In a new piece over at Campus Progress, I ask what the media are protecting us from by only alluding to “epithets” like George Allen’s:

Indeed, I doubt many readers were left wondering which anti-black slur Allen had chosen. But the choices reporters and editors make don’t only determine how comprehensible their reporting is; they shape the impact it has on their readers. Alluding to something terrible rather than showing it, be it battlefield carnage or bigoted language, softens its impact.

From the archives: Their media criticism – and ours; vocab; Senators say the darndest things


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