San Diego U-T Editor’s Reasons He Blacked-Out Doonesbury Cartoons Fall Flat – Here’s No. 5

by on March 16, 2012 · 12 comments

in Media, Politics, San Diego, Women's Rights

Here’s todays Doonesbury cartoon No. 5 for Friday, March 16th.

Jeff Light, editor of the revamped San Diego U-T, the guy who made the decision to black-out this week’s Doonsbury cartoons because artist Gary Trudeau is drawing about women’s reproductive rights, came on the OB Rag the other day and left a lengthy comment as to why he made the decision.

While we really appreciate Jeff coming onto our site – something his predecessors would never have done and which is a sign of the drastic difference he has made on the newspaper – we believe his reasoning falls flat.  Here’s his comment from Wednesday in full:

You know, sometimes people with strong feelings get worked up and do things that they probably realize, deep down, are out of bounds. It is a way of getting more attention. So, Rush Limbaugh calls some poor woman a slut, or Gary Trudeau draws cartoons of a woman on the abortion table. To me this is all the same sort of thing.
I didn’t kill those strips for any partisan reason. I run Doonesbury every day. There almost always political content, and it always runs.

I killed them because somehow a guy who is supplying a comic strip that runs right next to the Snoopy cartoon has decided that he’s going to send me stuff about vaginal ultrasounds, with no real advance notice, and then pretend he’s SHOCKED that I am not running them. OH MY! LOOK at the ignorant right wing censorship! What kind of numb-skull would refuse to run drawings of a woman undergoing an abortion on the funnies pages? I mean, what is the world coming to?

That is all bunch of horse shit, imho.

Now, you should know I got notice of this Friday at lunch time. I guess Gary must have just become inspired and drawn the strip over breakfast, so this represented his genuine effort to make sure it was placed appropriately.
I did consider tearing up Monday’s editorial page, which was already complete, to find a spot for the cartoon there. We could have killed the letters to the editor to make space somehow. Because I think the issues raised truly are newsworthy.

But then I realized, well, shoot, I started off with an abortion next to Snoopy, but now my solution is to begin a sardonic, one-sided five-part series on the editorial page. Could I whip up a mean, cutting comic that would mock the other side all week, to somehow provide balance, to keep this from coming off as something more than a calculated ideological ambush?

Then I just decided, you know what, the hell with it. Dropping a stink bomb like this does not give you the high ground in setting the terms of the discussion. The people making that argument, in my opinion, are allowing their political views to color their intellectual judgment. This isn’t about freedom of the press. It’s more like the sort of game of chicken you’d expect to see in high school newspapers.

I am sympathetic to the message of the strips. I am unapologetic for killing them.

It’s not my job to draw something that can run on the funnies page…it is Trudeau’s. And it is not my obligation to turn over our editorial pages to a partisan serial on a moment’s notice just because it is does not fit elsewhere.
I run Trudeau regularly. The fiction that I am trying to suppress his political message is untrue.

Well, what do you think, dear reader?

{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

Goatskull March 16, 2012 at 9:13 am



GFJMcG March 16, 2012 at 10:06 am

What do I think? In my opinion, I think he had some backlash and instead of apologizing he is digging in and on the defensive. Also, why is he saying this here instead the editorial page of his own paper.


Prattle On, Boyo March 16, 2012 at 10:54 am

Jeff, you ignorant slut, you!


Chris Dotson March 16, 2012 at 1:04 pm

Horse crap! For some dumb reason I kept reading and reading, looking for the hook, and got the end before realizing it is just “cowardly”, as one comment. If it wasn’ t partisan, it must have no guts, especially if that is the cartoon he was debating over. . . a woman on a table talking to a doctor about a medical topic. Young Snoopy readers probably skip over it anyways.


unWASHEdwalmaRtthONG March 16, 2012 at 2:48 pm

Is Snoopy still alive?


JEC March 16, 2012 at 6:55 pm

Jeff, you’re the editor, you can place the strip anyplace you wish – Doonesbury is often in the editorial or opinion pages; like Dilbert is often in the business pages. As a wordsmith I’d like to ask – “poor woman” – what made Sandra Fluke a ‘poor woman’? She was honest, forthright and well spoken. Do you think ‘poor’ was a poor choice? And ‘abortion table’. Was it not in fact, more generically an examination table? Why an ‘abortion table’. And Rush and Garry – personally insulting a solid citizen compared to taking a side in a debate not of his making – and as you said “To me this is all the same sort of thing.” I find your inability to make a distinction disappointing, but enlightening.


Anna Daniels March 16, 2012 at 7:07 pm

You’re right JEC. Disappointing, but enlightening.
PS Doonesbury doesn’t have to be placed next to Snoopy either…


dave rice March 16, 2012 at 10:16 pm

Yeah, I have comments – left ’em in the same thread Mr. Light originally posted to. But I’ve got to echo Frank’s kudos to him for even coming on here and responding in the first place, even stooping to our common man’s vernacular and calling Trudeau’s failure to send out his strip more than three days early as “horse shit.”


Anna Daniels March 17, 2012 at 7:47 am

Jeff Light serves up “Why I killed Doonesbury” on today’s (3/17/12) OpEd page

“Second verse
Same as the first
A little bit louder
And a little bit worse.”


Anna Daniels March 17, 2012 at 7:55 am

Light didn’t “censor” Doonesbury. He “killed” it. (His words, not mine.)


Big Al March 17, 2012 at 5:39 pm

More of the same crap (excuse me Jeff, Equidae feces) that the UT editor has had for many years. I had hoped when the paper was originally sold this might have changed, but stupid me, the paper was sold again and we’ve got the editorial same mind set of previous editors. Could it be that ownership thinking had something to do with it?


Marilyn Steber March 18, 2012 at 3:02 pm

Did I miss something? The cartoon shows a doctor doing a sonagram, doesn’t it? NOT an abortion.
Trudeau’s schtick is to promote discussion, and Mr. Light has helped do that! Goes back to the Banned in Boston banner on best selling books.


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