The Chicago Tribune has covered yet another act of censorship in a cloak of journalistic purity worn threadbare by its own double standards.
It refused to run today’s “Doonesbury” comic strip, which includes a pitch for the nonprofit Donors Choose, a charity that connects potential donors with cash-strapped public-school classrooms. In a note to readers on page 2, it explained that today’s strip included “a direct fundraising appeal for a specific charity that the author favors. The Tribune’s editorial policies do not allow individuals to promote their self-interests.”
They do, however, allow Tribune editors to exercise hypocrisy.
There is no more evident self-interest in the “Doonesbury” pitch for this charity than there was in the numerous mentions of the same charity in articles, photos, editorials and letters to the editor published in the last several years by the Tribune and its sister publication, the Los Angeles Times. The Trib’s editors also saw no problem in letting one of its staffers launch and publicize a “Book on Every Bed” campaign to benefit the Family Reading Partnership, or in allowing another staffer to devote one of his columns to pitching his book.
So if the self-interest explanation isn’t the real one, what’s going on?
This isn’t the first time the Trib has censored the work of Garry Trudeau. “Doonesbury” habitually (but not exclusively) skewers right-wing politicians and pundits. The Trib, always staunchly conservative, has taken a very hard turn to the right lately, pounding away at union bosses enjoying unearned pensions and decrying illegal immigrants who flee home to avoid facing criminal charges here. This kind of selective demonizing would have warmed the heart of its long-ago publisher, Robert McCormick, who was known for his extreme right-wing views.
The Trib’s false claim of virtue and its petty insult to Trudeau, which sideswiped a worthy cause, will do nothing to enhance its reputation.
Sources:http://www.doonesbury.com/ http://www.donorschoose.org http://www.chicagotribune.com/search_results/?q=donorschoose.org http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2011-12-08/features/ct-ae-1208-amy-20111208_1_pulitzer-new-book-literacy http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2011-12-27/business/ct-biz-1227-bf-problem-main-20111227_1_ethics-policy-problem-solver-consumer http://www.firstamendmentcenter.org/stripping-doonesbury-tribune-silences-satire,
I am a Tribune subscriber and I have threatened to drop my subscription over this debacle. They do not need to protect me from viewing this comic strip, in fact, it was their removal of the other strips that made me start reading the column. As a public school teacher, I applaud Gary for bringing this organization to the forefront!
Well – Yeah duh — If the Trib continues to stoop so low as to feel it is “necessary” to censor cartoons – in order to adhere to their policy of only choosing to publish their editors’ narrow-minded approaches to “Free Press” – Jeez – where do we go from here? Are there really only a few open-minded newspaper readers who will have the guts to fight back? Cancelling one’s subscription is one good answer. How about boycotting some of their (now very few) advertisers? Has anyone else noticed that Macy’s is now their only MAJOR advertiser – to the point that the Chicago Tribune seems to only be a daily catalog for viewing Macy’s goods. Boring and pitiful.
Free speech for those who own the printing press.BTW given that the Trib rails against union execs with big pensions,does that mean that Trib execs will retire on nothing more than Social Security?
The day before this decision, Doonesbury used a similar QR code pointing people to its online site, and the characters noted that readers could get the strip for free and wouldn’t have to pay for the newspaper. (They didn’t mention that the online version is also in color everyday and is full-size). The Tribune editors couldn’t figure out how to censor THAT strip without exposing themselves as craven dinosaurs. Maybe the Donor’s Choice decision was supposed to be payback. But of course Trudeau doesn’t care whether they run his strips or not — he probably gets more readers from censored strips than anything else.