Tuesday, October 11, 2016

What The F**k, New York Times!

When the video of presidential candidate Donald Trump speaking candidly about women appeared, well, everywhere last week, journalists had to make very quick decisions about how to handle the language involved in the story.

Many news organizations opted to use asterisks in the key words like f**k and p***y.

But many outlets actually printed the full words and even displayed them prominently.

Here's how the New York Times justified the use of such coarse language in print and online:

The argument against using the words was driven by a concern that it would be jolting to readers, especially given that the story would be played so prominently on page one, and that there were other ways we could signal what Trump said without relying on the actual vulgar words.

Ultimately we decided that the words themselves were newsworthy, and that omitting them or merely describing them or slyly hinting at them would not have been forthright with our readers.

Did they make the right decision?

By running the full language, were they making a politically motivated decision? Should the potential impact of the words on the audience have been a factor in determining whether to use the full curse words?

Would you have printed the foul language or would you have danced around the issue in order to maintain civility?

10 comments:

Samuel Trilling said...

As a staunch believer in free speech and a critic of censorship, I have no problem with the New York Times using the exact language expressed in their article. I believe it is important to convey the message behind his words. The specific vulgar language he used conveys his feelings about women: that they are not humans but instead objects that he has to use at his disposal.

Teresa Sayers said...

I think the decision to print the full curse words could very easily politically motivated decision. But, it is also hard to judge that when something like this never really happened before in this exact situation, and when there are so many other factors involved.

The New York Times could have printed it in full because that’s what other news outlets were doing, and they wanted to appeal to the same audience.

I also think printing the full words had more of an impact on the reader, and with today’s rape culture it is very important for that impact to be felt. If that point had to be made by printing curse words in full on the front page of a newspaper, then I respect that decision.

If I were in that situation, I honestly do not know what I would do. I think I would print them in full, but I would have also been afraid of offending people.

Kaya Jones said...

The New York Times is not wrong for broadcasting the uncensored words. Some may say it was politically motivated but the bottom line is the exact words are what make the story newsworthy. In addition, the newspaper is the only outlet that can share the accurate story to the mass media and they should use that platform to educate their audience. Any person who disagrees with The New York Times choice to share the uncensored words because it negatively effected Trumps campaign should be mad at Trump for saying, they simply reciprocated what he said. I would have definitely printed the foul language if it was me.

Lauren Hillegas said...

I feel that I would've printed the exact words that Trump used. The comments were degrading and shocking because of the language he used, omitting them is simply not an option. Perhaps running the full language they are making a political move but these are words he choose to use. He is a presidential nominee, the public has a right to know what exactly their potential president says about women.

Zach Kocis said...

An audience does not grasp the full effect of the words until they have been printed in full. I think it's okay to partially censor the words in print, but NYTimes were fully within their rights to decide to print what was said. I think it has more of an impact that way. Is it politically motivated? No. They are running the truth of what he said. If Clinton had said something that appalling and it got leaked, I think they would run it too. Other tv stations and shows are using the audio without any censorship, so what was wrong with printing the words?

Siani Colon said...

I feel as though the decision to print the words completely was an important move on their part. Even if the words were partially censored, people would have a slight idea on just what exactly is being said. If you were have fully censored these demeaning words, it hides just how horrible what Trump said. Words can leave a big impact and I believe that it was necessary for the audience to understand that. They also didn't include it in the headline itself, which would have been very daunting. It was included in the article itself. If they are worried of offending an audience but still feel it is newsworthy, they could just put a warning in the very beginning that such foul language would be quoted. That's what I feel I would have done. I also do not believe it was a politically motivated move.

Emma Connolly said...

I think that if those horrible words have come out of the president-elects mouth, it's okay for the news to print them. However, this is a unique situation. My feelings about censorship depend on the situation. I think that there should be a warning about the inappropriate language somewhere in the beginning. I think they made the right decision and I would print the foul language given the situation.

Samantha Nestel said...

I would not have printed out the full curse words because I agree with the New York Times that the words would have been jolting being on page one. I also think that by not using the full curse words, it shows the professionalism of the journalist in the story. After all, its not the words Trump said that mattered, as much as the fact that he thought it was okay to say them. Using aterisks still allows you to know the words being used, but presents them in a more pleasing way. I think the impact of the words on the audience is a big factor that should be used in determining the use of curse words because if theres even a chance that someone would be offended, then the newspaper loses revenue due to the offended person not buying the paper. In the long run, its much smarter, safer and professional to use the aterisks.

Walter Kirby said...

As Donald Trump was a presidential candidate at the time, I think the New York Times did exactly what it should have in its publication. I think that since the publication censored it a little bit with the asterisk, it validates the usage even more. It does cover some newsworthiness criteria, such as prominence and human interest because people want to hear about everything going on around someone who could be the next president. Therefore, I think the New York Times made the right decision in writing out all the words that Donald Trump said. For them to ignore that statement or censor it more than they did, the quote would not have meant as much to the average American. So long as someone else said it, and not the publication itself, I believe the publication of vulgar words is appropriate.

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