Taking @*#$%! from the WH Communications Director

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Another milestone in the history of NYT editorial policy: Peter Baker and Maggie Haberman, "Anthony Scaramucci’s Uncensored Rant: Foul Words and Threats to Have Priebus Fired", 7/27/2017:

Reince is a fucking paranoid schizophrenic, a paranoiac,” he said. […]

“I’m not Steve Bannon. I’m not trying to suck my own cock,” he said.

There's more "colorful language" where that came from — see Ryan Lizza, "Anthony Scaramucci Called Me to Unload About White House Leakers, Reince Priebus, and Steve Bannon", The New Yorker 7/27/2017. But uncensored quoting of taboo language has a longer history in that magazine.

Still, yesterday's article is not the NYT's first F-bomb — according to Tim Murphy, "No, the New York Times Didn't Change Its 'Fuck' Policy", Mother Jones 8/26/2013:

The Times‘ anti-profanity editorial policy is, as Salon has chronicled before, often absurd, leading to the awkward censorship of band names, book titles, and, at least once, the vice president of the United States. But it only applies to nonfiction. A quick  search through  the  paper’s  archives  reveals  dozens  of  instances  of  F-bombs  casually  inserted in  fiction  excerpts. Most of the time those are online-only features that supplement print reviews, but occasionally the word makes its way into the paper itself. And in some extenuating circumstances, such as the publication of the 1998 Starr Report, the paper’s news desk has consented to publish the F-word as it appears in quotes.

See also:

Ben Zimmer, "Mooch mouth: Scaramucci takes public profanity to a new level", Strong Language 7/28/2017
Sydney Ember, "Scaramucci’s Vulgar Rant Spurs Newsroom Debate: Asterisks or No Asterisks?", NYT 7/28/2017
Elizabeth Spiers, "White House Communication Director Anthony Scaramucci’s Statement Regarding Today’s Comments to The New Yorker Magazine", Medium 7/27/2017
"Onion Fact Checks: Anthony Scaramucci's 'New Yorker' Interview", The Onion 7/27/2017

Some previous LLOG coverage of the NYT's linguistic taboo twists and turns, mostly on the non-fiction side:

"No fuckin' winking at the Times", 8/17/2005
"[Expletive discussed]", 7/1/2005
"Words that can't be printed in the NYT", 6/5/2006
"Presidential expletive watch", 7/17/2006
"Taking shit from the President", 7/19/2006
"Further annals of taboo avoidance", 10/4/2006
"Taking no shit from judges", 6/7/2007
"The NYT transgresses", 8/23/2007
"Music Review: ********", 11/13/2007
"Times bowdlerizes column on Times bowdlerization", 7/12/2008
"Annals of Bowdlerization: Whiskey Tango Foxtrot", 12/6/2009
"The language of 'Mad Men' and the perils of self-expurgation", 7/22/2010
"Annals of [having sex] [feces]", 8/7/2010
"Larkin v. the Gray Lady", 4/16/2012
"The first 'asshole' in the Times?", 4/16/2012
"Not taking shit from the President?", 6/1/2014



  1. Stan Carey said,

    July 28, 2017 @ 6:51 am

    It's been a busy week at the Strong Language blog. Our latest post, by Ben Zimmer, reports on Scaramucci's assorted profanities and how news orgs have seen fit to print it, or not. Another post is in the works.

  2. mistah charley, ph.d. said,

    July 28, 2017 @ 8:22 am

    the remark about steve bannon reminds me of something i heard at the lunch table in the high school cafeteria

    why does a dog lick his balls?

    because he can

  3. Gregory Kusnick said,

    July 28, 2017 @ 10:44 am

    I await the day when the NYT decides it's OK to write "OK" instead of "O.K."

  4. rpsms said,

    July 28, 2017 @ 11:23 am

    Pretty soon we will be able to assign a new meaning for "to mooch off." Get to it people.

  5. Graeme said,

    July 29, 2017 @ 5:41 am

    As an intensifier for 'paranoiac', the f-word here is pretty tame compared to the obscene self-fellating image.

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