Friday, July 23, 2004

Correction, Correction!

It's not just Democratic uppity women that get shunned and ostracized, it's also Democratic uppity cartoons. "Doonesbury", in particular:

A poll that resulted in a vote to drop "Doonesbury" was defended by the head of a Sunday-comics consortium.

"It was not a political statement of any kind," Continental Features President Van Wilkerson told E&P. "I personally don't have an opinion about 'Doonesbury' one way or another."

Wilkerson said he conducted the survey because Garry Trudeau's comic "created more controversy than other strips." In the poll e-mail he sent Continental's newspaper clients this spring, Wilkerson wrote: "(I)t is my feeling that a change in one of the features is required. I have fielded numerous complaints about 'Doonesbury' in the past and feel it is time to drop this feature and add another in its place. ... If the majority of the group favors a replacement, you will be expected to accept that change."

Of the 38 papers that run the Continental-produced Sunday comics section, 21 wanted to drop "Doonesbury," 15 wanted to keep it, and two had no opinion or preference. "I wouldn't call the vote [to drop 'Doonesbury'] overwhelming, but it was a majority opinion," Wilkerson said.

One of the 15 papers, The Anniston (Ala.) Star expressed public dismay with the vote yesterday saying the decision amounted to censorship. In an E&P interview after that article appeared, Star Executive Editor Troy Turner said: "Sure, 'Doonesbury' causes editors headaches from time to time, but there is a proven readership for it. Newspapers need to think of readers first, or they will continue to struggle."

Turner added that he doesn't recall Continental doing polls about any of the other 22 comics in its package; "Doonesbury" was singled out. Wilkerson acknowledged that the survey was out of the norm.

And why was "Doonesbury" 'singled out' in such a manner? Could it have something to do with the fact that it has recently included strong criticism of president Bush and his policies? Hmmmm. We don't have to fear government censure when the media is so eager to censure themselves. I would have loved to know how many votes all the other cartoons would have gotten. You know, fair competition and all that Republican stuff.