The New York Times Bizarrely Shafts STFU Parents Because Of The Children

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Needless to say, we’re all big STFU, Parents fans in the Mommyish offices. It’s hard to believe that there was such a time when all of us weren’t gathered around the screen laughing at the inane Facebook statuses that some parents feel compelled to share with the world. Even in this clearly child-oriented corner of the web, STFU, Parents’ knack for exploring peculiar trends and odd habits by Facebook-obsessed mothers and fathers can be appreciated — and have been for the entire three years that STFU, Parents has been on the web. So imagine our collective surprise when after discovering  The New York Times‘ much belated slog through parental online oversharing, our very own STFU, Parents was there — but you know — not really.

In Austin Considine‘s piece, which is replete with Twitter quotes and hyperlinks, testaments to the Times web savviness I’m sure, we encounter the seemingly popular Twenty-somethings and thirty-somethings gripe about how their Facebook feeds are now flooded with moments like Baby’s First Excretion to really annoying pregnancy announcements. Sounds familiar, don’t it? The Times, in their reputable reporting, does reference the Internet Queen of such social media gems. But the reporter mentions STFU’s tagline, not the blog’s actual title. Don’t blink, or you’ll miss it:

There are already blogs devoted to mocking over-sharing parents who, for example, post photos of their placentas. (“You used to be fun,” reads the tagline. “Now you have a baby.”)

The Times didn’t add that link. I did. Because it’s evident to anyone who exists within a 10 mile radius of an Internet connection and a Facebook feed who Considine is referencing. STFU, Parents reached out to The Times to ask them why they hadn’t properly cited her and she got this email in response:

Dear B–

We did not name the site because The Times does not use such references when they refer to things like Shut The F*ck Up.  Just last week we omitted a full reference to WTF  (What The F—). Instead, we noted that we were referring to a podcast by Marc Maron.

We did not claim or intimate that STFU’s tagline was created by us or by our reporter. We were carefull to note it was a tagline of a Web site.

I suspect you will not agree with this decision.  But this is part of the standards of The Times.  For one reason, we don’t like to include such references for younger readers — or for any readers who might be offended.  Granted, we aren’t the parents of young readers. But we feel some obligation to try to maintain The Times as a respectable publication and respect all of our readers.

You have your approach.  Other publications have their approach.  And we have ours.  That’s what makes the world go round.  And isn’t it great that we all have the freedom to choose what to publish and what not to?  You created and designed your site and you work very hard to execute your mission.  That’s what we try to do with The Times.  The site’s name and contents work for your readers.  And we try to make The Times work for our readers and meet their expectations of us.

Best regards,

Greg Brock

Senior Editor for Standards

STFU, Parents then gave this very appropriate retort:

Dear Greg,

You’re right, I absolutely disagree with the assessment that a publication such as the Times feels that it is appropriate to quote a website (a tagline that I wrote) without giving any credit whatsoever. In fact, I’d rather have not been mentioned — I’m sorry, referenced — at all. How disturbing that a website like the New York Times would consciously and in good faith link to a site called “Anti-Baby” immediately after deciding NOT to link to my website, which is equally tongue-in-cheek and not anti-baby or anti-parent at all. How is it a good journalism practice — or a good lesson for children who might be interested in journalism, the subject I studied in college — to make an error so egregious?

I’m deeply disturbed and shocked by your email. I’ll be sure to post a copy of it on Twitter and on my website, so that everyone is clear on the standards of the Times, including the various writers of publications like Salon, The New Yorker, Jezebel, the Nieman Lab, and several others who have expressed their distaste for your decision not to credit the site that I’ve worked very hard on for more than three years.

STFU, Parents fans have been tweeting in response to the “egregious” error, posing other style-friendly alternatives — for the children of course:

STFU, Parents informs me that she and Mr. Greg Brock are still exchanging emails about the difference between writing “Go The — To Sleep” and writing “ST[Expletive]U, Parents,” “ST–U, Parents.” Or perhaps even providing an appropriate link as The Times did for various other blogs and Twitter accounts referenced in the article.

“My mind is blown,” she wrote to me.

(photo: Twitter)