Titles in presidential debate spawn questions of decorum


The China Post

By Eric Huang –Attentive debate viewers from all over Taiwan may have carefully considered yesterday’s presidential debate hosted by Taiwan Public Television. Others, however, have wondered about a certain lack of manners. On several occasions, the moderator referred to President Ma as “Mr. Ma.” This could easily be considered by many as being disrespectful. Many believe the proper term for addressing the president should be “The President” or “Mr. President.” Whoever has been elected as the president of the Republic of China should be afforded the proper level of respect. In response to the “offensive second reference,” Taiwan Public Television said it is not a new policy. The TPT has used “Mr.” or “Miss” since Taiwan’s first televised presidential debate. The president is not the only person with whom the TPT debate moderator used the “Mr.” or “Miss” reference.

The TPT believes it is the surest way to be fair to all presidential candidates during the debate. The president is not acting in his capacity as president but as a candidate. The alternative term of respect of the second reference is consistent through the time.

Although debate viewers may find the TPT wrong in principle, Taiwan Public Television will maintain its policy for consistency sake. Perhaps this policy is as appropriate for President Ma as it has been for previous presidents during TPT’s presidential debates.