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MPR apologizes for not bleeping swear word, even though it's not required to

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Minnesota Public Radio has apologized after not bleeping out a curse word in a song during a live broadcast of "A Prairie Home Companion."

A performance by country singer Robbie Fulks aired live on Garrison Keillor's show Saturday night. During the song "Where I Fell," MPR did not censor the word "g--damn."

Before MPR rebroadcast the show Sunday morning, it issued an apology and censored the word, reports note.

After the initial broadcast Saturday, the show issued a language advisory to other radio stations, which allows them to determine what to do about the questionable language when they broadcast the show, the Star Tribune reports.

It's technically OK to air the word

National Public Radio addressed bleeping out the word after allowing it to slip through during a 2009 broadcast of "All Things Considered."

The station said the phrase is not "legally profane" according to Federal Communications Commission guidelines, although many people find it offensive.

That's why many networks – both radio and television – will bleep the "god" from broadcasts, NPR news reported, while newspapers have used the word on occasion, but tend to avoid it unless it's in a direct quote.

How 'bad' is the word?

Both City Pages and MPR News pointed out the Star Tribune's choice to write "the blasphemy that ends with the syllable 'damn'" in its story instead of the actual curse word.

MPR noted it sparked debate on whether it's actually blasphemy, while City Pages said the newspaper "twisted itself into a pretzel."

The Star Tribune story got more than 144 comments, many addressing if the word should have been bleeped.

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