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Nancy Graham
Brittany Stephenson
English 1010
December 10, 2015
The Case for Profanity in Print
The Case for Profanity in Print by Jesse Sheidlower published in The New York Times
on March 31, 2014. He worked in the Reference Department at Random House from 1996 to
1999. Next Sheildlower worked as the Principal North American Editor of the Oxford English
Dictionary from 1999 to 2005. Then became the editor-at-large at Oxford until 2013. Sheidlower
is the author of several books, including The F-Word and It Word. Sheidlower has been
invited to speak on several television and radio shows including PBS and NPR.
The intended audience for the article is the average New York Times print reader and
online readers across the nation. Sheidlower pleas with the audience to demand print news media
evolve. He states, Its time to print exactly what we mean. The author asserts that society has
changed and is ready to accept offensive words as long as they are pertinent to the story.
Euphemisms do not leave readers with a clear understanding of the story and are outdated, says
Sheidlower.
The article is well written using common language. The tone of the article is persuasive,
serious, informative and passionate. Sheidlower successfully argues the case for profanity to be
included in modern print news media. The author uses mainly logos, with pathos and ethos in
support roles throughout the article.
Sheildlower uses the examples Reuters, The Guardian, The Washington Post, Time, Wall
Street Journal, CNN, The Associated Press, Los Angeles Times, The Atlantic and The New York

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Times to demonstrate the leading newspapers have this problem with accurately reporting a story
in news print. Although the article reports that, many online media outlets do not have the same
problem using profanities in a story.
He states that like-minded countries such as Britain and Australia are already printing
offensive words in full appealing to logos. If other countries are doing it why wouldnt America?
The article declares that society has changed yet news media has not. There are examples
provided of government officials using profanity and the news media not reporting precisely
what was said. This leaves the American people uninformed.
Sheidlower argues that society is ready to read unpleasant language in the newspapers
rather than euphemisms that do not convey the same meaning. He cautions that news media
should be sensitive to terms that are derogatory towards specific groups and that taste should
be used. His arguments are effective in demonstrating the creative and trivial ways editors are
trying to work around the language used in todays America.
In the first paragraph, the author hints that we, the print news media readers, are not
getting the full story. This example of pathos starts his appeal to readers. Readers are left
wondering what they are not being told by the newspapers they trust. The author uses words that
incite emotions like hot-button issue and censorship-by-dashes. Sheidlowers premise is
accurate reporting by the media means accepting words we are uncomfortable reading. The news
organizations have an obligation to provide equal information online and in print. This equality is
more important than the word used, it is part of what makes us a democracy.
The authors knowledge of the English language lends credibility to his opinions.
Sheidlower knows words and word usage. He has spent a major portion of his life working daily
with the English language. In the article, we learn The New York Times styles guide states,

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readers should not be left uninformed or baffled about the nature of a significant controversy.
Changes in the criteria used at the print media organizations would avoid leaving readers
uninformed or baffled states Sheidlower. This is a passionate appeal from the author for
changes to what we expect and accept from mainstream news print media.
In The Case for Profanity in Print Sheidlower declares that we are ready. We, the
American people, can handle reading profanity. We actually want to read exactly what was said.
He believes that to not do so obfuscates the point of the story. This article was intelligently
written and persuasive in convincing me to reconsider profanity in print, especially considering
the quote already exists online. The use of logos, pathos and ethos achieved the authors goal of
convincing me to be open to the changes that come over time. We are no longer living in the
early 1900s; a newspaper should accurately reflect the people that purchase it.