Once upon a time, the family newspaper and its local broadcast equivalents cared enough about wholesome conversation to filter the profanities lest they offend the sensibilities of their readers, listeners or viewers. Either news executives don’t care anymore or their audiences have no sensibilities, or both, because the cussing is everywhere in journalism.
The latest evidence: The a-word is all over NPR. It has appeared in NPR coverage 22 times in the past year, most often when sources say it on air.
Worse, when a publication has a fit of common sense by not assaulting readers with vulgar, suggestive language, it faces ridicule for being puritanical. That’s what happened to the Los Angeles Times and other publications that showed discretion in not publicizing the name of a certain Russian punk band that has been in the news recently.
The shaming worked. Within days, the name of said punk band was being repeated in headline after headline of the Times.
The shaming ensued again, with CNN’s Anderson Cooper taking school officials to task. “These kids today with their perfect grades and their text-messaging and their extremely mild cursing,” he mocked in his feature “The Ridiculust. “If this is our future, then nobody’s getting their diplomas.”
So witty, that Cooper fella!
Shaming definitely is in order. Unfortunately, it’s being aimed at at the wrong people. The words of the prophet Isaiah echo in my ears: “Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter.”
Filed under: Culture and Education and Media and News & Politics and People and Religion