Of all the things I’ve read by The New Yorker‘s Hendrik Hertzberg, easily his most influential was a Talk of the Town piece from 2006 called “The ‘ic’ Factor” where he rips apart misuse of the word Democrat to describe things that are, in fact, Democratic by Republicans and lazy or misguided journalists.
For instance, Barack Obama is a Democrat, but he is also the Democratic president who was democratically elected by the American people.
The Washington state House of Representatives is mostly full of Democrats who make up a Democratic majority.
The word Democratic, as Hertzberg explains, is an adjective, and when Republicans use the noun Democrat in lieu of the adjective, it is a slur of sorts.
It is also just plain ignorant.
Now, with my my humble Stadium High School eduction and Wesleyan government degree, I am hardly a walking AP Style Guide, but I have sense enough to properly use the word Democratic when referring to the party that had the right mixture of substance and style to deter George W. Bush from its ranks.
With that said, I’ll be taking it upon myself to call out journalists who make the “ic” flub in the name of public notice. I invite HA readers to do the same.
Our inaugural offender is a wise and talented fellow Stadium grad, the Tacoma News-Tribune‘s Peter Callaghan who today referred to the “Democrat” majority on the King County Council.
Get it right, Pete.
Who’s next? Hopefully no one.