December 13, 2020

DISPATCHES FROM THE EDUCATION APOCALYPSE: WSJ op-ed writer critical of ‘Dr.’ Jill Biden gets canceled by Northwestern University.

Joseph Epstein was recognized on Northwestern University’s website as “emeritus lecturer” for more than twenty years. That changed Saturday when it was discovered that his profile is no longer available. Epstein has been canceled.

Epstein made the mistake of criticizing Jill Biden in an opinion essay published in the Wall Street Journal Friday. He calls her out for insisting on using the designation of “Dr.” with her name. He ends the essay with a suggestion that she consider stopping it, at least for now. He wrote, “please consider stowing it, at least in public, at least for now.” Many people applauded his essay, or at least the sentiment behind it, including myself. Most people with a Ph.D. do not refer to themselves as Jill Biden does, using the formal recognition of her advanced academic degree. It sounds haughty, frankly.

Whoopi Goldberg assures me though that Dr. Biden is indeed “a hell of a doctor,” and will make an excellent surgeon general.

UPDATE (FROM GLENN): I seem to recall the press getting snooty about Sebastian Gorka, who has a Ph.D. in political science, calling himself Dr. Gorka. Jill Biden doesn’t even have a Ph.D., but an Ed.D. of the sort also held by “Dr.” Bill Cosby.


UPDATE (From Ed): Speaking of the press and Gorka, past performance is no guarantee of future results:

More (From Ed): Whom does The New York Times consider a doctor? In 2015, Ben Carson was, for a time, “the leading contender for the Republican presidential nomination,” until overtaken by Donald Trump. “That’s quite an accomplishment for what initially was considered a very longshot candidacy. Some might suggest it merits a modicum of respect – say, by referring to the longtime director of pediatric neurosurgery at the nation’s premier teaching hospital (Johns Hopkins) with the well-deserved title ‘Dr.’ Yet in the pages of the Times itself, more often than not, Carson isn’t identified that way. In fact, thumbnail analysis I just did of Times stories using the media tracking service Nexis shows that Second Lady Jill Biden (who in 2007 received a doctor of education degree, or Ed.D., from the University of Delaware) is more than three times more likely to be called ‘Dr.’ by The New York Times as Carson is.”

(Updated and bumped.)

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