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When the latest flash came across the wires--CNN reporter and White House official go at it again!--we wondered if the AP should keep that slug line in type. Like newspapers used to do in the old days with paste-up headlines. Some stories are so frequent and unchangeable that it saves time to keep the headlines in the can. Such as "Mid-East Peace Deal on Hold" or "Yankees Win." For the editorial section, you've got "Whither NATO?" or something worse, if anything can be.

This week, the cameras caught Kellyanne Conway and Jim Acosta going at it in front of the White House. The flash said she called him a "smartass" in front of the cameras. Which may be one of the more pleasant names CNN's top publicity hound has been given these days. What happened to reporters who just report? Have they been relegated to newspapers? We suppose this is what was bound to happen for a generation of TV personalities raised on Dan Rather.

Embarrassing as it may be, we did click on the video. Some of us are drawn to this kinda comic routine like we are to bad movies or car wrecks. After some back and forth about coverage, Jim Acosta started with: "Ma'am? Ma'am? Ma'am?" And Ms. Kellyanne shot back, "Don't call me ma'am, to make up . . . ."

And that was that. We were on to more important stuff.

Except some in the press wanted to report that she had told the reporter "not to call her ma'am." Leaving out "to make up" part.

Obviously Kellyanne Conway knows that somebody using the word ma'am is doing so in a friendly, or at least mock-friendly, way. And that the term is one of endearment, not insult. Unlike a senator from California we remember, one Barbara Boxer, who a few years ago chewed out a general in front of her committee for using the term "ma'am" when addressing her.

"You know, do me a favor," she said at the time. "Could you say Senator instead of Ma'am? It's just a thing. I worked so hard to get that title, so I'd appreciate it, yes, thank you."

As if people don't work hard to deserve "ma'am." And they work from childhood.

Maybe more folks in Washington should be refreshed: You're in a Southern city. You can look it up. That was part of the deal between Alexander Hamilton and James Madison/Thomas Jefferson. You're allowed to talk like it.

Ma'am sure beats other titles, like senator and president. Or even CNN chief White House correspondent.

Editorial on 01/12/2019

Print Headline: Ma'am? Ma'am? Ma'am?


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Archived Comments

  • 23cal
    January 12, 2019 at 7:42 a.m.

    About "You know, do me a favor," she said at the time. "Could you say Senator instead of Ma'am? It's just a thing. I worked so hard to get that title, so I'd appreciate it, yes, thank you."

    As if people don't work hard to deserve "ma'am." And they work from childhood."
    This is "chewed out a general in front of her committee"? Say what? Nicely asking to be addressed by the rank she deserves in the context of the meeting? Obviously editor has never experienced the joy of a real chewing out by a DI.
    I was brought up to call all respected women "ma'am", and they didn't have to do any particular work to deserve it. As Zig Zigler pointed out, "I don't call a lady a lady because she is a lady, for she may or may not be a lady. I call her a lady because I am a gentleman."
    However, becoming a Senator does take work and in her position as Senator addressing a general as part of her job, she had every right to the proper and rightfully deserved address of Senator, and asking to be designated as such doesn't necessarily include any put down of women or of "ma'am". In THAT setting she was operating as a Senator, not as the nice "maiam" who lives next door. That the editor would dishonestly insert such a put down is despicable, and expected, considering the source. In short, in that setting, her calling him "general" instead of "Yo, Dude" was proper and he should have properly responded by addressing her as "Senator".

  • WhododueDiligence
    January 12, 2019 at 9:04 a.m.

    Look, Mister, if you were a general in a US Senate hearing, would you like to be called Mister? If you were the senator would you like the general to call you Mister? Maybe not. Maybe that would be inappropriate. So maybe you shouldn't find "Ma'am" quite so lovably endearing.

  • Seitan
    January 12, 2019 at 9:31 a.m.

    Welcome to the misogynistic, hayseed, Victorian-era clown-train, also known as the DemoZette Editorial Board. When someone earns an official title (President, Senator, Doctor, Colonel, Professor, etc.) that is how that person should be addressed. If you refer to a male senator as "Senator X", then the same goes for the female senator. It is not even remotely complicated.

  • WhododueDiligence
    January 12, 2019 at 9:48 a.m.

    MisterMac got dishonorably discharged.

  • Seitan
    January 12, 2019 at 10:28 a.m.

    GM. Why you gotta get all pervy in here?

  • 23cal
    January 12, 2019 at 12:42 p.m.

    Can you imagine the editor EVER referring to any of our male senators and representatives as "Mister"? I can't, not in my wildest imaginings. That dog just don't hunt.
    Can you spell m-i-s-o-g-y-n-y-? Goes hand-in-glove with his backward hatred of modernity, equality, women's rights, diversity, etc.

  • limb
    January 12, 2019 at 2:23 p.m.

    Clear stupidity- on- purpose on editorial board.

  • GeneralMac
    January 12, 2019 at 2:32 p.m.

    23CAL.......I apologize to the MAJORITY of liberal posters here (who are gay men ).

    My analogy didn't bother to consider their situation.

    I must also compare......."wham , bam, thank you sir" to "wham , bam , thank you Senator"

    Sometimes I simply forget that the MAJORITY of liberal posters are members of "LGBT" "LGBT".

  • Skeptic1
    January 12, 2019 at 3:09 p.m.

    Sure beats another Democrat calling our president "Mother **cker."

  • Skeptic1
    January 12, 2019 at 3:13 p.m.

    WhododueDiligence....unless you have proof for your defamatory statement about Generalmac you would be wise to retract your incredibly low class slur of him. Do not be embolden into thinking your screen name makes you anonymous.