WaPo Express Gives Good Headline: ‘Libya Ferrets Out Gadhafi’s Taint’

Wednesday’s edition of Washington Post Media‘s free Express daily featured a headline that’s garnering viral guffaws and questions about their editorial judgment. Aggregating an AP story about former Libyan rebels rooting out Gaddafi loyalists, the paper, in an obvious attempt to appeal to the political center, headlined the item “Libya Ferrets Out Gadhafi’s Taint.”

Was the headline a prank, an error in judgment, or…something in between? (*rimshot*)

American Prospect intern Jessica Stephens, who first TwitPic-ed the headline, tweeted, “Seriously? Nobody at the Washington f***ing Post saw a problem with this headline?”

A look at the AP story the headline references, though, cuts against this being a slip in judgment. Of the myriad meanings of the word “taint,” none really seems to fit the context of the article. My money is on some mischief-making headline writer who was trying to make the paper a perineal favorite.

FishbowlDC‘s Betsy Rothstein wisely decided not to touch Gaddafi’s taint with a ten-foot pole:

I don’t feel like getting fired today, so you’re going to have to check out the Urban Dictionary definition of “taint” here. As most of you filthy-minded readers already know, it concerns a certain unmentionable area on a man’s body.

This actually isn’t WaPo‘s first run-in with Gaddafi’s taint. Their Reliable Source blog (even that sounds dirty, now) posted an item in March about musicians’ “rush to dispose of Gaddafi-tainted money.”

Who can blame them?

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