Mallard Fillmore Doesn’t Meet Gannett Standards

Gannett responded to The Washington Times article about Gannett cancelling Mallard Fillmore.

Amalie Nash, senior vice president of local news at USA Today Network, the Gannett newspaper brand, said the decision to stop running the 27-year-old cartoon was based on a recent review.

“We made a decision last month to discontinue the Mallard Fillmore comic strip in our newspapers because a review of the recent work showed it did not meet our standards,” said Ms. Nash in an email to The Washington Times.

“It is inaccurate to say it was based on any anti-Biden comics — we value and publish work that showcases perspectives across the political spectrum,” she said.

© King Features Syndicate

Bruce Tinsley reacted:

“All I can say is that both the president of King Features, C.J. Kettler, and my Editor at King Features, Tea Fougner, explicitly told me that the two comics in question were the reason for the cancellations,” said Mr. Tinsley in an email. “They further said that Gannett’s objection was not to the cartoons’ being ‘anti-Biden,’ but that they thought they were insensitive to transgender athletes who compete against biologically female ones.”

Mr. Tinsley, who has also worked as a reporter and copy editor, said that decisions about what meets a newspaper’s standards are typically determined by editors and reader polls, and “occasionally publishers.”

“In this case, all of those people were bypassed,” he said. “Fifty-five local papers’ staffs, and readers, were overruled, in one day, by a central corporate office.”

Which gives us the number of client papers no longer carrying the comic strip.

“If I could guess why a giant media corporation might want to give inquiring reporters the impression that a political comic strip was canceled because of nebulous ‘standards,’ instead of the message of particular cartoons,” [Tinsley] said, “I’d guess that it might be because of the recent popular backlash against a ‘Cancel Culture,’ that favors suppression of free discussion and debate over healthy, robust dialogue.”

Read The Washington Times story update.



5 thoughts on “Mallard Fillmore Doesn’t Meet Gannett Standards

  1. Weird how conservatives, who were just fine with Sinclair Media Group’s decision to force all their TV stations to run the exact same pro-Trump commentaries for years — whether the local producers or viewers wanted it or not — are now upset about another across the board corporate decision. Huh.

  2. re “upset about another across the board corporate decision” — remember the kid who got scolded for fighting, who complained “But he STARTED it when he hit me BACK!!!!”

  3. The (successful and family-owned) newspaper I worked for in the early aughts was bought by a chain on an aggressive buying spree. 1/3 of the staff was laid off immediately, and, before the year was out 1/3 had quit.

    Our HR head later described their management style as “they buy a local, push a mold into it, and scrap off everything that squishes out.”

    Congrats, Tinsley, you’ve been squished and scrapped. Nothing personal.

  4. Not sure I agree with Mr.Tinsley’s breakdown of how decisions are made on newspapers. I was a reporter for a small paper that was owned by a little old rich lady, and later acquired by a mid-sized chain, and I guarantee that if either owner had called the editor and said, “Get rid of ‘Mary Worth,'” the old gray meddler would’ve been gone by Monday. The only reason that doesn’t happen often is that most owners don’t care about comics. Gannett seems to have briefly noticed.

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