Doonesbury Cartoons on Frank Sinatra
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.
On the advice of its lawyers, The Times has chosen to stick its head in the sand and avoid possible controversy. Apparently the fear of having to defend a baseless libel action is more important to The Times and its lawyers than informing the public of the truth.
GEORGE R. RITTER
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.