'Doonesbury' not the victim of right-wing conspiracy

It has been many years now since you removed "Doonesbury" from your daily cartoon page. It is sorely missed by this reader who I am sure is not alone in his lament. Instead, we readers get another cartoon, while sometimes amusing, that lacks the punch and contemporary perspective on the world that "Doonesbury" provided. And to add insult to injury, we are given daily (except Sunday) the following statement: "'Doonesbury'" creator Garry Trudeau has taken a hiatus from producing the strip. It will return when he does." How can this be the truth when I have seen the Trudeau strip in other newspapers since the time of removal, and yet it also magically appears in your Sunday edition? Are you covering something up? Like maybe you don't want to pay the fee for this wonderful, incisive (and always amusing) look at the foibles of the political and social scene of the U.S. and the world? Or maybe you are afraid of a backlash from a minority of readers? If so, why don't you include that caveat under the cartoon strip that appears instead of "Doonesbury?" What's the honest scoop? Confess!

— Richard K., by email

Confession may be good for the soul, Richard, but we must tell you that we are not part of some vast right-wing conspiracy to suppress liberal comic strips.

Garry Trudeau no longer produces daily comic strips; his only original work appears in Sunday strips, which you correctly note we do carry.

Trudeau stopped the daily "Doonesbury" strips in 2014 after writing and co-producing "Alpha House," a political sit-com starring John Goodman that revolved around four U.S. senators who lived together in a townhouse on Capitol Hill. The show had a second season but is no longer in production.

Despite that — and despite suggestions this was just a hiatus — Trudeau has not returned to creating the daily strip. That's probably not for a lack of material, given the current goings-on in our nation's capital. If he does return, we plan to resume running the daily strips.

Some papers run "Doonesbury" reruns during the week — Trudeau and the company that syndicate "Doonesbury" said they were more than happy to be paid over and over again for the same material. We opted not to do that, in part because his strips (unlike "Peanuts") often are connected to current events. We also asked our boss whether we could submit old news stories instead of writing new ones and still be paid. That conversation did not go well.

— Send questions to “Since You Asked,” Mail Tribune Newsroom, P.O. Box 1108, Medford, OR 97501; by fax to 541-776-4376; or by email to youasked@mailtribune.com. We’re sorry, but the volume of questions received prevents us from answering all of them.

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