Thursday is a truly dark day in the world of the news media. Many newspapers and other news outlets are struggling with a truly difficult decision - what to do with the perfect headline: "Spitzer Swallows".
Today's resignation of New York Governor Eliot Spitzer created the opportunity. Newspapers in particular are always looking for a short, punchy headline to describe more complex events. Here they are tortured by a great headline that also sounds very close to the punchline of a very dirty joke known widely among the vulgar masses.
Some bloggers have popped off and used Spitzer Swallows as a headline. As for the mainstream media, a few papers like the Edmonton Sun covered their tracks by writing it as "Spitzer Swallows Pride," perhaps to pretend they don't know the joke - or perhaps they really don't know it. Taking the lead, the Economist stained its reputation by using the line on its Democracy in America blog. Economist spokesman Whett Tong dismissed the criticism: "We're British. You Americans just don't know class when you see it." Late night comedians are also reportedly using the Spitzer Swallows line.
American papers are on the fence about whether to spit out the headline or hold it back, for fear of offending some readers. We kneel at their feet, said one editor who would only identify herself as Kristen. She said her paper would not use the line because it "would leave a bad taste in my mouth."