Today's Chicago Tribune boasts an interview with Barack Obama. Carried in both the print and Web editions, the latter version is headlined: "Barack Obama plans to reach out to Muslim world: In exclusive interview, he says he plans to be sworn in like every other president, using his full name: Barack Hussein Obama"
The article begins:
Barack Obama says his presidency is an opportunity for the U.S. to renovate its relations with the Muslim world, starting the day of his inauguration and continuing with a speech he plans to deliver in an Islamic capital.
And when he takes the oath of office Jan. 20, he plans to be sworn in like every other president, using his full name: Barack Hussein Obama.
The problem with this is it's not accurate. Not every president has taken the oath "using his full name" and the Chicago Tribune should have so informed its readers. Of the last six presidents, three didn't use their full names: Gerald R. Ford, Jimmy Carter, and Ronald Reagan.
Obama's decision to use his full name is particularly interesting as no less an authority than Michelle Obama has, according to the Tribune's own Washington bureau, called using her husbands's middle name "the obvious, ultimate fear bomb."
Some observers will no doubt assert that what name Obama uses to take the oath is essentially inconsequential. That's their right. Regardless, the Chicago Tribune owes its readers at least some modest effort to report facts.