Having an “auto-replace” filter seemed like a good notion at the time to folks at the conservative American Family Association’s OneNewsNow.com Web site. There were certain words that would pop up from time to time in the Associated Press stories that moved onto the site that were a bit salacious, or unacceptable to post.
“We don’t have the staff to monitor all the Hollywood stories,” news director Fred Jackson said yesterday, “so we wanted an automated function.” He said they put up the filter about a month or so ago.
One word they wanted to filter was “gay.” The site felt that the term put the matter of homosexuality “in a positive light,” Jackson said, when the evangelical Christian organization was much opposed. So when a wire story referred to gay marriage, for example, the phrase would automatically appear as “homosexual marriage.”
Worked fine until Sunday, when the AP reported that “Tyson Homosexual easily won his semifinal for the 100 meters at the U.S. Olympic track and field trials.” The story was headlined “Homosexual eases into 100 final at Olympic trials.”
“On Saturday,” the story said, “Homosexual misjudged the finish in his opening heat . . .”
That’s world champion sprinter Tyson Gay, of course.
There used to be a copy-editor superstition that the word that spell-checkers suggest for your name tells you something deep and secret about your personality. “McGovern” is said to come up “misgovern,” which seems about right.