Tom Spurgeon's Web site of comics news, reviews, interviews and commentary

July 5, 2007

Washington Post Declines to Run Cheney-Focused Tom the Dancing Bug

According to a mention at ComicsDC, the cartoonist Ruben Bolling was telling people at the "Cartoonapalooza" AAEC meeting kick-off that the Post had declined to run his latest Tom the Dancing Bug cartoon, which apparently features Vice-President Dick Cheney killing aides that brought him bad news.

There's a hitch in my step when it comes to labeling this sort of "I'll take a pass, thanks" maneuver as censorship in the way that I think of censorship, and I'm not sure I can articulate why, especially if someone for whom this was automatically and obviously censorship were to sit in a chair across a table and fume at me about it. I mean, is dropping a strip altogether an even more egregious example of censorship? Is choosing a syndicated Paul Conrad strip over a Gary Varvel syndicated strip to run that week censoring Varvel? I think I'd have to have a crystal clear snapshot of the reasons involved for not running Bolling's strip and maybe even develop a more considered viewpoint on the obligations between a newspaper and content provider.

What is clear is that the Post's recent tendency to take a pass on controversial strips for no stated reason and then not tell anyone they're doing so is crappy editorial policy that badly serves the Post's readership and makes the paper an untrustworthy partner for content providers.
posted 3:14 am PST | Permalink

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