Garry Trudeau Defends Doonsebury Strip on UVa Rape Story


Longtime cartoonist Garry Trudeau is at pains this week to explain this Sunday’s Doonesbury strip, in which a character expresses outrage at the UVa rape story reported two months ago by Rolling Stone — without any apparent indication that the story had since been discredited, in what was widely considered the year’s largest act of journalistic malpractice. As spotted by Trudeau fan club treasurer Sonny Bunch:

Trudeau, who has inked the iconic comic the late 60s, defended the strip Tuesday, telling Slate’s Betsy Woodruff that the long lead time on comics meant events sometimes outpaced his characters’ reactions to them.

But he also told both Slate and the Washington Post (which publishes the strip) that the larger commentary stood, even if the facts of the story had been overturned.

“We had some internal discussion about whether the flaws in the [Rolling Stone] reporting mattered here, and we concluded they didn’t,” Trudeau told the Post. “U-Va. is only used as setup to get the reader to consider the larger problem of institutions prioritizing their reputations over the welfare of those they’re charged with safeguarding.”

“That issue has remained front and center, and even U-Va. recognizes that sloppy reporting doesn’t change the fact that they have a huge problem within their culture,” he said.

Trudeau said several papers had requested replacement strips, and that in some papers the actual UVa name didn’t run, due to space constraints.

[h/t Slate / WaPo]

[Image via screengrab]

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