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Funny business 

An astute funnies reader notified News Hits that the “Doonesbury” comic strip in last Friday’s Free Press did not make sense and wasn’t funny. That was because the Freep deleted the punch line.

“All our comics are edited for taste purposes and legal content,” says John Smyntek, Detroit Free Press special features and syndicate editor.

You bet. The Freep edited another “Doonesbury” last year that chided Dubya Bush for alleged alcohol and cocaine abuse. Though we could not make contact with Trudeau at the time, a spokesperson for Universal Press Syndicate, which distributes the comic, sent News Hits the cartoonist’s response to the way a North Carolina paper edited his work: “Our view is that while client newspapers obviously have the right to run or not run any given strip, it is unethical to alter the content and represent it as a work by me.”

Last Friday’s punch line, by the way, involved polluters anxious to bed Interior Secretary Gale Norton. The original i s at

News Hits was written by Ann Mullenand edited by W. Kim Heron. He can be reached by phone at 313-202-8004 or via e-mail

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