The Wall Street Journal’s opinion editor defended the publication’s recent article calling on Jill Biden, wife of Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden, to drop the “Dr.” honorific title, and accused Democrats of mounting a coordinated attack on the paper based on identity politics.
Jill Biden received a doctorate in education in 2007 from the University of Delaware, with a dissertation on student retention in community colleges. In his piece, Epstein acknowledged Biden’s right to use “Dr.” before her name, but suggested she should not do so.
“A wise man once said that no one should call himself ‘Dr.’ unless he has delivered a child,” he wrote. “Think about it, Dr. Jill, and forthwith drop the doc.”
Epstein’s argument against using the honorific boiled down to the claim that increasingly lax educational standards have made the doctorate less prestigious and the increasing number of honorary degrees handed out to donors and celebrities has undercut its prestige even further.
“My late friend Sol Linowitz, then chairman of Xerox, told me that he had 63 honorary doctorates,” he wrote.
Epstein’s op-ed sparked backlash, with Gigot singling out a number of critical statements issued by people close to Jill Biden and Joe Biden’s campaign.
Gigot characterized the response as heavy-handed and questioned the motives of the critics.
“Why go to such lengths to highlight a single op-ed on a relatively minor issue?” Gigot wrote. “My guess is that the Biden team concluded it was a chance to use the big gun of identity politics to send a message to critics as it prepares to take power. There’s nothing like playing the race or gender card to stifle criticism.”
Gigot also took aim at news outlets that supported the Biden team’s criticism of Epstein’s op-ed, arguing, “This strategy worked to protect Joe and Hunter Biden during the campaign, so it’s no surprise that they’re keeping it up.” He was presumably referring to mainstream media largely ignoring or actively suppressing a story about reports of compromising emails on a laptop allegedly belonging to Biden’s son Hunter ahead of the Nov. 3 election.
“The outrage is overwrought because, whether you agree or disagree, Mr. Epstein’s piece was fair comment,” Gigot argued, and pointed out that The Wall Street Journal’s editorial policy is to use the “Dr.” honorific only in reference to medical doctors.
The Epoch Times’ editorial policy is to use “Dr.” only in reference to medical doctors.