Long-time political analyst Duby McDowell (a Shad favorite) makes an excellent point on her fine website The Laurel, about how some broadcasters inappropriately address the officials they are interviewing. The practice has always grinded The Shad’s gears as well. Addressing the state Secretary of State as “Susan” [Bysiewicz] or US Senate candidates as “Dick” [Blumenthal] or “Linda” [McMahon] because the journalist knows the person well is totally inappropriate. It may imply to the interviewers’ viewers or listeners that he or she is “in the know” or “has the inside scoop” because they seem to know the newsmaker well enough to call them by their first names. It doesn’t make it right.
Of course, there is a bit of a downside to this as well. The Shad received a number of e-mails after addressing Mike Fedele as “Governor” when co-hosting The Real Story on FOX-CT a few weeks ago. The viewers writing me wanted to know if it was some sort of Freudian slip and if I secretly supported the lieutenant governor in his bid for the top job. The truth is, the proper salutation for the lieutenant governor is “Governor.” And that doesn’t change because you know the person. Former Lt. Gov. Kevin Sullivan hired me as communications director for the Senate Democrats some years ago. We’re friends. But to this day (especially in public), I greet him as “Governor” (it’s actually credible to interpret that as a Freudian slip).
Bysiewicz is “Madam Secretary,” McMahon is “Mrs. McMahon,” and Blumenthal is “Mr. Attorney General.” Some respect for these folks in interviewing them would be nice.