When should someone with a doctorate be referred to as “Doctor”? With incoming First Lady Jill Biden, the answer is now divided along partisan lines.
Nearly a week after the Wall Street Journal ran an op-ed criticizing incoming First Lady Jill Biden for using the honorific “Doctor”, the debate and outrage continues.
- The op-ed, written by Joseph Epstein, argues the ubiquitous practice of calling Jill Biden “Doctor” should be limited given it is not a medical doctorate. Much of the op-ed was actually focused on the gradual decline of prestige in honorary doctorates.
- The next day, NPR ran down the backlash by liberal voice on twitter, including Merriam-Webster dictionary.
- Some in the commentary class attempted to redirect the debate towards the quality of Biden’s dissertation, according to The Hill which reported on Tucker Carlson’s grammatical critiques.
- In an interview with late night tv host and comedian Stephen Colbert, Biden called her doctorate “one of the things that [she] Is most proud of” is earning the doctorate.
- In that same interview, Jill Biden said the “tone” of the op-ed is what affected her most.
- CNN reported on Northwestern University “distancing itself” from the op-ed’s author who spent time there as a lecturer, saying the institution called his remarks “misogynistic.”
- MSNBC posted an opinion piece riddled with ad hominem attacks on the author and others defending it.
- Derision from the Left continued as the New York Times, which has yet to dedicate any reporting to the Swalwell-China Spy story, reported on the op-ed, leaning heavily on the criticism.
- Newsweek reveled in online backlash to Ben Shapiro agreeing with Mr. Epstein, saying unless one is a medical doctor, the honorific should not be used, an agreement the AP style book agreed with as of 2015.
- The Daily Beast focused on Carlson’s continued coverage, saying he is “obsessed.”
- The day after the original op-ed was published, the Journal’s editorial page editor posted a rebuttal to the backlash, saying Team Biden unleashed identity politics on the author.
- City Journal, an urban conservative online outlet, published a column decrying “cancel culture” targeting Mr. Epstein.
- Kyle Smith of National Review wrote a scathing appraisal of the incoming First Lady’s dissertation and made the disparaging claim that if not for her husband, the University of Delaware would not have conferred the degree.
- A viral Twitter thread criticizing the dissertation for “poor writing and math errors” caught the attention of Fox News.
- John Nolte of Breitbart pointed out the hypocrisy of The Washington Post and The New York Times, both of which have a history of being selective, not necessarily in a partisan manner, of the use of the honorific.
© Dallas Gerber, 2020