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No "Ho" in Chicago: Tribune Computer Filters Out Comments

By December 9, 2007

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You've heard the story about the hired Santas in Australia who were told not to say "ho, ho, ho" because it might be demeaning to women, right?

A number of media outlets had a chuckle over that one, including the Chicago Tribune in a recent editorial:

The suggestion that Santa might be teaching our kids dirty words struck us upside the head like a snowball. All this time we've been blaming that Snoop Dogg character. Could it be...? But no. A kid who is old enough to snicker over the word "ho" would not be caught dead sitting on Santa's lap. Those crayoned letters to the North Pole have been replaced by catalog Web links, e-mailed directly to the parents -- which means the kid has learned to navigate the Internet, and naughty words are the least of our worries.
Famous last words. Actually, naughty words proved to be quite a headache for the Tribune.

According to Romenesko at Poynter Online, the editorial generated a lot of comments that were deleted. Ombud Timothy McNulty says it wasn't a case of the paper being overly PC, but a computer program that "automatically filtered out all comments using 'ho' -- street short for whore -- until an alert online editor used good judgment and common sense to override the filter."

That story made me LOL, as the use of the words 'whore' and 'ho' are the subject of much fierce debate on the Women's Issues forum. Isn't it a gender-specific reference, and a derogatory one at that? No, claims one forum participant who writes, "I use the word whore to describe Rudy Giuliani. I do not use, nor do I intend that word to be gender specific."

So Hillary Clinton is a bitch, and Rudy Giuliani is a whore? (Is that why - as of this writing - Obama and Huckabee are now the new front runners in Iowa?) Maybe the Australian Santas need to head up here after Christmas and supervise the running of the 2008 presidential race to keep it nice and clean and G-rated.

Mom, when it comes to coarse language, Santa's not the problem. It's the battle over who will become Leader of the Free World you have to worry about for.


October 9, 2009 at 5:28 pm
(1) Lessonszyx says:


February 22, 2010 at 7:14 am
(2) craigslist vancouver says:

You write a good one post about the tribune computer filter out components

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