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Vice President Biden’s barely audible use of the “F” word was newsworthy, made-for-the-Internet flash. But front page play in four of New York’s five newspapers?!?
New York media’s fixation with the “F” word exploded yesterday ahead of the Biden story. Someone protesting a massive Brooklyn redevelopment project hacked into an electronic traffic sign and inserted “F— Ratner,” spelling out the four-letter word and directing it at the developer, Bruce Ratner.
We reported yesterday how online editors were divided on using a photo of the “F” sign in its natural versus an edited state. Bloggers went au natural, as did The Brooklyn Paper.
However, the Times, Post and NY1 obliterated three of the word’s four letters.
Who were they protecting? The children who’d see today’s front pages — or hear the buzz on TV or the interent — and easily guess what was left out? Or readers who still have a sense of propriety — certainly, they would not be offended by Metro’s giant f****g. Give me a F—ing break!
Although both the Times and Post yesterday prominently featured the traffic sign online — edited — neither referenced it in their print editions today.
As for Biden, the Times was alone is not running a big story on his stumble, covering it instead at the end of a bill-signing sidebar on A19:
Mr. Biden introduced Mr. Obama, lauding the president’s “perseverance” and “clarity of purpose.” But in a remark that he clearly did not intend to be heard, Mr. Biden used a vulgarity in his private congratulations to the president that, while not audible inside the room, was picked up by a broadcast microphone and spread quickly across the Internet.
“Mr. President, this is a big [expletive] deal,” Mr. Biden whispered, inserting an adjective not used in polite conversation. Later, the White House press secretary, Robert Gibbs, sent out a message over Twitter: “And yes, Mr. Vice President, you’re right.”