Aw: NYT disses Bin Laden by dropping "Mr" as an honorific

According to the Times, dropping the terrorist’s title was a last-minute decision of minor importance, made just before going to press. The paper’s print edition was inconsistent on the matter: News stories mentioned “Mr. bin Laden” while the obituary referred to “bin Laden.” But the decision does seem to imply some form of moral judgment. Bin Laden is certainly a historical figure—defined as someone who will be talked about for decades—so he would have gotten the one-name treatment at some point either way. But why now? If George H.W. Bush died tomorrow, he would undoubtedly be referred to as “Mr. Bush.” Idi Amin was sent off as “Mr. Amin,” and Joseph Stalin was “Mr. Stalin.” The Times’ decision to forgo any transition period and jump straight to “bin Laden” indicates it had no fears about offending readers by shortening his name.