Censoring Satire

What The Chicago Tribune Doesn’t Want You To See

Once again, the Chicago Tribune decided to censor today’s Boondocks comic strip. Why? Aaron McGruder’s hard-hitting strip dared to comment on the recently released tapes in which President Bush implied he had smoked pot.

It’s not the first time the Chicago Tribune has decided Boondocks might harm the ever-so-delicate sensibilities of its readers. In July 2003, the Tribune also refused to run the strip because it attacked President Bush for his taunt to Iraqi insurgents to “Bring it on.”

At the time, the paper’s ombudsman, Don Wycliff, explained the decision by redefining the concept of censorship, saying, “The very fact that readers could find the strips elsewhere indicates that they were not censored.”

In lieu of an actual explanation today, the paper told readers it decided not to run the strip because “Today’s original Boondocks strip presents inaccurate information as fact.” (No word on the veracity of statements made today by Garfield or Family Circus’s Jeffy.) Note to the editors of the Chicago Tribune: Political cartoons by their very nature are meant to be provocative and to hold the feet of administration officials to the satiric fire. It’s time for the Chicago Tribune to grow a spine.