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.


Log in with your social accounts:

Or, log in with your IrishCentral account:

Forgot your password ?

Don't have an account yet? Register now !

Join IrishCentral with your social accounts:

Already have an account ?

For Newsletter Subscribers – Draw for 1 Prize on December 31st.

Prize: Your Piece of Ireland – a Square of Land in the heart of the Glens of Antrim, Ireland

More details here (or you can buy a little piece of Ireland directly):

Terms & Conditions

Or, sign up for an IrishCentral account below:

By clicking above you are indicating that you have read & agree to our Terms and Privacy Policy.

Make sure we gathered the correct information from you

By clicking above you are indicating that you have read & agree to our Terms and Privacy Policy.

You already have an account on IrishCentral! Please confirm you're the owner.

Our new policy requires our users to save a first and last name. Please update your account: