Conservative Newspaper Conglomerate Proved Their Opponents’ Point When They Banned This ‘Doonesbury’ Comic Strip

Gannett-owned publications censored a comic strip that criticized conservative censorship of historical facts
Conservative Newspaper Conglomerate Proved Their Opponents’ Point When They Banned This ‘Doonesbury’ Comic Strip

You’d better not joke about Florida censoring speech that goes against their preferred narrative, or else Florida newspapers will censor your joke.

For 53 years, Garry Trudeau’s comic strip Doonesbury has graced the funny pages of local and national newspapers, bringing dry, informed political satire to readers across the country six-to-eight panels at a time. Since starting the strip, the Yale graduate and Pulitzer Prize-winner has ruffled the feathers of the rich and powerful on many occasions, earning the ire of politicians like President George H.W. Bush and House Speaker Tip O'Neill over their portrayal in the political parody cartoon. With Doonesbury, Trudeau takes aim at the reckless and influential regardless of their party affiliation, making few friends in the process besides the papers that carry his comic strip – well, some of them, anyways.

This past Sunday, many readers whose regional newspapers are owned by the multi-billion dollar, conservative-leaning mass media holding company Gannett flipped to the funny pages to find that Doonesbury was conspicuously missing from its usual position in the printing. Former Iowa State Representative and president of the Veterans National Recovery Center Bob Krause noticed that absence and made sure to show Twitter what Gannett hid from them.

Gannett owns almost 400 newspapers in the United States, including the national publication USA Today and local papers in 44 states, among which is Krause's Iowa, where the Des Moines Register followed company protocol and cut out the above strip from circulation. Apparently, Gannett didn't want its readers knowing that seven of the states in the U.S. Confederacy explicitly cited the issue of slavery in their declarations of secession. Gannett also doesn't want comic strip fans learning about how almost 100,000 white southerners chose loyalty to their country over preserving slavery as they fought for the Union during the Civil War.

Many conservative-dominated states have passed legislation designed to prevent education about historical topics such as slavery and civil rights, but the state that Trudeau name-drops in Sunday's censored Doonesbury strip has drawn the most attention for how hilariously absurd its lengthy ban list stretches – a school district in Florida even made national headlines this past summer for banning an Arthur book from the school library. 

Somewhere at the Gannett headquarters in Tysons, Virginia, some lone employee must have noticed the grim irony of a massive, powerful news media company censoring a comic strip for educating readers about topically relevant facts and joking about being censored. The cognitive dissonance required to strike such a strip from publication proves the importance of the information Trudeau was trying to communicate as the hypocrisy of the conservative media continues to demonstrate that there is no greater enemy to their agenda than an informed populace. 

God forbid Gannett decides to shill for the anti-sledding lobby – Calvin and Hobbes could be next on the chopping block.


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