OUR FEARLESS MEDIA: Doonesbury gets censored, banned again for adult political candor & realism
Wednesday 27 July 2005 2:45 AM EDT
Some newspapers pull,
edit 'Doonesbury' comic
KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- It may be President Bush's nickname for key political adviser Karl Rove, but some editors don't think it belongs in their newspapers.
About a dozen papers objected to Tuesday's and Wednesday's "Doonesbury" comic strips, and some either pulled or edited them.
The strips refer to Rove, the White House deputy chief of staff, as "Turd Blossom."
Lee Salem, editor at Kansas City-based Universal Press Syndicate, which distributes the strip to 1,400 papers, said the complaints from 10 to 12 newspapers weren't unexpected. As opposed to other times when editors have objected to Doonesbury content, the syndicate did not send out replacement strips.
"Given the coverage of Karl Rove, we thought it was appropriate, especially given the history of the strip," Salem said.
Doonesbury's creator, Garry Trudeau, has infuriated some editors over the years with his language, images and political themes. An e-mail to Trudeau wasn't immediately returned Tuesday.
Salem said that since newspapers don't have to notify the syndicate when they choose to remove a strip, it's impossible to know how many papers ran Tuesday's comic.
In the strip, Bush and an aide are lamenting the problems the administration has had over allegations that Rove leaked the name of a CIA officer to reporters.
Bush says, "Karl's sure been earnin' his nickname lately."
The unnamed aide says, "Boy Genius? I'm not so sure sir ..."
Bush then says, "Hey Turd Blossom! Get in here."
The term is said to be one of several nicknames Bush uses for Rove, one of his closest allies and who is widely credited for Bush's election in 2000 and re-election in 2004. The mainstream U.S. media have rarely mentioned the nickname, but it has gained traction in the international press and on the Internet.
Among those with concerns was the Providence (R.I.) Journal, whose editors removed the offensive word from the strip's final panel.
"I didn't think (taking out the word) hurt it," Executive Editor Joel Rawson said. "I would prefer to run the strip and if we can edit it, that's fine."
Other papers, such as The Kansas City Star, removed the strip entirely, replacing it with an older one.
"We thought it was in bad taste and probably unclear to a lot of people why we would be using the term," said Steve Shirk, the Star's managing editor/news.
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