“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.

8 Responses to ““Dear Morning Edition….””

  1. Tony Lenzer Says:

    Lite-n up, Andrew…no need to get your undies in a twist because of a small (and I suspect, unintended) gaffe by an NPR reporter! We all KNOW NPR’s heart (brains, talent, resources, etc., etc.) is in the “right” place. Just some friendly advice from yer Dear Old Dad.

  2. Uncle Andrew Says:

    Um, actually, this is not the first time I have witnessed this on NPR. And as I said in my email, if it was an unintended slip of the tongue, no harm done. But if it’s not, I want them to know that someone is paying attention.

  3. YakBoy Says:

    you should have told them that you would find the inappropriate use of “democrat” acceptable if they would start using “repu” as well. Only fair!

  4. Uncle Andrew Says:

    You know, I thought about doing that, but I would have had to provide a link to that post in order to give them some context, and I was paralyzed by the thought of the staff of NPR nosing around my site and critiquing my prose right back. 😮

  5. Gavin Says:

    That’s what’s bothering you? They are begging the public for cash to bail the LOSING candidate out of debt and you are worried about what to call them?!?

  6. Uncle Andrew Says:

    They are begging the public for cash to bail the LOSING candidate out of debt and you are worried about what to call them?!?

    Hmm. Um, yeah, I don’t really like that much either. God knows I won’t be sending any checks. She took her best shot and lost; good (if dirty at times) fight and all, but it’s time to back the winner and lick her own wounds. If Obama thinks that making that plea on her behalf is the unifying thing to do, that’s his call. And very gentlemanly of him. But I have little doubt what the response would be if the tables were turned.

    Mind telling me what one has to do with the other, though? They are separate and totally individual topics of discussion and controversy. I mean, in that same spirit, I might very well ask you how you can think of voting for a Repu when tens of thousands of cattle are being slaughtered inhumanely in ConAgra—a company that contributes to the Repus far more than to the Democrats—feedlots every day. Don’t you care that those poor creatures are being TORTURED just so corporate fat cats can save a few dollars on their operating overhead? What kind of monster are you?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?! 😛

  7. Gavin Says:

    I mean, in that same spirit, I might very well ask you how you can think of voting for a Repu

    To be honest I’m only voting Repu because it is not Obama. I know nothing about McCain as the news is too busy talking about Obama to cover the opposing point of view. It just seems like Obama’s puppet masters can’t decide what show they are putting on.

  8. Uncle Andrew Says:

    Interesting. Could you elaborate? What strikes you as so hollow about Obama’s campaign (the only thing that readily comes to mind is his seeming reversal on FISA [which does annoy me]; everything else seems fairly consistent)? Do you feel that McCain has been presenting a more honest, consistent set of positions than Obama?

    We’ve had a much longer time to evaluate McCain, which frankly is one of the reasons I’m not so hot on on the idea of him as Prez. The whole “Straight Talk Express”, maverick thing seems a complete sham to me. He strikes me as just more of the same ol’ we’ve been dealing with for the last seven-and-a-half: public platitudes combined with shady backroom deals. And perpetual war.

    On that topic: I heard an interesting theory posited today regarding the Bush administration’s efforts to downplay the Iraqi government’s request for a withdrawal timetable. Local talk dude Dave Ross theorized that Shrub has some sort of withdrawal plan he’s firming up to release just in time for the election. Sounds scarily likely to me. ❗

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