“Jeopardy” has entertained — and informed — television viewers for nearly half a century.
But last week, the durable game show, which poses answers as questions and vice-versa, apparently offended a salon.com entertainment reporter by letting a South Carolinian use an alternative title for a war that ended nearly a century and a half ago.
Salon journalist Daniel D’Addario wrote of Florence’s Ben Ingram, an eight-time “Jeopardy” champion: “Evidently, the I.T. consultant is full of Southern pride.”
That evidence: Mr. Ingram responded, “What is the War Between the States?” as the setting of David Healey’s novel “Rebel Train.”
Mr. D’Addario reported: “After just a moment of hesitation, host Alex Trebek accepted the answer, noting that he’d been looking for ‘the Civil War.’ ”
Mr. D’Addario also was looking for “the Civil War.” The Salon headline called Mr. Ingram’s optional title “politically loaded.”
OK, so “the War Between the States” wording has long asserted Southern states’ rights — including the right to leave the Union and form a new nation. And the South, South Carolina going first, seceded in large part to preserve its “state’s right” to perpetuate the abomination of slavery.
But Mr. Trebek, who routinely grants considerable leeway on correct responses, was right to take Mr. Ingram’s “War Between the States” as the right response on that $400 question. After all, the contestant had the correct war — just not the most widely accepted name for it.
Salon’s disapproval of Mr. Trebek, however, wasn’t confined to his acceptance of that term. Mr. D’Addario revealed that last year Mr. Trebek “told Politico that he opposed current deficit policy” — and that he “has also donated to Republican politicians.”
That raises this “Jeopardy”-like answer — and question:
“The first ‘Republican politician’ to win the White House.”
“Who is Abraham Lincoln?”