The Syracuse Post Standard censored the comic strip Doonesbury today–the one you see above. This week’s strips were dedicated to lampooning the current tendency of Republican lawmakers to place ever more restrictive conditions on women seeking to have an abortion. The strips are, as you may imagine, quite controversial. Many newspapers across the country have chosen to run the strips on their editorial page or even opt out of the week’s strips entirely.
Garry Trudeau remains among America’s most trenchant political commentators and satirists. He admits that periodically getting his strips yanked is “an occupational hazard.” My irritation with the Post Standard’s reaction is twofold. First, after running the first three strips in the series, the paper abruptly yanked today’s strip without prior notice. Secondly, why censor the strip entirely? Why not move it to the editorial page?
The irony of this action by the Post Standard is that it occurred during a week dubbed by national news organizations “Sunshine Week.” During this time, national news organizations endeavor “to promote a dialogue about the importance of open government and freedom of information.” It is a sad day when your local paper, in the midst of a week dedicated to promoting the free flow of information, doesn’t care enough to protect controversial speech.
I think the Post Standard is a great paper and has produced a tremendous amount of great journalism. I am an enthusiastic reader–both online and in print. I am disappointed that the paper’s editorial brain trust caved into the know nothings and the easily offended. I’m upset because I expected more from my paper.