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June 06, 2014

Journalistic Racism

It's the only plausible explanation, n'est pas?

... why would the Times print Nixon's "sh**t" but not Obama's? Hard to say, especially since there's another presidential precedent: the Times didn't mince words in 2006 when George W. Bush was overheard saying, "What they need to do is get Syria to get Hezbollah to stop doing this sh**, and it's over." The unexpurgated quote appeared both in a news story and a Thomas Friedman op/ed.

And since then, there have been non-presidential exceptions as well. In 2007, the Times quoted the transcript of a call believed to be from Republican political consultant Roger Stone to Gov. Eliot Spitzer's father: "There is not a g****mn thing your phony, psycho, piece-of-sh** son can do about it."

More recently, "sh**" appeared in the Times in "Invisible Child," a multi-part story last December about a homeless girl in Brooklyn named Dasani. Part 4 ("Finding Strength in the Bonds of Her Siblings") includes this line from Dasani's mother Chanel: "I don't give a sh** if she's crying." The fourth installment was also notable for not one but two appearances of "f**k" in lines attributed to Chanel: "Shut the f**k up" and "She think she some-f**king-body." The F-bombs were noteworthy enough to warrant discussion by the Times's public editor Margaret Sullivan ("'Invisible Child': Behind the Scenes, Before and After," 12/12/13), though the S-bomb wasn't explicitly mentioned.

In her column on the Dasani series, Sullivan quoted Philip B. Corbett, associate managing editor for standards, as saying, "Our basic guidelines about avoiding vulgarities and obscenities haven't changed, but we all recognize that there are cases where an exception is justified."

Villains (usually Republican, but we repeat our ownselves) are foul mouthed (*&^%s. When they do it, it's relevant because it reveals deeper insights into their character.

The utterances of legitimate leaders with gravitas are edited after the fact to use more dignified terms. Like "stuff". Sure, they used the same bad word, but we wouldn't want to leave readers with a bad impression.

Posted by Cassandra at June 6, 2014 07:17 AM

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Good thing I don't cuss. Might teach the VES *bad* things.

Posted by: DL Sly at June 6, 2014 12:17 PM

Everyone knows that Empty Chair's speech is without flaw; you must have a racist, sexist hearing problem.

Posted by: htom at June 6, 2014 03:51 PM

I know that cussing is prevalent in our society. Until I got saved I was one of the worst, and after that cussing was one of the hardest to give up.
How a person talks to others, verbally, musically or in writing is a large part of how their character can define who they are.
Occasional swears are to be expected. Slam your finger in a car door and you're gonna say just the right words to express your feelings.
However, cussing for the sake of cussing can be summed up thusly: Small minds expressing themselves.

Posted by: Joatmoaf at June 7, 2014 10:04 AM

Preview, preview, preview...
"...large part of how their character "and" can define who they are..."

Posted by: Joatmoaf at June 7, 2014 10:10 AM

I've always viewed cussing as a "time and place" sort of thing.

People ought to be able to express themselves without cussing, but at certain times and in certain places, it's like an exclamation point and I don't have any problem with it.

I'll admit that I do it, mostly when I'm really upset about something and I'm venting.

Just as an aside, I've never figured out the difference between saying "crap", "sh**", and the thousand other ways one can refer to the same thing. Of course when I was little my Mom wouldn't let me say "crap", either :p

Posted by: Cass at June 7, 2014 04:40 PM

Good thing I don't cuss.

Can you hear my eyes rolling from here? :p

Let me guess - you let your t-shirt do it for you....

*running away*

Posted by: Cass at June 7, 2014 04:41 PM

Hell, I swear like a Sailor, though I've tried to tone it down somewhat in public.

This piece is disturbing not because of foul language, but because it us yet another evidence of proof of (Democratic) liberal bias in the MSM.

It is of course somewhat worse in that the obvious duplicity is assumed to be invisible to their audience.

Posted by: CAPT Mike at June 8, 2014 01:47 AM

I'll be the first to admit, I'm just awful about cussing. Been so since I enlisted (it's amazing how creative drill sergeants can be with invective). I do my utmost to censor myself in most social settings.

That said, it doesn't trouble me in the slightest if the President wants to drop a worty dird now again. Lord knows I've heard, and said, much worse.

Posted by: MikeD at June 9, 2014 01:03 PM

This piece is disturbing not because of foul language, but because it us yet another evidence of proof of (Democratic) liberal bias in the MSM.

That's the point I intended to make. I see no real reason any paper or news outlet needs to include cussing in its news coverage. Euphenism exist for a reason.

But whatever the standard, it should not be applied on a partisan basis.

Posted by: Cass at June 9, 2014 01:18 PM

"Can you hear my eyes rolling from here? :p"

But I don't cuss. When you've elevated profanity to the linguistic stylings I have, it's no longer just plain "cussin'".
And to think I got my start at Cassandra's Cussin' Class fer Country and Corps! One would think you'd be *proud* of just such a student.

Posted by: DL Sly at June 9, 2014 01:51 PM