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Last Updated: Monday, 25 October, 2004, 16:46 GMT 17:46 UK
Paper sorry for 'kill Bush' line
George W Bush
No harm intended, says the Guardian
A UK newspaper has apologised for an article seeming to urge the assassination of the US president.

The Guardian apologised for the "flippant" final lines of a Saturday column written by Charlie Brooker but added that the tone had been ironic.

"John Wilkes-Booth, Lee Harvey Oswald, John Hinckley Jr, where are you now that we need you?" the piece had asked.

The former two assassinated Abraham Lincoln and John F Kennedy while Hinckley wounded Ronald Reagan.

Regretting Mr Brooker's "flippant and tasteless comments", the paper said the final line of the article was meant to be an "ironic joke, not... a call to action" against George W Bush.

"He [Charlie Brooker] believed regular readers of his humorous column would understand," the Guardian said in its corrections section on Monday.

The newspaper recently annoyed residents of Clark County in the US swing state of Ohio by encouraging its readers to contact undecided American voters urging them to vote.

The quest sparked a flurry of offended replies telling Guardian readers to mind their own business.

The newspaper called an abrupt halt to the campaign after its website was broken into by angry hackers.


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