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Welcome to STop, the Seattle Times Opinion blog where our editorial writers and editors share their evolving thoughts on a variety of issues. STop is a place where opinion writers and readers can exchange views and readers can learn more about how editorial positions are formed.

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February 05, 2004

The role of an editorial 'toon

I got a great email today that had a link to a column by E.J. Dionne Jr. in which he chastises those that would make a comparison between Michael Dukakis and John Kerry.

Turns out that's exactly what I did about a week ago. Which got me thinking about editorial cartoons, how they work, don't work and what their role is.

Sometimes I think of myself as a columnist who writes one very opinionated sentence a day. Take my Dukakis/Kerry cartoon, for example. If it were a column it might read: "As a liberal Democrat from Massachusetts, John Kerry cannot win the general election."

No supporting evidence, no sources, just blunt opinion designed for half of this country's electorate to disagree with, calling out the masses to defend their candidate. That's exactly what a good editorial cartoon does. It sparks debate, disagreement, and sometimes even polite discourse.

Now consider a more even handed approach to the same cartoon: "The war hero and patriot John Kerry may possibly have a bit of trouble winning the general election, as did Michael Dukakis. All because his home state of Massachusetts is viewed by many in the south and midwest, some say wrongfully so, as the mecca of liberalism."

Both are fair opinions. The difference is one sparks debate, the other a coma.

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Posted by Eric Devericks at February 5, 2004 02:27 PM



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