Some Papers Pull, Edit 'Doonesbury' Strip After 'Turd Blossom' Reference
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Some Papers Pull, Edit 'Doonesbury' Strip After 'Turd Blossom' Reference

Associated Press | July 26, 2005
By David Twiddy

KANSAS CITY, Mo. About a dozen newspapers have objected to the use of toilet humor in Tuesday's and Wednesday's "Doonesbury" comic strip, and some either pulled or edited the strip.

Kansas City-based Universal Press Syndicate, which distributes the strip to around 1,400 newspapers, said it had received some complaints from editors about a reference to presidential aide Karl Rove.

In the strip, a caricature of President Bush refers to Rove as "turd blossom." (This is, reportedly, one of the president's old joking nicknames for Rove.)

Lee Salem, editor at Universal Press, said the complaints, from 10 to 12 newspapers, weren't unexpected, given the concerns many editors have about language in the funny papers. But 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.

Among those with concerns was the Providence (R.I.) Journal. There, editors simply 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."

Rawson said the paper would take the same approach with Wednesday's strip.

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