“Dear Morning Edition….”

Uncle AndrewUncle Andrew
Filed under: @ 9:45 am

Perhaps it was a surfeit of brie, medical marijuana and gay marriage clogging my liberal ears this morning as I listened to the bottom-of-the-hour news headlines, but I could have sworn I heard NPR News anchor Jean Cochran relay a story about, quote: “Democrat candidate Barack Obama”.

“Democrat” candidate, not “Democratic“.

That sort of omission tends to get my hackles up, particularly in the context of a news program, extra-super-particularly when I’m hearing it on National Public Radio instead of, say, The O’Reilly Factor.

I could have totally misinterpreted this little gaffe, of course. It could have simply been a slip of the tongue. And after all, Obama is a Democrat, and he is a candidate, so the term “Democrat candidate” is not as incorrect or as inflammatory as would be, say, “baby-killing tax-and-spender candidate”.

But it’s hardly state of the art in English language usage, either. Do wellness advocates practice “tantra yoga”? Do heart-attack victims suffer from “ischemia cardiomyopathy”? Did the last Indiana Jones film feature a “formula plotline”?

That little “-ic” conveys a lot of meaning. As, in the case of the word “Democrat”, does its omission.

I realize that the staff of NPR—including the on-air talent—must feel somewhat besieged at times, relentlessly hounded as you are by conservative politicians, commentators, wags and whackos with the totally unfounded charge that you are unbalanced in your reporting and your mission. Truly, I can sympathize with your plight.

However, I don’t think that falling back on a turn of phrase championed by the late Senator Joseph McCarthy and since contemporized by hard-line conservatives and Fox News (“hard-line conservatives and Fox News”….is that being redundant?) is the best way to ingratiate yourself with the bullies of the airwaves.

As all of our mothers once told us, if they’re picking on you, then they’re not your friends.

Like I said, I could have completely misunderstood Jean’s purpose (or lack thereof) in dropping this crucial adjectival ending during the broadcast, in which case, please feel free to ignore this missive, and accept my apologies for taking up some of your time.

But please also be aware that I will be keeping an ear out for any future truncations. And I plan to knock fifty dollars off of our annual contribution to Public Radio for every one I hear….even if it costs me a travel mug or tote bag.

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