oh, the profanity!
This tidbit should not count as news, but regardless, illustrates taboo word avoidance at a near extreme. (Recent LL taboo avoidance posts here, here, here,or just search for "Zwicky" ...)
The headline: Lohan tosses four letter insult at Paris Hilton.
In a video posted Thursday on YouTube.com, Lohan was captured leaving a Los Angeles hotel inside which Hilton had reportedly been partying. The 20-year-old actress ... used the profanity to describe Hilton after an observer asked if they’d fought earlier.
The article makes clear that the word was vulgar - referring to it as "an expletive" and "the profanity", but we don't get to find out what profanity Lohan used. (It turns out that the expletive was the C-word, which you can easily discover by finding the YouTube post.) But the article goes so out of the way to avoid being specific about the word that it's completely ambiguous what the expletive could be.
There's no direct quotation to help out, like "she's a ****" (which would probably rule out fuck as the culprit, and perhaps shit too). There's also no partial masking like c*** or c---, which would be fairly unambiguous. The editors may have assumed that simply referring to the word as "an expletive" would be clear enough, but without any context, the reader might assume she called her "a little shit" or "a stupid fuck". As I said before, the world does not turn on which insult the one used for the other, but if AP is going to bother running the story at all, why not finish it?