How should NPR refer to President Bush?
Frequently on NPR news shows, reports dealing with the U.S. president refer to him as "President Bush" once, but then all additional references are to "Mr. Bush". This seems unique to the president, as other people with titles are always addressed as Sen. Smith or Dr. Jones, etc. Is there a reason why President Bush does not get the same consideration?
Using the Honorific
The title, such as "President," "Mr." or "Ms.", in front of a name is called an honorific. NPR uses the honorific "President" on first reference and then "Mr." for all subsequent mentions. This has been NPR's style going back at least to the Ford administration. Most other broadcasters have the same policy. It also makes for better writing to vary the honorific.
Newspapers seem to have a different standard. For some reason, the president is usually referred to as "President Bush" or "the president," on first reference. But the honorific is rarely used on second reference. And in newspaper headlines particularly, the solitary "Bush" is often seen.
The president is the only person who -- by decree and tradition at NPR -- gets the honorific. All others who are mentioned in news reports are usually referred to by their title or occupation on first reference ("Jane Doe is a reporter for The New York Times..."). After that, it's surnames only.
comments powered by Disqus
- Isis Palmyra demolition has begun with ancient God Lion statue destroyed
- Moving Photographs of Japanese American Internees, Then and Now
- A One-of-a-Kind Trove Reveals What 19th-Century American Boyhood Was Really Like
- St. Louis University moves controversial statue after protests
- UNC Renames Building That Honored Ku Klux Klan Leader
- NYT hosts debate including Eric Foner: How Americans should remember Reconstruction
- William Leuchtenburg says historians and the media have been too hard on Obama
- Hugh Ambrose, historian who helped develop WWII Museum, dead at 48
- Historian discounts claim that Churchill and other British PM's were gay
- Nick Bunker Wins $50,000 2015 George Washington Book Prize