Remember a time not long ago when “nuts” were really, truly in the news — as in, a reporter could quote a well-known civil rights figure saying that word in an angry reference to a Democratic candidate for president? Remember how back then many reporters went bashful, and reported “some insulting things” were said (CNN) or resorted to holding up the front page of New York Post so as to avoid uttering the naughty word themselves (MSNBC)? Wrote that “a vulgar reference” was made (New York Times) or “coarse language” was used (AP), so as not to offend readers’ sensibilities with a “nuts”-graph?

But, in the run-up to yesterday’s Tea Parties, with their omnipresent tea bags, some reporters turned into 11-year-olds unable to control the urge to repeatedly make “nuts”-related references?


Liz Cox Barrett is a writer at CJR.