New York Times needs to apologize for Irish-bashing

Posted by Kelly Fincham at 6/26/2009 9:04 AM EDT

Calling all New York Times editors.

What were you thinking of last night when you allowed two instances of anti-Irish language into your op-ed page?

Not sure what I'm talking about? Take a look at page A25 and please explain why you allowed the term "paddy wagon" into the articles.

The phrase "paddy wagon" has long been erased from most journalists' style books because it is offensive.

It was offensive back in 1863 when it was first coined and it is offensive now.

What is a "paddy wagon"? A police van to carry prisoners.

Why "paddy wagon"? Because in the 1863 Draft Riots they were used to round up crowds of Irish immigrants. More recently, the same vans are often used to refer to drunk and disorderlies.

See my point?

There's an in-built bias in the phrase which paints Irish people as drunk and/or disorderly.

That's why the phrase has long been banned from most editorial offices.

Why not the Times?

Surely the Times, of all newspapers, understands the ethics of language?


Ironically, the pieces in question refer to the bigotry suffered by the gay community.

The editors should have spotted the anti-irish bigotry in both pieces before they let them through.

It's hard to understand what the editors were thinking.

Maybe they were out grooming their polo ponies at the time.