Censorship or Printing Error?

The White Plains, NY Journal News, a Gannett newspaper, runs Doonesbury seven days a week. The Sunday comics are included with the Saturday paper, which means that on Saturday, June 21, I opened the color comics section expecting to read the next day's Doonesbury, preferably with punchline still included.

I recommend that you head off to read the entire strip right now, then come back to here.

What I got instead of a punchline was this:
original panel altered panel photo of printed panel
This panel is from the Doonesbury web site. This panel is digitally altered to resemble the panel as it appeared in the Gannett Journal News of White Plains. This is a photo of the actual printed panel.

American Comics (who print the color section) and Gannett both claim that it was a "printer's error"--a smudge on the film. Certainly, such errors do occur. However, it's remarkable that the smudge completely obliterates the name and touches nothing else in the panel--not the comma preceding "Bill", not the line under the name, and no part of the balloon border. Just a little Bennett-seeking smudge. Imagine that!

You make the call.

Doonesbury is copyright by Garry Trudeau; this panel is copyright 2003.