Providence Journal Will Run Sunday Doonesbury, Here’s Why

Providence Journal Executive Editor Alan Rosenberg felt the need to explain why the newspaper
will be running G. B. Trudeau‘s November 17, 2019 Sunday Doonesbury comic strip.

Says Rosenberg:

I winced when I first read today’s “Doonesbury.”

It’s a particularly tough strip, assailing Donald Trump’s children as well as the president’s stand on immigration, in satirical terms that at first blush appear to be anti-immigrant. I knew it would bring strong reactions, both from Mr. Trump’s fans and from those who feel a president’s family should be off-limits, as well as readers who might not understand its satirical nature.

So I pondered what to do. Ultimately, I decided we should run it.

Let’s begin by giving editor Rosenberg props for doing his job:

First, some background. I make a practice of pre-reading the daily and Sunday comics pages, since I feel they should be edited like everything else in the paper. And they’re available days in advance.

Over the years, I’ve caught grammatical errors and questionable word choices, as well as strips with jokes I felt would be offensive to some specific part of our audience — Native Americans, for instance, or Italo Americans. I’ve asked the syndicates that sell us the strips for changes or substitutions as needed.

None of these changes, though, was about political commentary, a unique corner of the cartooning world.

In political commentary, cartoonists are often outrageous to make a point. They don’t go in for shades of gray. They want to hit you over the head with what they’re trying to say.

That’s true of Michael Ramirez, the conservative two-time Pulitzer Prize winner whose work often appears on our commentary pages. I wince sometimes reading his work, too.

And it’s true of Garry Trudeau, the liberal “Doonesbury” creator who also has won a Pulitzer and has been a finalist three other times.

Rosenberg asked himself two questions:

[A]re the people Trudeau is aiming at suitable targets?

Are Trudeau’s underlying assumptions true?

The editor reveals his thought process and concludes:

That’s why we let our commentators have their say.

And that desire for a free-flowing debate is why we’re publishing today’s “Doonesbury.”



2 thoughts on “Providence Journal Will Run Sunday Doonesbury, Here’s Why

  1. I can confirm the Tampa Bay Times (in their new “Fun & Games” section) did run the Doonesbury strip.

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