Of the many responses to my post on what to call people over 60 (or 70, 80 or 90), the three responses repeated here stand out for their expressiveness — or in the case of Morning Edition sports commentator Frank Deford, for just being downright ornery. Or maybe wise. You might be stimulated to add your own.
Language can shape debate, policy and public opinion. Join us in wrestling with evolving definitions and acceptances of words.
When the headline on the Web version of a recent story called an active, 71-year-old midwife "elderly," she was offended. The reporter, meanwhile, asked for advice on what words to use. A check with experts finds division. Maybe, live forever and avoid labels? Please advise (about the labels).
NPR has been covering the recent conflict in Mali from on the ground. But when a listener heard several places being called "villages," she asked why the images of primitiveness. NPR's West Africa correspondent answered.
Your complaints are heard. Or at least those of some of us. The NPR newsroom announced today that it will no longer refer on-air to the president as "Mr." in second references. The current president and his successors will be called by their last name, like the rest of us. But his wife is still "Mrs." And when there is a woman president? Oh, the gender conundrums.
They are the subject of the fiscal cliff drama, and we find that the favored phrase by NPR reporters and hosts covering the negotiations is to call them "the wealthy." Some listeners rightfully object. However, alternatives such as "job creators" are also inaccurate and political.
Metaphors can be great for framing the urgency of a problem, but what do you do when the image isn't accurate? If you are the president or a Republican Congressional leader, you keep hammering with the metaphor anyway. It's all Ben Bernanke's fault.
Only the president of the United States is given the respect on air of being called "Mister" or by his office title in second references. I hereby announce on this election day that whoever wins, the honorific be dumped come the January inauguration. It's not just a matter of journalistic fairness. It's a matter of being American.
Or Mister Governor or Mister President. Listeners hear bias in campaign coverage. I hear Andy Jackson and unwashed American culture.
It's an insult that some Republicans repeat with glee, but complaints that NPR reporters have themselves indulged in referring to the 'Democrat Party' have so far proven to be untrue. Fortunately, your ombudsman is not a political reporter, or FDR would be turning in his grave.
Occasionally a word that was once a "no-no" finds itself in our everyday lexicon. The problem for editors is deciding just when a word has become respectable. The latest debate is over "ass." We're undecided. What do you think?
A recent music review sought to describe the Peruvian sound of the Brooklyn band Chicha Libre. Some listeners, however, didn't find the "lowlife" description funny. The reporter and producer apologize.
Paul Delaney, Mike Honda, Rhonda Levaldo Janet Murguía, Charles Murray and Michael Schudson give their views on how NPR is doing against different measures. They respond with insight, frustration and even humor. The goal is for NPR to sound like America.
A Morning Edition interview about an anti-abortion movie labeled a "Christian" film provoked a backlash from progressive Christians. But what do you do when that is the name of the genre and politically conservative Christians appear to have a lock on the Christian name? What is a Christian anyway, and what do they believe? Oh, and what would Jesus do?
Whether the burnings are "accidental" is unproven. NPR's calling it that buys the military's frame, some complained. Not calling it that suggests ill intention and provokes more violence, others argued. Investigations continue; the press is lost. Suggestions appreciated.
The assistant dean of students at Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism and blog readers share their reactions to the term "politically correct."