The Times has received 221 letters commenting on its decision not to print all of Garry Trudeau’s Doon e sbury strips on Frank Sinatra; 206 criticized The Times’ decision and/or praised Trudeau; 15 criticized Trudeau and/or praised Sinatra.
As an alumnus of Stevens Institute of Technology, I was deeply offended by its decision to honor Frank Sinatra with an honorary doctor’s degree. Your refusal to print the Doonesbury criticism offends me in a more profound way. If The Times, armed as it is with First Amendment rights, cannot publish critical comment in support of simple decency, who can?
Editor’s Note: The Times risks lawsuits again and again because taking the risk is often the only way to get important information to its readers. Most of the Sinatra panels were withheld, not because of fear of litigation but because the newspaper was strongly advised by its lawyers that they would have substantial problems defending in court any libel suit that might have been filed.