In an online chat today at washingtonpost.com, the newpaper's media critic Howard Kurtz was asked about the widely-reported "open mike" in St. Petersburg on Sunday that caught President Bush uttering a certain curse in conversation with Tony Blair. "Will newspapers print Bush's remarks unedited, as they should?" asked the reader.Ah, our exemplary Bible-believing President, who has restored honor and dignity to the Oval Office. Running around the world, threatening Putin, broadcasting casual scatology, cheerleading for the butchers of Tel Aviv ... but he doesn't have a thing to worry about, where his base is concerned. They have long ceased to be able (to borrow Orwell's phrase) to smell what's in front of their noses.
Kurtz replied, "S---, I don't know. I'll report on that tomorrow. The Post did famously print the F-word when Dick Cheney told Pat Leahy to perform an unnatural act on himself, but I don't know what the decision will be on this one."
While it's too early to know what papers will do in print tomorrow, the verdict is in on Web usage. Many top papers and news organizations freely printed the word on Monday, although The Associated Press, following its stylebook, offered two versions.
At the Web site of Kurtz's own paper, Peter Baker quoted Bush: "What they need to do is get Syria to get Hezbollah to stop doing this shit, and it's over."
"F--k Saddam ... we're taking him out."