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Cartoon by Bruce Plante A Gift from Credit Cardland
(click here to view)
Bruce Plante
Tulsa World
Dec 26, 2008
EditorialCartoonists.com

At a Christmas party earlier this month, a neighbor told me he appreciated the more conservative slant of our editorial cartoons before the November elections.

I've written before about how editorial cartoons don't necessarily reflect the views of the newspaper's editorial board. After that, Community Conversation Editor Tim Delaney and I discussed making an even more concerted effort to look for a balance in editorial cartoons. No matter how much we say that cartoons are designed to be a thought-provoking art element on the Viewpoints page and not part of a liberal media conspiracy, readers don't buy it.

I told my neighbor I was glad to hear he noticed a difference. It can be a challenge at times when sorting through the syndicated cartoons we have available to us on a given day to find the right mix representing a spectrum of political views.

I expect we should be able to find more cartoons to the liking of conservatives once Barack Obama takes office. Editorial cartoonists like to lampoon those in power.

I told my neighbor we're trying to find the right balance and definitely don't want to drive away readers because of any political slant. Our interest is much more selfish in terms of what's good for the business instead of any ulterior motive to control the national political scene. Actually, I can't really see how the Advocate would change the national political scene if we tried. That's why we focus our editorial board views on local issues, where we hope we can make a difference.

But those pesky cartoons lead readers to think otherwise. My neighbor shook his head and walked away unconvinced.

If you're a critic of editorial cartoons, too, you might be interested in this American Journalism Review article about the struggles of this profession. Larger newspapers are cutting their cartoonists. The Advocate has never had a regular cartoonist on staff, although we are fortunate now to have talented multimedia editor Robert Zavala occasionally display his skills on our Viewpoints page. Check out his cartoon Sunday with the next installment of our Fatal Funnel series.