Spiked, killed, axed, rejected, whatever you want to call it, the above cartoon didn’t make it to print in today’s Hamilton Spectator. The higher-ups here felt my depiction of Jim Balsillie’s bid to bring the bankrupt Phoenix Coyotes NHL team to our fair city arriving at its mortal conclusion was premature.
I can’t fire up enough indignation to howl about my liberties as a free thinking editorial cartoonist being squashed. Ultimately, it’s the power of those who sign my paycheque to determine what gets printed and what doesn’t, and if a cartoon isn’t in line with its corporate position then why let it run. In these difficult times for the newspaper industry, compounded by the recession, I’m just grateful to actually have a job.
The editorial printed alongside where the above cartoon was to run was topped with a headline which read “A setback, not the end”. It’s easy to imagine readers being confused with a half full glass editorial next to a half empty cartoon. That’s just one of the reasons for it not running.
Another more significant reason is the support the Spectator has put in to backing the bid to bring an NHL team to Hamilton. The spirit of the cartoon simply isn’t in lock-step with the boosterism made evident by the newspaper’s participation in support of the bid, whether it’s sponsoring a pro hockey franchise rally, or posting pro bid petitions in the Spec’s lobby.
As a lifelong Hamiltonian I’d love to one day see our own NHL team liven things up in the city. It would energize us, revitalize certain parts of the city’s economy and blah, blah, blah… ***insert positive spin offs here***. Still, while we’ve never been so close to getting a team, we’re a long way off from seeing it happen with all the obstacles in front of any bid, and all the hoops which need to be jumped through. I’m happy with the cartoon, and maybe someday, when it’s obvious to everyone that this bid for the Coyotes has kicked the bucket, it’ll run in the Spec. Then, we can move on and wait for the next bid to take shape.