Parents are blasting the news media for repeating, on-air and unedited, vulgar remarks allegedly made by the president.
Tim Winter, president of the Parents Television Council, called on NBC and other broadcast networks to reconsider their use of “s-words, f-bombs or other similar profanity on television.”
“We believe that it’s wise not to expose children to that kind of harmful language, no matter whether it’s news or entertainment programming,” Mr. Winters said in a statement. “We urge NBC to reconsider its policies about airing that kind of language on its network, in order to help protect children.”
He said repeating foul language on television will only “legitimize” the practice “to young viewers.”
Journalists at home and abroad have grappled with how to report the vulgar comments allegedly made by President Trump in the Oval Office about African countries.
The Washington Post, which broke the story on Friday, put the unedited remark in the headline of its story, and several print and digital media outlets have followed suit.
NBC is the only news network that has consistently used the word unedited on-air, Mr. Winter said, but guests on other broadcasters have also uttered the vulgarity with impunity.
CNN’s John Berman took a hands-off approach when reporting on the story Monday.
“I will leave it to you to say these words so I don’t have to,” Mr. Berman said in an interview with Josh Dawsey, the reporter who broke the story.
The anchor became incredulous later in the interview, but censored himself: “One might reasonably ask, are you f-ing kidding me?”
The foreign press has also had a difficult time with the word.
Central News Agency, the state-owned media of the Republic of China, turned the term into an idiom literally meaning, “countries where birds don’t lay eggs,” according to Aaron McNicholas, a senior journalist at Storyful based in Hong Kong.
Conflicting reports have also emerged as to whether the compound slur ended in “hole” or “house.”
Mr. Winter said journalistic standards of decency have loosened in the wake of the presidential profanity.
He pointed to NBC’s “Saturday Night Live,” which normally bleeps out f-words, but allowed one to slip during last week’s broadcast.
“NBC must do better,” Mr. Winter said. “The network has a responsibility to ensure that children and families – many more of whom will be in the viewing audience given ‘SNL’s’ earlier air time – are protected from explicit or indecent content.”
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