Star-Telegram Caves In To Fear, Oh My

7
Posted March 14, 2012 by Jeff Prince in Blotch
...AS LONG AS IT DOESN'T PISS OFF OUR AGING READERS OR THREATEN ANY OF OUR DWINDLING SUBSCRIBTIONS.

…AS LONG AS IT DOESN'T PISS OFF OUR AGING READERS OR THREATEN ANY OF OUR DWINDLING SUBSCRIPTIONS.

The Fort Worth Star-Telegram decided not to print this week’s Doonesbury comic strips that reveal the hoops Texas women must jump through when seeking a safe and legal abortion.

Texas abortion laws require women to get a transvaginal sonogram, look at a photo of the embryo, and hear a description of it before legally acquiring an abortion. The Republican-strong Legislature passed the bill, and Gov. Rick Perry signed it in May 2011.

Critics used it as another example of the so-called War on Women, saying the process was designed to humiliate women seeking an abortion.

Doonesbury lampoons topics in a comical way.  The strip surely reaches people that don’t otherwise pay much attention to cultural controversies. And this week’s comic strip deftly mocks Perry and Texas lawmakers who squawk about less government in people’s lives while passing intrusive, moralistic laws.

Star-Telegram subscribers won’t see the strip. The hometown newspaper that has laid off hundreds of employees in recent years, reduced its page size and content, become less relevant, and just generally sucked more than ever as its owner McClatchy continues to spiral toward the poorhouse, has decided not to print the strip.

Editorial Director J.R. Labbe tried to explain the decision in a column headlined “Civility, consistency drive Star-Telegram decision to sub ‘Doonesbury.’ “

Talk about wishy-washy.

J.R. LABBE

J.R. LABBE

Labbe regularly shoves her opinions down everybody’s throat, whether it’s her anti-smoking rants, pro-gun advocacy, or whatever. No problem, that’s her job. Now it’s apparently her job to smother the opinions of others.

She begins her new column by stating the obvious: political cartoons have been around since the birth of this nation.

She denies the paper is afraid of discussing abortion, and says it has nothing to do with liberal versus conservative politics.

No, the cancellation of this week’s Doonesbury is all about civility and consistency.

The editorial board had previously criticized Rush Limbaugh for using the word “slut” to describe Sandra Fluke, who spoke in favor of free mandated contraceptives.

Labbe said the Doonesbury strip contains “equally crude” language this week. The strip uses “slut” to mock Limbaugh and his conservative stance. So fairness and civility reigns. Yeah, right.

If I were to guess why the strip was killed, I’d go in this direction:

SCENE: Two old editor types silently worry about their pensions while discussing this week’s Doonesbury strip that will surely anger a few readers even as it does a deft job of revealing a controversial law regarding abortion.

EDITOR 1: “Holy crap, we’re losing reporters, we’re losing readers, we’re losing credibility, we’ve lost our building, and our efforts to create a younger generation of readers have failed miserably. We gotta hold on to every gray-haired, cantankerous reader we’ve got.”

EDITOR 2: “This week’s strip is pretty tame. It uses the word ‘slut’ on one day, but it’s not like that word hasn’t been bandied about during public discourse for weeks now. We’ll look like relics if we kill the strip for that.”

EDITOR 1: “But the fogies will spew Metamucil out of their noses if they see the word ‘slut’ in a comic.”

EDITOR 2: “Shit, Doonesbury has forged its reputation by tackling this type of subject matter. Killing it makes no sense.”

EDITOR 1: “Standing in the employment line makes no sense either.”

EDITOR 2: “Kill the strip.”

THE STAR-TELEGRAM

THE STAR-TELEGRAM


7 Comments


  1.  
    JN

    The constant attempts of media outlets and movie-makers to”appeal” to a younger demographic are always amusing. Cr*p doesn’t sell. The folks with the money find juvenille latrine humor degrading. The “younger demographic” has zero taste+zero money.




  2.  
    Roy

    Let’s see: The strips contain absolutely no language, images, or ideas that have not regularly been in the news and editorial pages for weeks. The strip does not appear in the comics section. The strips are particularly relevant to the readership any newspaper aspires to. The strips are trenchant, witty, incisive, and pertinent to Texas readers and citizens.
    So you actually expect to see them in something like the Star-Telegram? It is to laugh.
    By the way, you can have something very like a real newspaper delivered right to your house in Fort Worth. Call the Dallas Morning News.




  3.  
    Don Young

    Dead on, Mr.Prince.




  4.  
    Obama's Seat

    Doonesbury is only significant when someone decides not to publish it, he’s desperate for attention.

    Bring back Bloom County, and no-one will even miss Gary.




  5.  

    The Star Telegram will die with the grey hairs….it may take another 20 years….but it will die. But was it ever relevant? My recollections….BTW…I think I’m a grey hair since I get my Medicare card in June! Yikes.But I cannot remember “Breaking News” from the Startlegram. Example: Nothing in the way of hometown controversary ever makes it to Startlegram unless they are kicking someone or some institution of note. Oh, like public servants who have political pull. Or when they are planting something and shaping the news from the perspective of the “old guard” downtow mafia. God forbid they would actually act like REAL journalists. You know printing all sides of a story. Jeff Prince and Betty Brink know what I mean. Where oh where would Fort Worth readers be without them? Keep telling the truth about Fort Worth, FWW.




  6.  
    betty.brink

    You nailed it Jeff; As usual.





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