[Ads-l] Reality Winner

Dave Wilton dave at WILTON.NET
Sun Jun 11 15:09:56 EDT 2017

I may be thinking of older practice. The current AP Stylebook says this about middle names:

"Use them only with people who are publicly known that way (James Earl Jones), or to prevent confusion with people of the same name."

But of middle initials, it says this:

"Use according to a person's preference. Include middle initials in stories where they help identify a specific individual. Examples include casualty lists and stories naming the accused in a crime. A middle initial may be dropped if a person does not use one or is publicly known without it: Mickey Mantle (not Mickey C.), the Rev. Billy Graham (not Billy F.)."

I wish I had older versions of the Stylebook to refer to.

-----Original Message-----
From: American Dialect Society [mailto:ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU] On Behalf Of Jim Parish
Sent: Sunday, June 11, 2017 11:57 AM
Subject: Re: [ADS-L] Reality Winner

On 6/11/2017 11:10 AM, Dave Wilton wrote:
> Journalists frequently use a person's middle name, especially someone charged with a crime, to distinguish them from potential others with the same name. Lee Harvey Oswald, for example, rarely used his middle name. He was just "Lee Oswald" to those who knew him. It was journalists who made the middle name iconic. Ditto for James Earl Ray.
> In Reality Winner's case, however, I don't think potential confusion with others is an issue, which may be why *more* journalists aren't using her middle name.

I'd want quantitative data before accepting that first claim. I can think of many people, accused of crimes similar to Winner's, whose middle names have not been reported prominently: Aldrich Ames, Edward Snowden, Bradley/Chelsea Manning, etc.

Jim Parish

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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