worthless drivel like that a couple of times, “stories” that provide none of the useful information available to the reporter, and you quite reasonably stop reading that publication.

    In England, they are taught to punch it up–because there is real competition, and they want eyeballs. So they do real reporting, and make it sound exciting. Alas, over here, long gone are the days depicted in the fantastic Doris Day movie Teacher’s Pet. So sad.

    Here is a typical one of Mark’s asides on the subject:

    “If American monodailies weren’t determined to die as the most boring papers in the English-speaking world, The New York Times would hire Mr Sailer as their movie critic.” (

    The problem is not the internet. They have the internet in Britain, too. The problem is the academicization of “journalism,” the squeezing out of all the joy of the chase, and the pleasure of language in reporting. Kids should never have gotten the idea that they have to go to college to become a reporter, much less have the devils who run the Ivy League schools remake the field. For it to work, it has to be through apprenticeship, the carrying on of the tradition by DOING it, and being savagely critiqued by the guys (there were no gals in the biz in those days) showing you the ropes. These guys smoked cigars at their desks, and there was a bottle of whiskey in the lower drawer. And they all hated the swells they were writing about, not wishing to be invited to society cocktail parties.

    That’s why newspapering has died in America. Once the young got out of the habit, they learned that the unshaved cigar-choppers with the bottle in the lower drawer who hate the swells still exist–they write on the internet.

    Columbia chased them away.

  7. The oligarchical police state being established in the United States under the War on Terrorism is not yet a fascist police state. However it threatens to become one, and the Nazi attacked on; the Garrisons cartoons is evidence of it. What a previous commenter Sue used to call the White movement is exploding now, driven by the racial conflict that appears to be staged. It plays on the racial violence that has been conditioned in the American people, largely implicitly, a kind of unconscious lynch mentality that can blossom into mass violence.

    The racial violence is funded by both sides of the oligarchy, by Soros in Ukraine and East Europe and by the Koch brothers in the Patriot movement in the US. Fox News fosters the Conservatives and the NY Times the Progressives. Both foster racial violence, in foreign as well as domestic policy. Among MHB commenters, White racism is promoted chiefly by Patrick and Pendanic, although supported by others as well. Not one commenter consistently opposes White racism, and this tends to be the rule among Americans that I talk to as well.

    And that is what is so dangerous. The fascists have a firm racist position against non-Whites, appealing to the fears of Whites as the US historically becomes a non-White nation. And anti-racists tend to be tepid, infirm, uncertain, and fearful in fighting it. This occurs because of the historical ideological condition of the US as it loses world power, and the rise of the power of non-Whites in the world. Non-Whites include about 90% of the world’s people.

    So Americans tend to identify with White American power rather than the American and the earth’s people. The capitalist oligarchy that has ruled us historically has been a White ruling class. As was the professional-managerial class from which their truth professionals are recruited and embedded in the media or other truth organs. So the powerful tend to be White and the people more non-White, although the image is broken up by appointment to power positions of non-Whites who support operatively banksters and militarism.

    As the economic inequality increases, the power inequality will increase as well, and America has had a very violent past. Often the past is prelude to the future.

  8. Mr. Garrison – Thank you for speaking the truth through your gifts of seeing reality and being able to depict it.

    Do not let the evil troll race baiters touch your soul or slow you down, perhaps Dr. Tracy has some advice as he does a stellar job in eliminating them.

    Wonder if you are any relation to another hero – the Jim Garrison who came very close to exposing the murder plot of the great President Kennedy.

    The liberal run cities of Chicago & Detroit appear to be a microcosm of what the country’s destiny will be. Seems this article depicting the hundreds of billions in debt compared to the dribble of a 67% increase in property taxes, would make an interesting graphic.

    Perhaps the next mayor could use it as a campaign poster.

  9. Gran1t3’s comment about whether I’d disappeared or not got me to thinking: I’d actually miss many of you if, one day, POOF, you were gone. Are there other sites some of you sometimes post on, or at least read regularly? Is there a way, somehow, we could find each other in the event this site went down? I could find Patrick, since he uses his real name and is a published author, and Dino (since she bravely revealed who she is), but I think many of us post here using a name specific to this site.

    For example, for whomever is interested, I post most places using either “Recynd” or “Recynd77” (the “77” isn’t my birth or graduation year, btw). My YouTube (and Google+) account is under that name (Recynd77), and will remain for as long as we’re allowed to post using pseudonyms, and as long as I don’t get kicked off (I don’t post videos, so I think I’m safe).

    I could be convinced to post my real name; that way, I could be found on Facebook or LinkedIn. However, I don’t want a Google search of my real name to bring up every comment I’ve made using my pseudonym, even though I try to always post as though I’m not anonymous…it’s got more to do with the subject matter I’m commenting on (I don’t need to explain here, right?).

    I don’t want to jeopardize anyone’s privacy or breach boundaries, but it would be a shame to lose the connection we have, especially due to an external threat. I think we’ve got a potentially valuable resource here, and I’d hate to lose it. Thoughts?

  10. Some may remember what I’ve said many times about humor. When we complain they feel powerful. When we mock them they get angry. It is always much more effective to laugh at them than it is to simply complain.

    If you laugh at them and turn your back they tend to shrink.

    1. Ben Garrison’s cartoons are excellent. Much appreciated.

      This is humorous too – laughing at the hoax:

      John B. Wells/Caravan To Midnight episode from 2/22/15
      Boston Marathon Bombing Hoax Deconstructed.
      The funny ozzie participates.
      John B. Wells and Caravan To Midnight encourage you to PLEASE SHARE THIS CTM YOUTUBE VIDEO with EVERYONE you know who is unaware that the Boston Marathon Bombing was a HOAX.

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