(What provoked this blog posting is a GretaWire comment that I have copied at the end of this post)
I don’t know if you have noticed or not….but for the almost 20 years I have been anchoring a cable news show, both at CNN and here at Fox, I have always shown RESPECT in referring to the guests and people about whom we report. I know other anchors are more familiar in their references to guests – but that is their business and what they think is right. I am more formal.
I refer to those who I do not know at all, or who have attained a title by virtue of their work or relationships as Mr., Mrs. or that title. Even after a guest leaves a job, the proper protocol is to continue to address them formally by their earned title.
You may have noticed….I always refer to Ambassador John Bolton as Ambassador (and I now know him pretty well since he has been on our show often…I even call him Ambassador in the Green Room)….President Obama, as President….Senator McCain as Senator….Governor Palin as Governor….Herman Cain, as Mr. Cain….Secretary of State Hillary Clinton as Secretary….First Lady Michele Obama as Mrs. Obama or the First Lady …Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid as Senator… Reverend Jesse Jackson as Reverend….Reverend Franklin Graham as Reverend in public and on air (and since I am close to Reverend Graham I call him Franklin in private.)
The list goes on and on and on…
….and I just realized, that I even call Reverend Wright by his title of Reverend and I sure have lots of disagreement with him.
I have lamented that I don’t know how to refer to my friend Pam Bondi who since our friendship began has become an Attorney General. In referring to her on air I use the respectful title of “General” but I have also been known to slip – out of habit – and call her Pam on air. For years at CNN Lynn Cheney was a colleague — she hosted weekend CrossFire and I co hosted Burden of Proof. I called her Lynn for years! It would have been weird to call her as a colleague anything but Lynn. That all changed when her husband became the Vice President and then I always called her, on air and off air, Mrs. Cheney. I still call her Mrs. Cheney when I see her.
I was raised to show respect — and incidentally, even respect to those with whom I disagree. I confess I can slip and use the familiar, but for the most part, I try to show respect in how I refer to people on air.
I don’t know Mrs. Romney (other than the handful of times I have interviewed her over the years.) She deserves my respect and I will continue to call her Mrs. Romney.
Yes it is true that from time to time I may slip from my usual and call her Ann since I hear others call her Ann on air. I will make mistakes in referring to her and to others — but I am at least trying to get it right in my references to them on air.
Of course there is nothing wrong with calling her Ann – it just isn’t what I am accustomed to do. If she asks me to call her Ann, I will – but until that point, I will show her respect with the more formal reference. She is the wife of the candidate for President of the United.
So it is with great bewilderment I read the following comment posted on GretaWire below….and wonder, are you just looking for a fight? a reason to complain?
PS – remind me to blog some time in detail about calling Former Secretary of State George Schultz “George” on air when I was at CNN. He specifically asked me to use George and the viewers went nuts on me for being disrespectful to him.
*** BY THE WAY — YOU DO KNOW ME ….I KNOW YOU…so call me Greta as you always have. (Yes, I saw that at least one of you referred to me and teased me in the comments here by calling me Ms. Van Susteren. That sounds like a scary 3rd grade teacher!)
So here is the comment on GretaWire (below) that provoked this blog posting by me….and it is YOUR turn: