In a public memo to staffers Thursday, NPR Standards and Practices Editor Mark Memmott admonished the network’s journalists to use the same standards for offensive language on podcasts that they would over the air.
The guidance was in response to a question from journalists in NPR’s New York bureau, who asked whether it was OK to “call an asshole an asshole.”
The answer? If you can’t say it on air, you probably shouldn’t say it on a podcast.
We don’t want to seem boring and out-of-step. We do want to sound like America. But, the bar that NPR journalists need to get over before using such language themselves has to be set incredibly high — so high, in fact, that it’s almost impossible to get over.