The editor of the editorial page of the Wall Street Journal accused strategists of President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr. of initiating a coordinated response to an article published Friday night urging Jill Biden, wife of Mr. Biden, not to refer to himself as “Dr. Biden ”because she is not a doctor, but is doing a doctorate in education.
After two master’s degrees, Dr. Biden from the University of Delaware in 2007. She also taught English at a community college in Virginia, and hopes to continue to do so while serving as first lady.
“The Ph.D. may once have held prestige, but that has been diminished by the erosion of seriousness and the loosening of standards in university education in general, ”Joseph Epstein wrote in the comment.
In the response, published on Sunday evening and for the Monday newspaper, Paul A. Gigot, the top editor of the journal’s opinion division for nearly two decades, pointed out negative comments on Mr. Epstein’s article, that of two Biden employees as well Douglas Emhoff, the husband of Senator Kamala Harris, the elected vice president, was posted on Twitter as evidence of a campaign.
“Why go so far as to highlight a single comment on a relatively small subject?” wrote Mr Gigot, who elsewhere said the replies reflected “which was clearly a political strategy”. “I suspect the Biden team concluded that it was a chance to use the great weapon of identity politics to send a message to critics as they prepare to take power. There’s nothing like playing race or the gender card to stifle criticism. “
Mr. Gigot said the press generally supported the negative interpretation of the article (he referred to an article in the New York Times about it). And he defended the play.
“Ms. Biden is America’s most prominent graduate student today and has a leadership role in educational policy,” wrote Gigot. “She cannot be closed to comment.”
He also noted that Mr. Epstein’s argument that PhD students were not the “Dr.” Biden is out of place because Mr Biden also used the term in relation to his wife. He compared the tweets from Biden employees to those in which President Trump described the press as an “enemy of the people”.
A Wall Street Journal spokeswoman declined to comment. A Biden spokeswoman did not comment immediately.
The conservatism of the journal’s opinion side – which preceded Rupert Murdoch’s purchase of the Journal’s parent company, Dow Jones & Company, in 2007 for $ 5 billion – has occasionally caused friction with the Journal’s newsroom, which like most newspapers, does not is officially political.
Mr. Epstein’s play is likely to create further tension. For example, a college reporter for The Journal said on Twitter over the weekend that such opinion pieces “make it harder for me to do my job”.
As with other newspapers, including The Times and The Washington Post, the journal’s news sections and opinion pages are maintained separately, each monitored by a top editor who reports to the newspaper’s editor.
At least three times this year members of the journal’s newsroom have sent letters criticizing the journal’s columns.
In July, nearly 300 news workers sent a letter to the journal’s editor, Almar Latour, stating a “lack of fact-checking and transparency” on the opinion counter. The letter referred to several articles, including Vice President Mike Pence’s June 16 essay entitled “There is no coronavirus, second wave”. In response, the journal published an unsigned editorial complaining about the “progressive abandonment culture”. it was said that the letter was typical.
In June, the union’s board of directors, which represents the Journal’s staff, sent a letter to Mr Latour and Matt Murray – the Journal’s editor-in-chief who oversaw the news section – asking Gerard A. Baker, the former editor-in-chief and now an editor in general , be placed in the opinion area and criticize an article by him and several of his Twitter posts. He was reassigned the day after the letter was posted, despite a spokeswoman for the Journal saying a move was in the works.
In February, the headline of an article by columnist Walter Russell Mead criticizing China’s response to the coronavirus prompted more than 50 news workers, many of whom were based in China, to sign a letter to the Dow Jones chief executive and Mr. Murdoch’s chief executive News Corp. asks to withdraw. The headline calling China the “Real Sick Man of Asia” was “derogatory,” the letter reads. The headline was not withdrawn and the Chinese government soon expelled three journal reporters in what it termed retaliation.
In response on Sunday, Mr. Gigot promised not to be impressed by the reaction to the article. “If you disagree with Mr. Epstein, fair enough. Write a letter or shout your objections on Twitter, ”he wrote. “But these sites won’t stop posting provocative essays just because they insult the new government or political censorship in the media and academia.”