Is referring to Obama by last name, rather than full title, disrespectful?

Is referring to Obama by last name, rather than full title, disrespectful?

kornYesterday must have been a slow news day, judging from the outrage du jour over at MSNBC’s The Cycle. The show revisited a topic that was explored in this space in September – namely, whether it is racist to refer to the president by his name rather than his full title.

In the segment, co-host Steve Kornacki allowed as how he has been inundated with irate emails and tweets over his columns at Salon.com in which he routinely refers to the president by title and/or name the first time and last name only thereafter. This is standard journalistic practice, but Kornacki’s readers (many of whom, he reports, are African-American) know an insult when they see one.


Mediaite’s Noah Rothman doubles down on the slight, writing:

Rather than dismiss this nonsensical and embarrassing zealotry off hand, [Kornacki] engaged his detractors in a reasoned way.

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Fortunately, Kornacki’s fellow “journalists” were there to listen to his confession and deliver absolution.Krystal Ball, who is white, said she understood where Obama’s supporters were coming from, noting that he has been “disrespected” more than other presidents.

The final word on the topic came from resident dog-whistle authority, Touré, who can find racism in a sneeze:

We’re touching on something really deep here. [People] feel very defensive as well, because of the very racist – very nakedly racist – attacks on him that we see constantly.

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Howard Portnoy

Howard Portnoy

Howard Portnoy has written for The Blaze, HotAir, NewsBusters, Weasel Zippers, Conservative Firing Line, RedCounty, and New York’s Daily News. He has one published novel, Hot Rain, (G. P. Putnam’s Sons), and has been a guest on Radio Vice Online with Jim Vicevich, The Alana Burke Show, Smart Life with Dr. Gina, and The George Espenlaub Show.