Wednesday’s Doonesbury places editors in tough spot

Doonesbury Post Election Cartoon

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,

Risky? Reckless?

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.

11 thoughts on “Wednesday’s Doonesbury places editors in tough spot

  1. Trudeau could make it a “dream” sequence, ala “Dallas” the event of a stunner.

    Many of us do produce two cartoons , when the publication is after the results. I did mine ahead this year. The Obama losing uses the big O symbol in other confused graphics. For McCain, I have his caricature holding up a newspaper in the takeoff of the famous Harry Truman ’48 scene, but the headline says PALIN DEFEATS McCAIN .

    Many other themes could be used: some variation of election fatigue, two worn out boxers, the lame non-partisan flying eagle with flags waving, mixed-up fortune tellers…

  2. Apparently they (or anyone else) don’t recall that Bruce Tinsley proclaimed in Mallard Filmore that Kerry won in 2004. Of course, he was actually correct, but that’s another matter entirely. But it looks like Garry seems to believe that the republicans won’t be able to steal this election as they did the previous two.

    Anyway, it’s much ado about nothing, as it is just a cartoon. But if he predicted a McCain victory due to rigged voting machines (which is the only way he’s going to win), then THAT would be a troublesome limb to climb out on.

  3. I recall one deadline where the congressional race was tooclosetocall, that had devolved into ridiculous ad hominem attacks by both candidates. I drew a ” AND THE WINNER IS…” of a figure covered in mud and preparing to throw more.

    Year 2000 threw everyone for a loop. Although it provided alot of fodder, I look back at my work ( that was quite prolific on the subject ) and see that I got caught up in the narrative. There was so much that we did not know then. That is the main reason that I am apprehensive today. What stunts are going to be attempted? There are some really crazy theories concerning untraceable vote switching software that I do not automatically discount anymore as a crackpot conspiracy.

  4. I’d like to see McCain win, if for no other reason than to rub Trudeau’s and other smug liberal weenies’ nose in it…and to see what Oprah’s going to do with two days of celebratory shows plannned…

  5. James, that’s all you got left. Name calling. Your party completely screwed this nation for the last 8 years and now you’re calling us names. Get a life.

  6. In the most recent Gallup poll that showed 90% are dissatisfied with the direction of the country, I wondered just who those 10% are that think things are going well and want to continue in the same direction. Thanks for letting me know, James.

    I guess that makes 90% of the country smug liberals, I suppose. Or is it just those who are predicting Obama is going to win that are smug liberals? That would be nearly every political expert (pundit) in America today.

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