Thursday, March 15, 2012

The Standard-Examiner Jumps Aboard the Doonesbury Censorship Bandwagon

Sodden question: If the Standard chooses to get onboard the censorship bandwagon with relatively innocuous material like this, just what else will the Standard hide from the print edition public view?

There's a fascinating development affecting our home town newspaper this week, in the wake of the Standard's inexplicable decision to "pull" a week's worth of Doonesbury comic strips parodying a controversial "ultrasound law" which was enacted by the Texas legislature this year. In truth, it's a national phenomenon, inasmuch as many American newspapers have been acting on concert to censor these hilarious but hard-hitting Doonesbury satire pieces. Here's the lede from an online outfit publishing from the website (be sure to click the embedded links):
All this week, “Doonesbury” is running a series of comic strips about the ultrasound laws that have popped up recently. The first strip features an abortion patient being sent to the “Shaming Room.”

I guess it shouldn’t come as a surprise in our current political climate that some newspapers have decided not to run the strips about abortion. Or that the list of papers that have opted out of running the strip is dominated by publications in states where ultrasound laws have come up.

Of course, you can read the strips online if your newspaper is afraid of humor about the news.

Jamil Smith took a look at some of the papers censoring the strips and found a pretty ridiculous excuse...

Read on:
Here's what the local stir's all about folks. Although the Standard has joined in on this gutless Doonesbury boycott, it's nevertheless provided these strips on the S-E online edition, a web publication which we guess we can now fairly characterize at the "Standard-Examiner's Grown-up Edition":
Frankly we don't get it. As political cartooning goes, this material seems pretty tame to us.

Compounding the problem, the Standard complains that it's received (predictably we think) a large volume of uncomplimentary form letters (the Standard inaccurately labels these as "plagiarism" and doesn't reveal whether these are emails of old fashioned snail mail), a situation which the S-E editors elucidate in this morning following Letter to the Editor "sample" piece:
In truth, we believe S-E reader Mary Platek (and her thousands of other co-authors) make a danged salient point.

Sodden question: If the Standard chooses to get onboard the censorship bandwagon with relatively innocuous material like this, just what else will the Standard hide from the print edition public view?

Who exactly is the Standard trying to protect?

Middle aged, male State Legislators, perhaps?

Update 3/15/12 10:00 a.m.: The Trib's Pat Bagley offers his own clever cartoon strip this morning, which we'll label as parody-upon-parody:
Too funny, no?

Update 3/15/12 10:51 a.m.: The Wall Street Journal carries on this topic a short interview with Doonesbury cartoonist Garry Trudeau himself:
Update 3/16/12 10:25 a.m.: Check out this savvy and upbeat "take" from Newsday:
Maybe print media news censorship really ain't that bad, after all.


Bob Becker said...

Couple of points:

    1. The strip is often run on the comics pages.   My ideal newspaper --  Curmudgeon's Ogden Daily Post Intelligencer and Price Current -- would not have run these strips on the comics pages.

   2. But many papers, like the SE,  run the strip on the ed or op-ed page [when there's enough advertising to support an op-ed page]. And your point about the strips being well within the bounds of editorial cartooning is right on the mark. The SE should have run them in the usual place it runs Trudeau's strip, the foot of the editorial or op-ed page. 

  3.  However, the SE is right about the mass mailed letter to the editor it received from Ms. Platek.  She did not write that letter. She simply forwarded a letter written by someone else and affixed her name to it.  I would not have run it at all.  The SE's policy, which is not to print mass mailed letters to the editor, ones simply signed by whoever forwards it to them, not written by them, is a sound one.  Should not have made an exception for Ms. Platek's.  

rudizink said...

 Good commentary as usual, Bob.  Nevertheless, I'll congratulate the Standard for publishing the "sample" Platek letter.  I believe that in doing so, The Standard fulfilled its journalistic responsibilities to reveal the tough dilemma of newspapers in the 21st century in screening out mass emails, while at the same time revealing that this letter falls into the category that they've inaccurately labelled "plagiarism," but which old internet dinosaurs like I routinely identify as "spam."

blackrulon said...

If you wish to view the cartoons on the website be prepared to cycle through the cartoons several timers. The S-E has them go by at a rapid rate. You will need to view them several times to see the whole cartoon.

Curt said...

Doonsebury is not nearly as funny as Alan Hall, business genius, who wanted to sell Mogc for a gondola and is now gushing over Geiger Rig. Idiot moron. But you clowns can keep sucking him off.

Ray said...

As reported here earlier the on-line Standard Examiner reports tonight: Greiner to run for Weber Commission.

OGDEN — Jon Greiner, former Ogden police chief and state senator, has filed for a seat on the Weber County Commission.Greiner filed as a Republican for the Seat C slot on the commission. He is opposed as of Thursday afternoon by fellow Republican Matthew Bell and Democrat Corey Combe.Greiner spent 38 years with the Ogden police department and served one term as a state senator.More candidate filings will be reported on StandardNet later.

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