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Can you use the word "lynch" in a story?

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by BurnsWhenIPee, Jun 3, 2019.

  1. BurnsWhenIPee

    BurnsWhenIPee Well-Known Member

    Saw a little dust-up this morning over a phrase used by Rick Hummel in the Cardinals-Cubs game story today, where he talked about "the most agitated fans wanted to lynch at least half the roster" after a stretch where the Cards lost 16 of 22 games.

    A social media post linking to the story repeated that phrase, and it was taken down (and the story edited to remove it) this morning after people objected to it.

    Is it ever OK to use "lynch" like that, and is that something a copy editor (what's that?) needs to save Hummel from himself?
  2. TheSportsPredictor

    TheSportsPredictor Well-Known Member

    Half the roster? Probably only wanted to lynch one-sixth of it.
  3. Waldo9939

    Waldo9939 Active Member

    I almost feel like that’s one of those “siren” type words where you want to bail the writer out. You know what he means but you just got to take it upon yourself to take that word out and insert in something better.
    FileNotFound and Liut like this.
  4. BurnsWhenIPee

    BurnsWhenIPee Well-Known Member

    Definitely a siren-type word, IMO.

    I know Hummel is a HOF guy and all, and I don't know how willing any copy editor left would be to change his wording, but I can't see the logic behind using that phrasing other than what it was changed to - "getting rid of"
    HanSenSE and Liut like this.
  5. WriteThinking

    WriteThinking Well-Known Member

    The worst/hardest thing about it is that the decision about whether to use the word in that context or not was/would be made more because of its connection to a race/a racist time than because of what the writer actually means or how he's using it.

    In the context of how it was written and what the fans might have wanted to do, that was, in fact, the strongest and best verbiage to use.
    RonClements likes this.
  6. Liut

    Liut Well-Known Member

    I dunno, in our hyper-sensitive society these days you're just asking for criticism using that word unless it's an individual's last name.
    Raven and BurnsWhenIPee like this.
  7. WriteThinking

    WriteThinking Well-Known Member

    The only other verbiage that might have been equivalent in its meaning, worked just as well and been just as strong and visually effective for readers, but that might not have drawn any ire (or sirens) that I can think of would be to say that "the most agitated fans wanted to see at least half the roster, say, drawn-and-quartered..."
  8. Raven

    Raven Active Member

    Exactly. The Twitter hive mind is a dangerous thing.
    RonClements likes this.
  9. CD Boogie

    CD Boogie Well-Known Member

    He should have used "defenestrated" because it's a superior word and is unlikely to make anyone butthurt.
    Last edited: Jun 3, 2019
    Kato, Liut and BurnsWhenIPee like this.
  10. PCLoadLetter

    PCLoadLetter Well-Known Member

    You absolutely do not used "lynched."

    There is one connotation to "lynch." It's not butthurt or hyper-sensitive when people object to the term.
  11. Liut

    Liut Well-Known Member

    Guess I'm a dinosaur like Hummel but I can differentiate between the racial connotations and, say, what was done to cattle rustlers and the like. See Clint Eastwood "Hang 'Em High."
  12. dirtybird

    dirtybird Well-Known Member

    Ignoring any racial subtext, if I wrote "the mostagitated fans wanted to murder at least half the roster," I assume this would also be at best problematic.

    Granted, we are to a degree weirdly wired to see violence in a rather casual light.
    Liut likes this.
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