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As you'll see, they take Joe McGinniss's new Sarah Palin biography, The Rogue, at face value. The joke — a pretty good joke — is that Fox News's intrepid tweeter, Roland Hedley Jr., is wrestling with his network's conflicting imperatives: to focus on the juicy stuff (in this case the holy shit damning stuff), and to always make Palin sound good.
But cartoonist Garry Trudeau also has it both ways: he puts the juicy stuff out there and doesn't say if it's true or not or if he believes it. That was too much for the Chicago Tribune and some other papers, which yanked the strip this week.
On Tuesday the Tribune published a statement from editor Gerould Kern. He said the strips "do not meet our standards of fairness.... To be sure, 'Doonesbury' is a satirical cartoon, but the remarks are serious enough that we cannot publish the strip without more information, context and a response from Palin."
Entertainment editor Geoff Brown added his comment online. To readers who complained of censorship, Brown said, "This is a judgment call, and we make them every time we have sensitive stories as well as cartoons that do not meet our standards of taste or fairness. And, of course, 'Doonesbury' can be found easily online."
True. Doonesbury can so easily be found online that it's probably churlish to point out that the yanking of the strip is news, and the arguably reckless misjudgment of an artist as prominent and finely calibrated as Trudeau is news, and the way to deal with news is to cover it. Run the strips in the news section along with information, context, critiques (such as this one), and responses from Palin and Trudeau as well as Kern.
Perhaps, once the week is over, someone at the Tribune will think to do that. In what way has the Tribune, by simply washing its hands of a week of Doonesbury defended its reputation? When newspapers think "This is about us," they're usually wrong.