Saturday, January 12, 2013

MSNBC Host Trashed by Obama Supporters for Not Always Calling Him "President Barack Obama"

This is ridiculous, but maybe it is time to talk about it some more: 

I'm a blogger, not a journalist, reporter or commentator for anything remotely resembling the mainstream media.  But I got journalism training, took journalism classes, was news director for one radio station and public affairs director for another.

Years and years and years ago.

There's a rule called "first reference."  In my blog articles, when I link to an article from the New York Times, the first time I mention that paper, it is the "New York Times."  From then on, it is the "NYT," which is accepted blog shorthand.  I even italicize New York Times and NYT.  When I remember.  But I don't remember why I do that.  I think it is from a style book.

First reference:
When someone is first mentioned in a news story, their first and last name should be typed out. From then on, their last name can be used as a reference to that person. When the first and last name of a person is used as the initial reference to that person, this is called first reference. 
The purpose of only using the persons last name through out the rest of the story, is to keep the article brief and straight to the point
The Associated Press and New York Times have style books.  The AP calls theirs a stylebook, the NYT's is a style guide.I still have my pre-WWW copy of the AP Stylebook.  There are a lot of other style books and manuals out there, and many mainstream publications or organizations have their own rules.

In the MSNBC segment, they mention that reporters or TV commentators sometimes go as far as first name on second reference (2nd reference means all references after the first one).  In Alaska, we're probably more that way than any other state, because so many people know each other. It wasn't just Sarah.  It is Lisa and Don and Mark and so on.  Until he died, it was Ted, or St. Ted. 

Interestingly, nobody - I mean nobody - calls our current governor "Sean."  Most Alaskans don't consider him one of us.  I like Don's (Rep. Don Young's) name for him best - "Captain Zero," which describes what Parnell is - a cypher .

I decided back in late 2009 to not EVER describe our current president as "President Obama" unless it was absolutely required for sake of accuracy.  At the same time, I promised I'd honor him with his formal title if he did any of the following:

1).  Evacuate the torture camp at Guantanamo Bay

2).  Prosecute and imprison at least one of the many torturers or murderers we have employed there, and now shelter.

3).  Prosecute and imprison at least five major banksters for their crimes that cost us trillions.

Since then, I've gotten new gripes, but if he did any of the above three, I'd begin to address him by the ceremonial title he owns in name.  But I never call the guy "OilyBomber" or "Obomber," or whatever.  Nor am I willing to call him "Barack."

Besides, didn't we have a revolution between 1775 and 1781 that was supposed to end the concept of royalty and high titles?

What do you think?


john aronno said...

I find that a bit troubling. The president was hired to a job. That job comes with a title. The title doesn't, in itself, dictate nobility. It seems worth pointing out, at least in the first reference, his official title. It's a basic recognition irrespective of agreements or disagreements with policy - it's an acknowledgment of basic hiring practices.

Anonymous said...

Howzabout BarBarack Zer0bama, -1).2).3). ?

Dan said...

I think the title goes with the office. Even after they are out of office it is "President Carter," "President Bush," etc. Whoever is elected president is every American's president, like it or not.

Anonymous said...

I think your egotistic hackery is once again the only evident feature displayed.

Anonymous said...

Claiming to have had some amorphous 'journalism training' doesn't lead one to suspect you actually retained any of the same, especially judging by the hackery evident on these pages.

Philip Munger said...

anon @ 10:43 and 10:46 - thanks for your kind, anonymous words.

Anonymous said...

As is, and as has become expected, the sophomoric response from Phil does not address anything other than a feeble attempt to bolster a misguided self-generated and self-inflated image of himself, only serving to once more confirm that his hackery is not anything he intends to concern himself with.

A response being 'anonymous' doesn't impact or negate the validity of the response in any way.

Attempting to make an issue out of anonymity is only ever an unresponsive excuse to attempt to obfuscate and misdirect.

But then that's the standard here where self promotion and self assurance is valued much more highly than any actual journalistic ethic or integrity.