No Way to Treat a Lady

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Does The Post have a policy on identifying the birth names of newsmakers, as opposed to referring to them by just their stage names? It's a fair question, seeing that The Post has gone out of its way four times in two months starting Aug. 18 to identify Lady Gaga as Stefani Germanotta recently while other celebrity names are left intact.

Two Oct. 1 music reviews brought this duality into question. David Malitz reviewed the Lady Gaga concert while Chris Richards reviewed the U2 show. In Malitz's review, Lady Gaga's real name was revealed once in the text and again in the caption while in Richards's review neither of the stage names of Bono (born Paul Hewson) and The Edge (born David Evans) were accompanied by birth names.

Then on Oct. 12, in the Style article "For Gay Activists, the Lady Is a Champ," Dan Zak chose to provide Lady Gaga's birth name while identifying other celebrities (Madonna, Cher) by only their stage names. On the same day, on Page C3, were mentions of John Legend (born John Stephens), Natalie Portman (Natalie Hershlag) and rapper T.I. (Clifford Joseph Harris Jr.) but not their real names.

Maybe the writers and editors at The Post should try a little less hard to take a successful new celebrity in Lady Gaga down a peg or two, or maybe The Post should try to apply the same editorial standard of factual disclosure to all reviews and articles.

-- James A. Matarese Jr.


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