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CSotD: Pressing a few points

First Dog on the Moon touches on several points, beginning with how stories get assigned, but you’ll have to go here to read the whole thing

Most newsroom people at daily papers work from just after lunch until roughly 9 pm or so, which means that, for the most part, they only know each other, since everyone else lives in a different time zone.

There are editors who fight against this, and editors who embrace it, but, in either case, they live in a hermetically sealed personal environment, such that, if they do hear about something, it’s probably because it either happened to them or to a family member.

That makes it Significant, and leads to an assignment, even if it’s something of such stupefying normalness that the reporter wouldn’t have bothered if not ordered to, as seen in the first two panels of today’s cartoon.

Having a nurse or two in the family, I didn’t find a lot of surprises in the rest of his cartoon, but I found a whole lot of laughs.

I think most parents would also recognize the gap between their panic and the response of people who see this stuff several times every day, even in a land that has some seriously venomous critters skulking about.

BTW, that gap between hysteria and normalness also applies to Halloween candy warnings, though First Dog doesn’t mention them.

But it’s the time of year when police uncritically pass along urban legends about tampering, virtually none of which have ever panned out.

The phenomenon seems to be slowing down, but my RN son’s response, at the height of the tampered-candy panic, was to decline requests to fire up an expensive X-ray machine to check $3.50 worth of candy for needles and razor blades.

He would advise worried parents to just throw it out.

Experience in the ER tends to make people pragmatic.

Read the comic. Discard the cannoli.

 

As long as we’re beating around the bush, here’s a second take from the Antipodes, as Cathy Wilcox goes beyond the usual “nice shirt/ratty pajama pants” gag and points out the long term effects of the pandemic on closets.

It’s somewhat akin to the “Freshman 15” that first-year college students put on, which reminds me of the time one of our feature writers referred to it as the “Freshman 50.” That seemed harsh at the time, but, now that college chow lines have turned into magical food courts, maybe it’s closer to the mark.

In any case, pajama bottoms and sweatpants are a lot more forgiving of sedentary people who have 24/7 access to their own fridges, and she’s absolutely right that, if you ever have a chance to leave the house, you may find your clothing mysteriously shrunken, no doubt having dried up like rawhide for lack of use.

I began working from home a dozen years ago, and it’s been fun watching everyone else struggle with the concept, but I will admit that I have lived in fear of weddings, funerals and conventions for lack of anything that isn’t both ill-fitting and out-of-date.

Meanwhile, there are things that are more puzzling and, I suppose, of greater importance.

 

Jimmy Margulies (KFS) resurrects the old Biden-in-the-Basement trope, something Republicans invented back at the height of the pandemic, when Trump was holding huge, mask-free campaign rallies and Biden was keeping public appearances to a minimum .

Biden hasn’t withdrawn recently: He’s got a very active Twitter account and he’s made several addresses and statements, including a number at which he took questions.

I’m going to assume Margulies is simply re-running that old topic in order to make a joke about Biden’s approval ratings being in the basement.

 

They’re sinking, but they’re not significantly different than those of Trump, Obama, Clinton or Reagan. George W Bush boosted his by starting a war, while his dad’s were also higher at this stage, as he began rattling his saber.

I suppose it’s ironic, or something, that Biden’s low ratings are blamed, in part, on his having stopped a war.

Mostly, I think we’re seeing a media obsession with horserace coverage, something normally saved for elections.

Or maybe four years of covering a president who lied several times a day and who made Billy Carter look like Fred Astaire got the press accustomed to teeing off on the White House.

 

Anyhow, it’s how journalism works these days, though, in past years, this publication wasn’t the exemplar.

BTW, I’m not leveling the charge specifically at Margulies. He simply pinged a topic I’ve had on my mind.

What got me thinking about it was this article in the Appeal about reporters using “officer-involved shooting” instead of more direct, less police-friendly language.

It over-corrects on that specific topic, but goes on about how the need to be first undermines the need to get it right.

I have long been glad I got out of the newsroom at a time we had one, specific deadline, giving us time to doublecheck the facts.

Even then, the nighttime cops reporter often got information from police notes scribbled on the scene that, when the officer filed his official report, would be corrected, creating a gap between what the paper reported and what had actually happened.

As that article says, reporters, in order to be first, are now required to immediately post whatever the police initially report, and then go back and find out what actually happened.

That is, if they’re not preparing a video and a podcast and rushing off to the next assignment because there are only a third as many reporters at the paper these days.

 

And I have no explanation for Bob Gorrell (Creators)‘s latest cartoon, unless he heard about the president having conspired to utilize the Department of Justice to overthrow our government, and remembered the time the attorney general blacked out portions of an inquiry that suggested foreign interference in the election, but forgot that Biden wasn’t president then.

Whatever.

Let’s close with an encouraging

Juxtaposition of the Day

(Joel Pett)

 

(Steve Brodner)

It’s good to see that the Nobel Committee understands the crucial value of a free press.

I just hope it’s not too late.

 

Community Comments

#1 g
October/13/2021
@ 9:31 am

Yeah, whatever happened to those blacked out portions, anyway?

Seems like they’d be of interest to several people.

#2 Mike Lester
October/13/2021
@ 11:06 am

Bob Gorrell doesn’t need my help in fact unless you’ve purposely tuned out this two weeks running story it’s hard to believe you have “no explanation”: https://nypost.com/2021/10/05/merrick-garland-calls-in-fbi-to-counter-threats-against-school-staffers/

#3 Mary Ella
October/13/2021
@ 1:00 pm

Considering CSOTD discussed the spate of offerings from Chip Bok and Gary Varvel announcing the “War On Parents” just a few days back, I’m pretty sure the author and everyone here is pretty well apprised of the situation without needing your “help”, Lester.

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