Ethics

On January 7, 1999, the Post and Courier (Charleston's daily paper) did not run Garry Trudeau's "Doonesbury" strip. The paper neither justified their decision nor acknowledged the omission of the comic. Instead, that day's comics page redistributed the comics so as to make the absence of "Doonesbury" less obvious. Here is the strip in question:

"Doonesbury" by Garry Trudeau, 1/7/99
  1. Look at the criteria on pages 330-334 of your textbook. Decide what criteria (if any) applies in this case. If the Post and Courier were acting on criteria such as that listed here, which ones would justify their decision to omit this comic strip? Which ones would not justify their decision?
  2. Was not running this strip an act of journalistic responsibility or of censorship? Was the Post and Courier justified in not running the comic?
  3. If you were an editor at the Post and Courier, what would you have done? In your response, decide on what ethical grounds you would make your decision. And you might consider options other than running or not running it. For example, if you decide to leave the strip out of the paper, are you obligated to offer reasons for omitting the strip? What do you think of the idea of printing a web address at which the strip might be found?

Last updated on 17 January 1999