Happy Elephant Day, Republicans (courtesy of Thomas Nast)!

Nast elephant

I learned this from a Tweet today:

On this day in 1874, in a Thomas Nast cartoon, the Republican Party was symbolized as an elephant for the first time

You know, that’s gotta be a bitter pill for some in the GOP to swallow — their symbol was given them by a hero of the MSM.

I must remember to mention this to Robert Ariail, who has a special bond to Nast — he was judged best cartoonist in the world in 1997 by the Overseas Press Club, which gave him their prestigious Thomas Nast Award.

By the way, here’s an explanation of the Nast cartoon that ran on Nov. 7 1874.

5 thoughts on “Happy Elephant Day, Republicans (courtesy of Thomas Nast)!

  1. Juan Caruso

    Brad, apparently the MSM was more bipartisan in Thomas Nast’s day than it has been for some time lately. Nast is ALSO credited with the Democrat’s donkey (originally a “jackass”).

    “..cartoonist Thomas Nast is credited with making the donkey the recognized symbol of the Democratic Party. It first appeared in a cartoon in Harper’s Weekly in 1870, and was supposed to represent an anti-Civil War faction. But the public was immediately taken by it and by 1880 it had already become the unofficial symbol of the party.” source http://www.infoplease.com/askeds/donkey-elephant.html

    1. Brad Warthen Post author

      Actually, the donkey HAD been used previously to represent the Democrats, but Nast popularized the symbol. The elephant for the Republicans was entirely his own invention.

      And I’m afraid you have it backwards when you say, “apparently the MSM was more bipartisan in Thomas Nast’s day than it has been for some time lately.” No, in Nast’s day, newspapers were wholly, openly, rabidly partisan. They were the information organs of political parties.

      The nonpartisan newspaper is largely a creation of the 20th century.

      1. Juan Caruso

        Licensing journalists, as I have long proposed, would prohibit “wholly, openly, rabidly partisan” bias not only of newspapers, but of NPR lawyers like Charlie Rose and Bill Moyers, as well.

        If CPA are required to report with objectivity, surely news reporters should based on audience size alone.

        1. Brad Warthen Post author

          So… you’d have the GOVERNMENT decide who was and wasn’t a professional, unbiased reporter, eh?

          I don’t think many people would agree with you that that’s a great idea. Far better to let the marketplace decide. Trusted journalists get read; others don’t…

        2. Norm Ivey

          Wow. The last group I want regulated by partisans in government would be journalists. Why would I want anybody telling me what I can or cannot read? I can determine for myself–with the help of other independent journalists and people whose opinions I respect–which ones are worthy of my time and attention.

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