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See Prehistoric Giant Sloth Here!

The Palm Beach Post and Sun-Sentinel both ran with the giant sloth story on their front pages this morning. The stories, by Tim O'Melia and Peter Franceschina, respectively, both did the job telling of the find of ancient bones in the muck of the Everglades in Hendry County. It was about as good as any giant sloth remains coverage I've seen, to tell you the truth. What lifted the Post's coverage above the Sentinel's was Rebecca Vaughan. Who is Rebecca Vaughan? She's a staff artist for the Post who she did a sketch of one of those weird looking beasts for the newspaper. The Sentinel, in a large spread including photos and graphics, somehow failed to show us what the thing look like when it was roaming the Glades.

All you could tell from the coverage was that the animal was the size of an elephant. Only Post readers saw that the prehistoric thing looks like a subtropical version of the abominable snowman. For you Sentinel readers who missed out, I've found a rendition and included it above (I believe it's the original model from which Vaughan drew).

Spastic Editors Lose Quote So you probably saw on Romenesko that the British media is making a deal out of Tiger Woods' calling himself a "spaz" for his bad putting at the Masters. The Telegraph noted that the L.A. Times changed the word, which is of course short for spastic, which is used to describe people with some forms of cerebal palsy. Instead of spaz, LAT used [wreck]. The NY Times and Washington Post chose not to use the quote at all. The Brits claimed they were all protecting the golden boy Tiger from his own imprudent mouth.

This was peculiar. For one thing, the word is so often used in America that it's not generally seen as offensive. And it was definitely the best sports quote of the day and for the Big Three to either alter it or expunge it does indeed reek of some strange form of censorship.

So we checked to see how the local papers handled it:

-- The Post: Golf writer Alan Tays quoted Woods entirely and accurately, write down to the spazzy ending.

-- The Herald pulled an NYT and didn't include the quote at all. Golf writer Jeff Shain skipped it in his story about Woods putter and columnist Edwin Pope also took a pass.

-- As did the Sentinel's Randall Mell, who cut the spaz out of his stories. But the intrepid Dave Hyde did the opposite, earning our respect. He left Tiger saying only, "I was a spazz." It was a bold stroke made even more audacious by the fact that, in true Hyde fashion, the columnist misspelled the word in the process.

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Journalist Bob Norman has been raking the muck of South Florida for the past 25 years. His work has led to criminal cases against corrupt politicians, the ouster of bad judges from the bench, and has garnered dozens of state, regional, and national awards.
Contact: Bob Norman

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