NPR correspondent Nina Totenberg threw herself into the center of a word usage debate in February when she asked the lawyer for a man who had lied about receiving a Congressional Medal of Honor, “So, is your client a nut case?”
A paraphrase of the question about Xavier Alvarez also appeared in a text write-up of the story Feb. 22 on NPR’s website.
In online comments about that story, listeners criticized Totenberg
for insensitivity. “I almost dropped my teeth” at the question, wrote
commenter Amy Gasper on the day the story was published. “Was she asking
if Alvarez had a history of mental illness? Was she asking his attorney
to diagnose a mental illness?