‘Anniston Star’ Protests Dropping of ‘Doonesbury’

By: Dave Astor

The Anniston (Ala.) Star accused a publishers’ consortium of censorship for dropping “Doonesbury” from a Sunday comics package.

According to e-mails the Star posted today on Romenesko (http://www.poynter.org), Continental Features polled its newspaper clients about whether Garry Trudeau’s strip should remain in the Sunday package. Reportedly, 21 voted to drop it and 15 to keep it.

Star Publisher H. Brandt Ayers told Continental that he and his editors “strongly object to an obviously political effort to silence a minority point of view. For years, my New Deal father bore the opposition views of Orphan Annie and Daddy Warbucks, and I believe he would have fought an effort to silence them by a simple majority vote. This is wrong, offensive to First Amendment freedoms.”

And, in a message to the National Conference of Editorial Writers, Star Editorial Page Editor Bob Davis
said: “The business side has made a decision on editorial content. The Star finds this censorship unacceptable.”

“Doonesbury” — which appears in more than 1,400 newspapers via Universal Press Syndicate — has been in the news a lot this year for its strong criticism of the Bush administration and the Iraq war.

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