Killed Editorial Cartoon Has Brief Web Life

By: Dave Astor

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution decided not to publish an editorial cartoon in its April 15 print edition, but the drawing appeared briefly on the newspaper’s Web site before being pulled.

The drawing, by AJC staff cartoonist Mike Luckovich, showed Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue standing next to a flag emblazoned with the words “I’m With Stupid.” The caption stated: “A flag Georgians of all races could unite around.” Perdue was elected partly on a platform to push for a return to a more Confederate-oriented state flag.

AJC Editorial Page Editor Cynthia Tucker initially approved the cartoon but later reconsidered, said Luckovich. By that time, the cartoon had already been routed to the AJC Web site. Another site (http://www.georgiareporter.com) noted the cartoon’s brief appearance and showed the drawing. But the cartoon never appeared in the AJC‘s print edition.

Luckovich said Tucker supported the sentiments behind his cartoon but ultimately opted not to use it because Perdue hadn’t been governor that long and out of respect for the office of governor itself.

“There have only been two or three times in 10 years that Cynthia has had second thoughts about one of my cartoons,” Luckovich told E&P Online. “And she’s such a good editor that I can’t be mad at her about this.”

Luckovich reported receiving little reader reaction to the cartoon, possibly because it wasn’t on the Web site for long. And because of its local nature, the cartoon was never sent by Luckovich to Creators Syndicate, which distributes his work to about 160 papers.

Though the cartoon ended up on the AJC site by mistake, Luckovich didn’t mind too much. “I really like the cartoon,” he said. “I’m happy it got sort of a second life.” But he has mixed feelings about Perdue as a satirical target. “He’s great for me as a cartoonist,” noted Luckovich. “But I’m angry at the guy for what he’s doing to the state.”

Tucker, who also writes an AJC column distributed by Universal Press Syndicate, could not be reached for comment.

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