Syracuse Post Standard Censors Doonesbury

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.

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3 thoughts on “Syracuse Post Standard Censors Doonesbury

  1. The strip was not run at all. The lead item on the editorial page was an item about “Sunshine Week” an event staged by the newspaper industry and its professional associations–to promote open government and the free flow of information!

    I don’t understand why they didn’t chunk it over on the editorial page. Brian Cubbison of the paper stated on my FB post that one reason the Post Standard could spike the strip was because of its wide availability online. I responded that we didn’t need a paper at all since everything was online!

    Garry Trudeau made a more important point on the fallacy of online availability in an interview on Slate.com. Strip comics are a spawn of newspapers–when there was a shared culture of everyday morning routines. The on demand digital world has blown that up. Strip comics solely on the web are not profitable nor well read. The kind of lengthy, slowly unfolding storytelling in a nuanced strip like Doonesbury is dying.

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  2. “I responded that we didn’t need a paper at all since everything was online!”

    That’s so true, and was my reaction as well when thinking about this. To be honest, what has bothered me more was the way the paper fumbled the whole Bernie Fine thing. One article explaining “Why we couldn’t write about this” was bad enough, but I think there was another article like that too. And other stuff about the SU basketball program that breaks in the national media instead of the local media.

    Now this Doonesbury thing is rubbing me the wrong way also.

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