The Times standards editor Craig Whitney recently took a road trip, whereupon he was struck, not just by the price of gas out there, but by the amount of political bumper stickers on the road out there in America. You know “The Only Bush I Trust Is My Own,” “Obamarama time,” etc. The sights inspired him to compose a memo, which he immediately sent Times staff upon his return:
On a recent road trip, I found numerous funny, bittersweet, or just bitter or idiotic political bumper stickers a welcome distraction from $4.50 gas, but also thought I should remind everybody who has anything to do with creating or displaying news content why they shouldn’t display their own political views, on cars or elsewhere, in this campaign season or afterward.
He went on to remind them of the ethics policy that prohibits journalists from ever expressing a political preference. The memo must have annoyed the crap out of Times staffers. (Actually, it definitely did, since someone leaked it to the Observer). Not because of the reiteration of a policy that everyone there already totally knows about, but because Whitney is clearly the worst kind of office person. He composed this memo on vacation! Probably like in the car. Listening to Pat Boone or whatever. It’s so Office Space–y we can hardly stand it. You just know he’s the kind of guy that sends out office-wide e-mails telling everyone to please stop putting half-used packets of Sweet ‘n Low back in the kitchen drawer!!! So to spite him we made a replacement bumper sticker for Times staffers, one they can paste over their “Yes We Can” stickers, or just wherever they want. It should comply with the standards editor’s, er, standards.