Cloudflare TV

Project Galileo Spotlight: Cagle Cartoons

Presented by Amada Echeverría, Daryl Cagle
Originally aired on 

Join Cloudflare’s Amada Echeverria in conversation with Daryl Cagle, Founder at Cagle Cartoons, a Project Galileo customer, as they discuss how the Project Galileo Program has helped safeguard his website. Daryl will show us some of his favorite cartoons, and also speak to a controversial piece that once got him in trouble with Mexico.


Transcript (Beta)

Great, looks like we're live. Hi everyone, welcome to Project Galileo Spotlight. I'm Amada Echeverría.

I'm part of the field marketing and events team here at Cloudflare and today we have the opportunity to speak to Daryl Cagle and he's the founder at Cagle Cartoons, a Project Galileo customer and today we'll be chatting about a few topics, the importance of cartoons, their history and the sometimes hostile reactions they receive, the cyber threats they face and the role Project Galileo plays there.

We just want to remind you that you can ask questions.

We'll be saving some time at the end to respond to them. So right beneath the Cloudflare TV player you'll see a banner inviting you to submit them so you can use the email address livestudio at

So Daryl, thank you so much for being here with us today.

Thank you Amada and thanks to Cloudflare because Cloudflare really is our hero.

I don't think our small business, Cagle Cartoons and you know half the newspapers in America's cartoonists and and cartoonists around the world, we all depend on Cloudflare to make this possible.

We couldn't afford to do this without Cloudflare. You really are our heroes and heroes to lots of small journalism firms that come under lots of hacker attacks and really couldn't survive without the you know the very powerful tools that you you give us that we could never afford on our own.

Thanks for the kind words and so glad to hear we can be of service and I just want to give a little bit of context on Project Galileo for those of you who don't know.

It was founded in 2014 and it's our response to cyber attacks launched against important yet vulnerable targets like artistic groups, humanitarian organizations and the voices of political dissent.

So the goal is to equip politically and artistically important organizations and journalists with the powerful tools to defend themselves against attacks that would otherwise censor their work.

So this is technology already used by our enterprise customers and we're giving it to organizations like yours at no cost.

So without further ado we can start the interview and so Daryl and we've chatted about this, we chatted a little bit about this in in the green room but so oftentimes your sites are attacked, brought down and at worst entirely compromised.

Can you speak to some of these experiences and to your cyber security posture before and after Project Galileo?

Well most of the attacks are denial of service attacks where you know computers around the world all send bogus traffic to us and overwhelm our servers and those those happen for us actually every few days and they are they have just over the years become more and more severe and it seems clear to us because of the timing of many of these attacks that they're related to third world despots who are insulted by cartoons of them.

You know we represent cartoonists from all over the world and and you know we draw cartoons that leaders around the world aren't going to like.

It's it's hard to know where the attacks originate from because they're distributed from computers around the world but what Cloudflare does is it it's got this huge supercomputer that calculates and remembers which which of these pings are from real places and not real places and it sorts them out and it allows us to turn off regions around the world where the attacks are coming from and it just gives us all kinds of crazy sophisticated tools that we would never be able to manage on our own.

We are a target you know there are there are these characters around the world that just hate editorial cartoons.

Editorial cartoons cause riots around the world.

Cartoonists are like the canaries in the journalism coal mine.

People the the governments get mad at the cartoons before they get mad at words and and we we suffer from that and it's you know it's all around the world and it's terrible but Cloudflare saves our butts and I I can't imagine that we could ever stay in business without Cloudflare so thank you.

And thank you thank you for the great work that you do and for the poignant social critiques in all your work and I'm just always so impressed with cartoons and in your work and how you've been able to communicate so much without words.

I was reading one of your blogs and you wrote that the best cartoons have no words and I'm used to so many of the ones that I I see do so I I can't I can imagine why politicians get so offended when they see themselves reflected so accurately without even the use of words so um so.

Well I should describe what we do.

We're we're what's called a newspaper syndicate and we represent about 70 cartoonists from around the world about 35 American about 35 international cartoonists who are tops in their countries and we sell that as a package at a very low price to newspapers about 700 newspapers in the United States which is just about half of the pay daily paid circulation newspapers in the United States so if you see a cartoon in a newspaper it probably comes through us and that's what people don't like they perceive us to be the source of these things and why we're subject to all these hacker attacks we get lots of different kinds of attacks and creative attacks I I think I mentioned we've we've had them come in and actually wipe our servers completely on a couple of times that we we were down for a few days um we have 270 ,000 high-res images in our database so to wipe our servers is a big job and then to build the servers back up is a big job too um and you know they accomplish this and you know hackers hackers give us some humility we know they can get in and do these things but you know by and large they're not bringing us down because of Cloudflare and we love you guys.

Great I'm actually going to start looping some of these great images that you're referencing um and I'd also wanted to you know ask you a little bit more besides cyber attacks some of the uh the other ways in which your cartoonists are attacked and censored and some of the other threats that you face.

Well these are difficult times for editorial cartoonists around the world particularly because we're seeing the decline of newspapers and newspapers have always been for newspaper editorial cartoonists where we make our living it's never been more difficult to make a living as an editorial cartoonist than it is now as our clients are disappearing and uh you know never have our cartoons been seen by more people than they are now because of the Internet but you know the Internet has never developed a culture of paying for cartoons and our paying clients are are dwindling and getting poorer especially with the pandemic which has taken away their advertising uh so it's it's uh it's difficult times for us um and around the world there's a growing intolerance of uh of uh editorial cartoonists and in countries around the world more than half of the population of the world lives in a nation where cartoonists are not allowed to draw the leader of their nation I think that's just horrible um we see cartoonists uh imprisoned and cartoonists are uh often saddled with uh lawsuits to chill speech lawsuits from the government one of our cartoonists was sued by the prime minister of Slovakia for insulting him in a cartoon uh we have another cartoonist who was uh imprisoned and facing trial uh it's just uh it's a scary world there's a cartoonist in Bangladesh that we're all concerned about now Ahmed Kabir Kishore who's imprisoned for uh the last 10 months for a cartoon he drew um the world is scary for editorial cartoonists um it's awful you know we we make the despots mad um and uh I'm lucky to be here in America because we don't really have to worry for our safety here like cartoonists around the world do um it's the cartoonists around the world that are the real heroes thank you for sharing that um and I you know also wanted to ask you about maybe some of the the cartoons looping here I'm sharing my screen well I'm I in addition to running this little syndicate I I draw cartoons myself and these are just some of my own cartoons that that you're looping through uh I have the benefit of uh putting my name on the business calling the syndicate kegel cartoons and that makes it seem like I'm more important than I actually am so uh it gets me to uh a little bit of boost for promoting my own work but we do have uh 60 cartoonists in our package the way a package works is a a newspaper subscribes to a batch of of cartoons from the syndicate it's like an all-you-can-eat buffet and then every day they'll get like a dozen cartoons that they consider and they get to pick the cartoon that uh that they like the best and uh so it's uh it's a cheap and easy way for newspapers to do cartoons compared to the old days when they used to subscribe to individual cartoonists for about the same price as they subscribe to 60 cartoonists today okay great um and since I'm Mexican I definitely wanted to ask you about your famous Mexican flag cartoon um that was so controversial and also a bit more about um some of the the work that your other cartoonists in Mexico do and I'll share those images as well so um I I was reading your blog and you said that the image appeared at the same time as the president at the time state of the union address and some of the conservative newspapers kind of wanted to you know make him look bad so they used your image and it was sort of and spread across Mexico on many all over the media and um also caused quite a bit of uproar in Mexico and consequently in the U.S.

um so I was wondering if you could tell us a little bit more about that and definitely I will also share your um clip from CNN.

Well this was a few years ago and uh it it made a kerfuffle uh the government of Mexico didn't like it and they complained to uh the state department in Washington they complained to MSNBC which was uh my uh my um home publication at the time and uh it's just kind of crazy uh you know a large part of what editorial cartoonists do is we take uh symbols and we uh we altered the symbols to make the point that we want to make and one symbol that we use is flags and lots of people in lots of places don't like the flag of their uh their country to be um uh disturbed by an editorial cartoonist this was after a mass uh shooting by drug dealers in in Mexico I and the violence there was just terrible so I drew this and it ended up on the front pages of newspapers across Mexico and um but I should say my editors at at MSNBC didn't really care and all the the car a whole bunch of cartoonists in Mexico drew support of cartoons so it was uh it it didn't turn out to be a big issue like uh cartoonists around the world who are actually threatened by cartoons that shouldn't be a big problem.

Okay um yeah so I I want to definitely uh share share your part of your interview at least I thought it was amazing um so here we go of their flag how would you behave how would you respond they are asking if they did this to the American stars and stripes interesting question interesting controversy that's why it's number one we'll be right back you know on our controversy list tonight welcome back everyone I'm Ray Sanchez it involves something I'm sorry oh I think there's enough of that that's just craziness and uh so much of these controversies are really what to do about nothing okay all right you don't have to play the whole thing but I thought it was great um it was crazy that it went on for so long yeah so I also um definitely wanted to discuss changing trends in cartooning um can you speak to some of the trends in cartooning over the last decade as you as you see them uh well the big trend for us is the decline of newspapers and that's been very difficult for cartoonists uh because the Internet hasn't developed a culture of paying for content um and so we're seeing our paying clients decline and cartoonists are having a more difficult time making a living uh in the old days cartoonists used to work as employees for newspapers and that's pretty much gone now uh around the world where cartoonists suffer from lawsuits that are meant to chill them uh they used to have newspaper employers who would uh defend them against these lawsuits uh I mentioned our cartoonists in Slovakia who was sued by the prime minister well he was working for a newspaper the newspaper defended him but uh you know that's uh that's just not the way it it is so much anymore and it's more dangerous for cartoonists as there are more threats and uh more difficult to make a living but um you know uh the cartoonists uh love what they do and we think that what we do is really important you know go to some place like Egypt they'll where they've got 30 daily newspapers pick them up and almost all of them have editorial cartoons on the front page in most places around the world where there are editorial cartoonists the editorial cartoonist is the most important uh most seen voice in in in their paper um and uh you know around the the Internet our cartoons become memes and uh more people see them than ever before uh what we do is is more important now than I think than ever before now that journalists everywhere are under attack uh so much more now um it's a scary time but I think it's a time where editorial cartoons are especially important and again let me get back to thinking uh project Galileo and Cloudflare because uh uh you're really stepping up in a place where uh defending uh uh small journalists is is really important and uh uh you know we we'd be lost without you guys because we we couldn't stand up to the attacks you guys are great thank you and and so is your organization um and I I was I was reading in um on your blog that when your syndicated column that in and I'll just read straight uh from it since this is part of a trend and how the public interacts um with cartoons and cartoonists and perceived offenses so you wrote that in the old days readers would write thoughtful letters to editor of their newspaper now readers expect to interact in real time with the cartoonist they want to strike back and get retribution for the perceived perceived offense a few hot button topics always get responses Mexican immigration abortion gun control and other topics and the emails are always the same punish fire educate the ignorant racist cartoonist ban the topic in apologize so I'm wondering if um as the editor if you are get messages like this um from time to time and what those look like you know I tend to get that because I I read the little syndicate and I'm perceived to be the guy who can fire a cartoonist and uh people don't really want to write to make their argument they want to punish the people that uh disagree with them so I get lots of demands to fire cartoonists it's uh it's crazy the polarization and the anger of people now and cartoons draw that out another way that that's affecting our profession is that the declining newspapers are more timid now and editors are are shying away from cartoons that express strong opinions we see that as we you know we we distribute a whole lot of cartoons and we track the statistics of how many newspapers are reprinting each cartoon and we can see that the cartoons that are uh expressing little or no opinion and are just funny are the ones that newspapers really want to print with the cartoons that cartoonists really want to draw uh hitting people over the head with their their uh strong clear views are the cartoons that are hardest to get reprinted there also used to be a perception that since there are so many more liberal cartoonists than conservative cartoonists that conservative cartoonists were more widely reprinted just because of supply and demand so many little newspapers are in uh rural and suburban areas that are that are red and trumpy but in fact that's not true we find that both the conservative and the liberal papers prefer the same cartoons which are the cartoons that don't express an opinion at all even if it's the preconceived notion of the the editor to be conservative or liberal um so uh you know that's kind of a surprise that's not what cartoonists think is happening they uh they like to think that it's their point of view that's being uh suppressed and in fact it's any point of view just because it's a point of view and that's that's frustrating but i think that's one of the differences that we're seeing with newspapers and the decline of newspapers where they're ultra sensitive about losing uh losing readers who might be offended by cartoons and cartoons are the first thing to offend um so it's really very frustrating to the culture of the editorial cartoonists because we all want to be uh macho and impress our views on others that's what's rewarding about what we do it's why we keep with it even when it's not a a viable uh way to make a living because we just love doing this and uh it's all very frustrating um of course it's not that way on the Internet on the Internet people love strong views that reinforce their existing views the stronger the better and they just they they just love that so uh you know you can make up for uh feeling dismissed in newspapers by the love you get on the Internet well that's that's just so unfortunate you know the decline in in cartoons that actually express an opinion as opposed to you know some cutesy drawing or not cutesy but something just funny i think um i hope that that's a pendulum swings the other way and we have more more strong opinions um soon and i also wanted to show i just wanted everyone to know when i look to the left i'm getting ready to share my screen not just looking away but i wanted to show some of the um north north korea cartoons and and talk a little bit um about them and i know that you experienced a huge ddos attack about a week after north korea's hack of sony pictures when your front page was all kim jong-un bashing cartoons um and the attacks and i can't always tell where the attacks come from but you know it seems like they're related to some of this content and some of these incidents yeah you know the hackers do a good job of covering their tracks the attacks come distributed from all around the world although they do tend to come from particular countries one thing that Cloudflare does is it allows us to block particular regions where uh the attacks are coming from most and i hate doing that because uh i want um you know i want everybody to see our cartoons and some of those regions are places where they should see cartoons the most but uh you know we got to do that we also have countries around the world that block us you know you can't you can't see our sites in pakistan or in iran uh but uh you know it's that's regrettable anyway uh yes after the sony attack uh by north korea about a week later which is the lead the lead the lag time that you see for editorial cartoons our whole sites were just about nothing but kim jong-un cartoons like the ones you're looking at now and um we don't we don't get a lot of clues about who is uh attacking us but you know you can relate it to events like this one which was pretty clear and uh this was uh this was the biggest uh denial of service attack we'd ever gotten up to this time and it uh it was bad and it took us down and uh you know now with Cloudflare a huge denial of service attack doesn't take us down if it's really really huge for about two or three seconds on the page you'll get a little uh graphic that says uh Cloudflare is checking you out for just a second wait a minute and then then the site will come up you'll you'll see that every so often but back in uh back in this time we didn't have Cloudflare and we were just uh taken down when these things happened um so uh and we've seen a greater frequency of these kinds of attacks and a greater frequency of the severity of the attacks uh since then now it's just really uh very common and it happens all the time and you know i guess it's just the nature of what we do that we're offensive to third world despots but we love being offensive to third world despots and we've got to thank Cloudflare for that yeah absolutely and um i also wanted to talk about um the the attack you mentioned um the email attack where hackers added um many email addresses oh well that's that's a different kind of attack you know we get lots of different creative kinds of attacks and sometimes they take us down and i gave you that example because that's not the kind of attack that Cloudflare defends its on uh the most common attacks are these denial of service attacks but we had one interesting attack that really hurt us uh we a large part of what we do is we do a daily cartoon uh newsletter you can sign up for you go to you'll see it pop up and sign up for the free email newsletter that's what keeps our fans coming back to the sites and looking at cartoons it churns them and we tell them about the new things on the sites well we had about a hundred thousand um opt-in subscribers to that list and then over the course of about 10 months the hackers slowly every day manually added more legitimate email addresses to our list and we were unavailable unaware of this and so after about 10 months we had 800,000 valid email addresses that the newsletter was going out to 700,000 of them never signed up for the email and they started complaining to their Internet service providers about these emails i never subscribed to and we got blacklisted by everybody which took us a whole long time to fix that mess and get rid of the blacklisting and then we realized that we had to stop doing email servers ourselves and we started doing everything with MailChimp which has better security than we could manage and it was uh it was an example of how they'll really take a lot of time and go to a lot of effort and try to hurt us because we don't have salacious emails like sony and we don't keep credit card information on the site the only thing they can do is take us down they can uh delete our servers and keep this down for a few days they can corrupt the email list and get us blacklisted they can uh but when they throw these denial of service attacks which are the easiest things to hit us with um that's where Cloudflare defends us and that's what so you know 99 of the attacks are um but they are you know they're very motivated and creative and uh we um we have to have some humility about it because you know frankly there's only so much we could do but uh you know with Cloudflare we're doing a lot and we appreciate you guys so a big reason i'm here is to say thank you and to say that uh uh you know these editorial cartoons that you see in the newspapers you have a lot to thank uh Cloudflare for that because uh our business couldn't exist without Cloudflare we couldn't these are these are the kinds of uh services that the biggest corporate corporations in america use to defend themselves that uh they're just uh beyond the budget of a of tiny little cartoonists in a shrinking industry and and uh you give us the the best tools of the world and uh that means a lot so thank you so glad we could help so we only have two minutes left um ben i see that we have some questions one of them says this is great smiley face and it's from my dad so and the other one says given great session given the decline of newspapers have you seen much potential for cartoonists to use new platforms like patreon to generate income and we only have a minute yes a number of our cartoons are using patreon and patreon is very nice um and uh uh you know we're hopeful about that and uh uh that's that's becoming a another home and another income stream for them so we love patreon yeah i do too and definitely have supported some some artists there and so thank you so much for your time and takeaways for everyone subscribe on cagle .com support your cartoonists on patreon and and continue to to support cartoons and daryl thank you so much for your time thank you so much amara thank you for being here and i and i hope um in the future we can continue to have conversations with some of your colleagues and some of the cartoonists that you represent i think it the work that you do makes for very interesting conversations on on many levels um culturally socially and hope we get to tackle lots of interesting topics together let's do it great so at the risk of being cut off abruptly i'll go ahead and end the session thank you so much um for your time and actually i'm not sure they'll like that since this is running 24 7 and constantly so talking for 21 more seconds well i enjoyed this amada it's very nice that you're going to have more shows with more editorial cartoonists because uh Cloudflare is very important to us and we really appreciate you thank you daryl you