What the Dr. Biden editorial says about its writer and the Wall Street Journal

Hint: It ain’t pretty

Michael Greiner
6 min readDec 15, 2020


By Phil Roeder, Wikipedia.

Sometimes, an article says as much about the author as it does about its subject-matter. A case in point is the column published in the Wall Street Journal written by Joseph Epstein. And what it says about him, and the editorial board of the Journal, isn’t pretty.

To be fair, I had never heard of Epstein until I saw critical tweets on Twitter. I couldn’t believe what people were saying, so I had to follow the link and read the column myself. If anything, the tweets were tame.

For those of you who missed it, Epstein argued in the Journal, that Dr. Jill Biden, who legitimately earned a doctorate at a legitimate American research university, should not call herself “doctor.” Most of the tweets focused on the blatant misogyny displayed by Epstein, questioning the earned qualifications of a woman when he would likely raise no such objections for a man. He also disrespected Dr. Biden, calling her “kiddo,” and concluded by telling her that she should be satisfied being the First Lady rather than pursuing her own career. I’m not exaggerating.

I guess I shouldn’t be surprised by this blatant sexism given what a quick Google search revealed about Epstein’s prior writings. For example, in October 1970, he penned the following words in Harper’s:

“There is much my four sons can do in their lives that might cause me anguish, that might outrage me, that might make me ashamed of them and of myself as their father. But nothing they could ever do would make me sadder than if any of them were to become homosexual. For then I should know them condemned to a state of perpetual niggardom among men.” — Joseph Epstein

I can assure you that even back then, such language was not acceptable.

In response to the outcry over Epstein’s latest, his former employer Northwestern University condemned his article. But the Wall Street Journal stood firm, opining that the criticism was just a political hit job orchestrated by Democrats playing the race and gender card. Ah yes. Fake news combined with conspiracy. The refuge of modern conservatives.



Michael Greiner

Mike is an Assistant Professor of Management for Legal and Ethical Studies at Oakland U. Mike combines his scholarship with practical experience in politics.