‘Doonesbury’ says Obama Won
Doonesbury was the first media source to call tomorrow’s election for Barack Obama. Garry Trudeau delivered strips via the Universal Press Syndicate last Wednesday including one for Wednesday where soldiers in Iraq are seen watching a television where the announcer calls the election for the Illinois Senator.
Newspaper editors around the country have been put in a difficult position considering the pages that normally run the strip tend to close long before the polls. There’s concern of looking silly should Arizona Senator John McCain be declared the victor.
When queried by the Los Angeles Times about this, the comic strip’s creator Garry Trudeau replied, “polling data gives McCain a 3.7% chance of victory. There’s a greater risk that their presses will break down on Election Day. So I’ve been encouraging editors to choose hope over fear. And reminding them that if I’m wrong, it’ll be my face that’ll be covered with egg, not theirs.
I’d be a lot more worried about the country than the strip. One reporter has already suggested I just carry on with an alternative universe in which Obama wins. It’s not a crazy idea . . . "
McCain spokesman Tucker Bounds told the paper, "We hope the strip proves to be as predictive as it is consistently lame."
Nervous newspaper editors were offered repeats of August comic strips to run the remainder of the week. Ther’s no knowing howmany of the 1400 clients will carry the strip or cave in and go with the repeat. Opinion among editors nationwide has been diverse although not as divisive as the opponents have been.
"I thought it was funny," said Michael Weinstein, features editor for the Charlotte Observer in North Carolina. "But it’s an accuracy issue. We won’t know the outcome of the election until Wednesday.
"It’s just a matter of humor. Is the strip funny if McCain wins? Satire humor is a real difficult subject."
The Chicago Tribune’s Tim Bannon said, "we are reserving the option of running the strip on Wednesday, but we of course would not typeset until we confirmed the result of the election." The Cleveland Plain-Dealer is running the strip as is. "If he’s wrong, he’s wrong," said Debbie Van Tassel, assistant managing editor/features.
Editor John Robinson agrees and wrote at the News and Record of Greensboro NC’s blog, “Risky? Reckless? Not for a cartoonist, but there’s some discussion on the journalism listservs that suggests that this assumed outcome of Tuesday’s election is a limb too far for newspapers.”
"I don’t understand that concern, given Trudeau’s cartooning history," he adds. "I’m thinking that if McCain wins, the embarrassment is Trudeau’s, not ours. Isn’t there anyone who doesn’t think he’s liberal? Besides, if McCain does win, just imagine how much fun it will be to watch how Trudeau handles the turnabout.”
The Los Angeles Times announced they were hedging their bets, not running the strip Wednesday but Thursday if Obama wins. Should McCain win, they will opt for the repeat strips through Friday.