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Modern Censorship? 5 Words the NY Times Banned

July 21, 2008
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Gawker has reported that the New York Times has five (non-dirty) words that it will not print.

 

While most major publications have some sort of self-censorship editorial policies that forbid its editors and reporters from using expletives or profanity, these words are generally quite harmless. In fact, by banning the words or blanking them out, it might actually mislead readers into thinking that the word is far more obscene than what was actually said.  What’s more, most of the words on the list are words that are staples in most children’s vocabularies – the very same age group that the NY Times has said it’s trying to protect.


While we have no need to use any of these words in our magazine, I will be the first to admit that we do sometimes clean up direct quotes in interviews. The “um”s and “ah”s that an interviewee might say are the first to go, and I don’t think anyone misses them. There is a difference between grammatical errors in print than when spoken, and we certainly don’t wish to embarrass our interview subjects by quoting their grammar mistakes. Not to mention, those ums and ahs take up valuable word space in the magazine.


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