Next Wednesday, the day after the presidential election, Garry Trudeau’s Doonesbury will depict a newscaster declaring presidential candidate Barack Obama as the winner of this year’s election. This has many editors in a journalistic bind because they’ll be printing their comics pages before the actual presidential results have been finalized. If presidential nominee John McCain wins the election, potentially hundreds of papers will have a “Dewey Defeats Truman” moment on their comics page.
But not all editors see it this way. John Robinson, editor of the News & Record in Greensboro, N.C., writes on his blog regarding the move by Garry,
Not for a cartoonist, but there’s some discussion on the journalism listservs that suggests that this assumed outcome of Tuesday’s election is a limb too far for newspapers.
I don’t understand that concern, given Trudeau’s cartooning history. I’m thinking that if McCain wins, the embarrassment is Trudeau’s, not ours. Isn’t there anyone who doesn’t think he’s liberal? Besides, if McCain does win, just imagine how much fun it will be to watch how Trudeau handles the turnabout.
Kathie Kerr, assistant VP/communications for Universal Press Syndicate says she’s fielded a dozen calls yesterday and expects more today from editors. The syndicate asked Garry to provide a substitute strip. The substitute strip is a non-political strip from August.
This is the not the first time Garry has called an election in his strip. In similar fashion, Doonesbury called Ronald Reagan the presidential winner in the 1984 election.
Garry typically runs close to the deadline to keep his strip topical and fresh. According to Kathie, Garry submitted this particular cartoon just last week.
Doonesbury runs in 1400 papers.