Left expresses outrage over first-name-only media references to Vice President Kamala Harris

In the never-ending list of manufactured grievances flowing from the left comes a complaint about how some mainstream media outlets refer to the current vice president, not by her official title, but rather by just her first name, Kamala, something writer Bruce C.T. Wright of NewsOne says is indicative of entrenched racism.

Wright’s commentary was spurred in particular by a Politico article from last week speculating as to why Harris was reportedly taking Pfizer anti-viral medication Paxlovid following her diagnosis of COVID-19, which was said to be completely asymptomatic.

Politico piece draws leftist ire

The issue of how media outlets make reference to the current vice president reared its head once again following publication of the aforementioned Politico piece, which was entitled “Why did Kamala take the Pfizer pill?”

In that article, questions were posed about the rationale behind prescribing the drug to a patient who claimed to be suffering from no ill effects of infection, with some medical ethicists suggesting that such a treatment protocol was indeed problematic.

“It’s what I make of the American health care system – better to be rich and connected,” lamented Arthur Caplan of New York University, suggesting that it is entirely unfair, given the difficulty everyday citizens face in obtaining Paxlovid for their cases of COVID-19.

Unequal access to medical care, however, was not Wright’s key takeaway from the article, with the commentator taking aim at Politico’s decision to refer “to the most powerful Black woman in the free world by only her first name.”

“Latest disrespect”

In taking Politico to task for its story on Harris, Wright declared the outlet’s “editorial approach” to be part and parcel of “a very American tradition of doing discourtesies to Black Women” and a “decided departure from journalistic tradition when addressing sitting vice presidents.”

Wright’s piece highlighted the outrage felt from some corners of the Twitterverse, where social media user @wondermann5 chided anyone who would dare depart from their preferred name for Joe Biden’s number two, saying, “Good morning, white male journalists. Address Kamala Harris as Vice President Harris…that’s what she is…The Vice President.”

Author David Steele went even further in his criticism of Politico, telling the outlet’s White House editor, Sam Stein, to “[a]t least try to act professional and not like some contemptuous disrespectful entitled little brat” for echoing the controversial article title in a tweet publicizing the piece.

Though Wright’s rage was primarily focused on the use of “Kamala” rather than “Vice President Harris” in the context of the Paxlovid story, he also noted his displeasure with the fact that “mainstream news reports have certainly not been kind to Harris as she works to address some of the world’s most pressing issues like Russia’s invasion of Ukraine as well as domestic priorities like the root causes of migration at the nation’s southern border.”

“You call them by their title”

Addressing the kerfuffle on Fox News panel program The Five, liberal commentator Harold Ford Jr. appeared to minimize the characterization of racism made by those upset with Politico’s headline, saying, “I’m a traditionalist, old fashioned…I thought the Democrats were wrong when they called Donald Trump “Donald.” …You call them by their title.”

Whatever one’s position on the formalities owed to elected officials, rather than ascribing every perceived slight to nefarious racial motives, those on the left would be well-served to take a deeper look at the policy disasters, global humiliations, and grossly amateurish job performance that may be the true drivers of the “disrespect” they feel has been shown for the sitting vice president.

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