Yesterday, the New York Times published an article about a deadly balcony collapse in Berkeley that killed six college students from Ireland who had been partying on the structure. The victims had come to California on the J1 work-visa program—which, the Times noted in the second paragraph of the article, has become “a source of embarrassment for Ireland, marked by a series of high-profile episodes involving drunken partying and the wrecking of apartments in places like San Francisco and Santa Barbara.”
It is common knowledge that House Speaker John Boehner is a notoriously hard drinker. So after the F.B.I. arrested a Cincinnati country club bartender for conspiring to poison Boehner’s Merlot, an editor at Boston.com wrote a post with the following light-hearted joke: “Had he been poisoned as planned, perhaps his pickled liver could have filtered out the toxins.” Predictably, Boehner’s office complained about the joke. Less predictably: The site retracted the joke about Boehner’s liver and issued a formal apology.