[Ads-l] The Mooch and print journalism

Ben Zimmer bgzimmer at GMAIL.COM
Sat Jul 29 22:45:44 EDT 2017


Y'all may be conflating a couple of different incidents. Dick Cheney
told Patrick Leahy "(Go) fuck yourself" in 2004. Before that, in 2000,
George W. Bush was overheard talking to Cheney about New York Times
reporter Adam Clymer, calling him a "major-league asshole."

As to George's recollection, the Times did not reproduce the "fuck" in
Cheney's comment to Leahy -- they wimped out and rendered it as "an angry
obscene version of 'get lost.'" My Language Log post from 2008 covers this
and various other Timesian bowdlerizations:

http://languagelog.ldc.upenn.edu/nll/?p=349

Also, ICYMI, my post on the Mooch for Strong Language:

https://stronglang.wordpress.com/2017/07/28/mooch-mouth-
scaramucci-takes-public-profanity-to-a-new-level/

--bgz


On Sat, Jul 29, 2017 at 5:21 PM, paul johnson <paulzjoh at mtnhome.com> wrote:

> My memory was a NYT reporter
>
>
>
> On 7/29/2017 4:10 PM, Marc Sacks wrote:
>
>> I believe the someone, for what it's worth, was Sen. Patrick Leahy of
>> Vermont.
>>
>> On Sat, Jul 29, 2017 at 2:27 PM, George Thompson <george.thompson at nyu.edu
>> >
>> wrote:
>>>
>>>
>>> As I recall, during the Cheney administration, Dick Cheney told someone
>>> to
>>> go fuck himself.  the NYTimes printed it in full, and responded to a
>>> complaint by saying that the words of the president-behind-the-throne had
>>> said was the news story and it could not properly be reported without
>>> quoting them.
>>> Meanwhile, TLS (the Times Literary Supplement), a sister publication to
>>> the
>>> [London] Times, the original Gray Lady, now allows its writers to use the
>>> emphatic "fuck"/"fucking".  Mind you, that Times is now owned by Rupert
>>> Murdock.
>>>
>>> GAT
>>>
>>> On Sat, Jul 29, 2017 at 2:14 PM, Laurence Horn <laurence.horn at yale.edu>
>>> wrote:
>>>
>>> On the topic of The Mooch:
>>>>
>>>> Interesting moment in the history of the F-word and related
>>>> asteriskabilia...
>>>>
>>>> As many of you have no doubt noticed, The Mooch=E2=80=99s rant (first of
>>>>
>>> =
>>> what we
>>>
>>>> can hope will be many) has led to the Decency Drawbridge being
>>>> significantly lowered by the Gray Lady and other news sources.  Am I
>>>>
>>> righ=
>>> t
>>>
>>>> in thinking this was the first (or one of the first) instances in which
>>>>
>>> t=
>>> he
>>>
>>>> Times has printed =E2=80=9Cfucking=E2=80=9D in so many letters? (Jesse
>>>>
>>> wi=
>>> ll know.) Not to
>>>
>>>> mention the bit where The Mooch maintains that he, unlike Bannon,
>>>> isn=E2=
>>>>
>>> =80=99t
>>>
>>>> =E2=80=9Ctrying to suck [his] own cock=E2=80=9D.  Note this article in
>>>>
>>> to=
>>> day=E2=80=99s print
>>>
>>>> version reflecting on the issue:
>>>>
>>>> =3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D
>>>> https://www.nytimes.com/2017/07/28/business/scaramuccis-
>>>> vulgar-rant-spurs-newsroom-debate-asterisks-or-no-asterisks.html
>>>>
>>>>
>>>> [=E2=80=A6]
>>>> At The New York Times, editors had a lengthy, raucous discussion about
>>>> which obscenities to include, and how many. Dean Baquet, the executive
>>>> editor of The Times, made the final decision.
>>>>
>>>> =E2=80=9CWe concluded that it was newsworthy that a top Trump aide used
>>>>
>>> s=
>>> uch
>>>
>>>> language,=E2=80=9D Cliff Levy, a deputy managing editor at The Times,
>>>>
>>> wro=
>>> te on
>>>
>>>> Twitter. =E2=80=9CAnd we didn=E2=80=99t want our readers to have to
>>>>
>>> searc=
>>> h elsewhere to
>>>
>>>> find out what Scaramucci said.=E2=80=9D
>>>>
>>>> Still, the publication of so many expletives and vulgarities, while
>>>>
>>> deeme=
>>> d
>>>
>>>> newsworthy, may have baffled any reader accustomed to The Times of yore.
>>>>
>>>> =E2=80=9CThere is no question in my mind that in recent years, we have
>>>>
>>> be=
>>> en more
>>>
>>>> open to considering exceptions in a range of cases,=E2=80=9D Phil
>>>>
>>> Corbett=
>>> , the
>>>
>>>> standards editor for The Times, said. =E2=80=9CFifteen years ago, we
>>>>
>>> almo=
>>> st never
>>>
>>>> would have made exceptions like this.=E2=80=9D
>>>>
>>>> One Times policy has remained intact: after publishing vulgar language
>>>>
>>> an=
>>> d
>>>
>>>> obscenities in an article, the paper rarely repeats them in subsequent
>>>> ones. And, thus, this story.
>>>> =3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D
>>>>
>>>> =E2=80=94That is, Ember=E2=80=99s article itself avoids all such terms,
>>>>
>>> r=
>>> eferring instead
>>>
>>>> to "an F and G with asterisks between" and =E2=80=9CC-blocking=E2=80=9D.
>>>>
>>> =
>>>   But while that
>>>
>>>> may be the Times=E2=80=99 policy, it apparently can be relaxed for
>>>>
>>> column=
>>> ists, as
>>>
>>>> seen in this op-ed by Bret Stephens in the same issue, which spells
>>>> everything out in full (sixth and seventh paragraphs down):
>>>>
>>>> https://www.nytimes.com/2017/07/28/opinion/trump-vulgarity-
>>>> scaramucci-conservatives.html
>>>>
>>>>
>>>>

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