Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Once more, with less feeling

CJR Daily wonders why the New York Times omitted a swear word from a quote by Gen. Tommy Franks about Douglas Feith, a former Pentagon official.

Here's the quote as it appeared in Bob Woodward's "Plan of Attack" in 2003: "I have to deal with the fucking stupidest guy on the face of the earth almost every day."

Here's the partial quote in the NYT from May 24: "Gen. Tommy R. Franks of the Army, the top commander of the Iraq invasion, once referred to him as 'the stupidest guy on the face of the earth.' "

By omitting fucking without ellipses, the Times has misquoted Franks (a problem that could have easily been fixed by starting the quote at stupidest instead of the).

But CJR Daily would take issue even if that problem was fixed.
We have been deprived of the full force of Franks's rage. Yes, we still get that the general doesn't like the bureaucrat, but "fucking" is such a taboo adjective that his decision to use it even when talking to Woodward, the administration's most faithful stenographer, shows just how much he wanted to make his contempt for Feith public.


At 8:30 AM, May 31, 2006, Blogger tom said...

They're just sore that they've been denied the transgressive thrill of seeing the Times publish the F-word.

As thrilling as that prospect is, I don't think this quote crosses the threshold of newsworthiness that requires its publication.

A soldier lobbing F-bombs? That's supposed to be news?


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