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Old 11-07-2019, 01:25 PM
jrbor76 is offline
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Milw. Journal Sentinel 11/6/19 -- censor goof or editorial decision?


[Spoiler -- may be questionable
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use of language here]

So I saw something yesterday on the front page of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that I don't think I've ever seen in a mainstream newspaper before... the use of uncensored profanity in a story.

Specifically, as used by our governor, the phrase
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"absolute bullshit."

(I won't get into the circumstances of the story because it's political and this isn't the place for that.) But I found it interesting specifically because it wasn't censored or edited or anything, just printed exactly like I typed it now. I'm not a prude or anything, but I was always under the impression mainstream news sources weren't allowed to use that type of language explicitly. I'd always seen edited versions of the language until now. And it's not like it was buried in a back page, it was right there, page one, above the fold, at the end of the first paragraph to be specific.

The other interesting thing is, I picked up the Wisconsin State Journal (out of Madison) to get their take on the same story, and they used the same quote, but they placed it about halfway through the story, on one of the center pages, and they did edit the quote (printing it as "absolute bull****" IIRC).

I'm kind of wondering, how did the Milwaukee paper get away with doing this? Was the censor/editor/whoever takes care of these things asleep at the switch? Did the author/editor/whoever feel that the story just wouldn't carry the same weight if it had been an edited version of the phrase? Did the FCC or whoever recently relax restrictions on this kind of thing in major news sources and I just never heard about it?

Thoughts, anybody? (Also, if this thread needs to be moved to another SDMB forum, I'm perfectly fine with that.)
  #2  
Old 11-07-2019, 01:34 PM
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Just FYI, the FCC has no jurisdiction over the content of newspapers; I'm not sure if there is any government regulatory body which does (and that's a feature, not a bug, IMO).

I vote for "editorial decision."
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Old 11-07-2019, 01:56 PM
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https://www.theatlantic.com/technolo...-times/535197/

Looks like the NY Times has published much worse. As long as they're quoting someone verbatim, I don't see a problem with it.
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Old 11-07-2019, 02:38 PM
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Last Tuesday Nicole Wallace described the Faux News drones who were spreading the rumor that Lt Col Vindman was a Ukrainian spy as "chickenshit." Granted, it's a cable channel rather than broadcast; still, it did cause me to raise an eyebrow a fraction of a millimeter. There was a bit of laughter from the panel, but the general consensus appeared to me more along the lines of "finally, someone's using the right term!"
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Old 11-07-2019, 03:19 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jrbor76 View Post
[...]I was always under the impression mainstream news sources weren't allowed to use that type of language explicitly[.....]
They can use whatever language they want under the First Amendment. The Washington Post has been very busy printing quotes with this type of language since January 2016. I have read shit, pussy, and fuck in the Post for the first time, all as direct quotes. Some publications will be more timid about quoting these words, but the Post believes that if they said it, the Post wants you to know.
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Old 11-07-2019, 03:29 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OttoDaFe View Post
Last Tuesday Nicole Wallace described the Faux News drones who were spreading the rumor that Lt Col Vindman was a Ukrainian spy as "chickenshit." Granted, it's a cable channel rather than broadcast; still, it did cause me to raise an eyebrow a fraction of a millimeter. There was a bit of laughter from the panel, but the general consensus appeared to me more along the lines of "finally, someone's using the right term!"
They had a great section on Last Week Tonight of how she loves to actually say "bleep" instead of profanity. They played about 10 or so clips before finally finishing with the chickenshit clip.
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Old 11-07-2019, 08:50 PM
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They had a great section on Last Week Tonight of how she loves to actually say "bleep" instead of profanity. They played about 10 or so clips before finally finishing with the chickenshit clip.
She said today that her seven-year-old son has a $1 "cuss jar" for her.

As a side note, she has implied that having a seven-year-old son is a great help in understanding Trump's behavior.
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Old 11-12-2019, 09:03 PM
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The question of how to print quotes with profanity (not to mention various *-* words) has bothered news media for decades. I'm pretty sure John Nance Garner said something stronger about the job of Vice President being "not worth a bucket of warm spit." During Watergate the pearl-clutching word was Richard Nixon's "screw." But even the mainstream outlets who chose to print that drew the line at Nixon's offhand ethnic slurs.

Where I live "pissed off" is creeping into the newspaper. But when the evening newscasts show a clip where someone drops an unbleeped f-bomb, that's when I'll sit up and say "What!"

Last edited by Kent Clark; 11-12-2019 at 09:04 PM.
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Old 11-13-2019, 09:06 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kent Clark View Post
The question of how to print quotes with profanity (not to mention various *-* words) has bothered news media for decades. I'm pretty sure John Nance Garner said something stronger about the job of Vice President being "not worth a bucket of warm spit." During Watergate the pearl-clutching word was Richard Nixon's "screw." But even the mainstream outlets who chose to print that drew the line at Nixon's offhand ethnic slurs.

Where I live "pissed off" is creeping into the newspaper. But when the evening newscasts show a clip where someone drops an unbleeped f-bomb, that's when I'll sit up and say "What!"
In the Nixon era the press had to figure out what to do about the profanity on the White House tapes. The solution was "[expletive deleted]".

I've always wondered if McAuliffe really said "Nuts!"
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Old 11-13-2019, 02:46 PM
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We've come a long way from the 1930s my etymological dictionary described c**t and f**k as the only SE [standard English] that cannot be printed in full anywhere in the English speaking world. But it is nobody's job to regulate it.
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Old 11-13-2019, 02:58 PM
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Way back in 1976, Secretary of Agriculture Earl Butz infamously made a racist comment that cost him his job. The quote was "I'll tell you what the coloreds want. It's three things: first, a tight pussy; second, loose shoes; and third, a warm place to shit." This was national news but newspapers were in a quandary about how to report it without printing those nasty words. A few papers did actually print the profanity, and did not get in any trouble for it (except perhaps among some of their readership).
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Old 11-13-2019, 03:06 PM
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Originally Posted by CookingWithGas View Post
In the Nixon era the press had to figure out what to do about the profanity on the White House tapes. The solution was "[expletive deleted]".
Occasionally more.

Last edited by silenus; 11-13-2019 at 03:06 PM.
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Old 11-13-2019, 05:25 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jrbor76 View Post
(I won't get into the circumstances of the story because it's political and this isn't the place for that.) But I found it interesting specifically because it wasn't censored or edited or anything, just printed exactly like I typed it now. I'm not a prude or anything, but I was always under the impression mainstream news sources weren't allowed to use that type of language explicitly. I'd always seen edited versions of the language until now. And it's not like it was buried in a back page, it was right there, page one, above the fold, at the end of the first paragraph to be specific.
In this case (the article is here), the circumstances are absolutely relevant. The point of the quote is to show just how pissed off the governor was.
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Old 11-14-2019, 09:58 AM
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I don't consider "shit" to be a vulgar word. It's a useful word for which there is no substitute. When someone says "Oh, shit" or "That's some good shit," the idea is conveyed.

When The New York Times printed Richard Nixon's telephone conversations word-for-word, they included the word "shit." When asked about their policy regarding the word, they supposedly responded "We will print shit from the President, but no one else."
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Old 11-14-2019, 01:16 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Annie-Xmas View Post
I don't consider "shit" to be a vulgar word. It's a useful word for which there is no substitute.
Just because a word is useful and fills a specific usage does not mean it's not vulgar. Fuck, cunt, cocksucker, motherfucker, and asshole are useful words for which there are no substitutes but they are all vulgar and so is shit.

Last edited by CookingWithGas; 11-14-2019 at 01:16 PM.
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Old 11-14-2019, 01:23 PM
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Hmmmm....having sex and stupid bitch come to mind for the first two, I avoid all discussions where literal use of the next two would come be used, and I do say "You ass" when appropriate. But no other phrase conveys the essence of "Oh, SHIT."
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