AJR received many letters and e-mails prompted by the use of the headline "Who Do You Trust?" over a July/August article on picking up anonymously sourced stories. Some grammarians seemed quite upset by this flagrant abuse of the English language. Actually, AJR was playing off the name of a popular game show aired in the late '50s and early '60s. Here's a little history.
The prime time show, originally titled "Do You Trust Your Wife?," ran from January 3, 1956, to March 26, 1957, on CBS, hosted by Edgar Bergen, Candice Bergen's father. Two married couples competed in a quiz challenge, where each husband could either answer himself or trust his wife to answer for him.
The show later jumped to daytime on ABC, running from September 30, 1957, to December 27, 1963. Future big-name Johnny Carson took over as host, and in 1958 a more politically correct, though grammatically erroneous, name, "Who Do You Trust?," was adopted. Later that year, Carson gained a new announcer, Ed McMahon, who would leave the show with Carson in 1962 for "The Tonight Show." By then, the name had been changed to "Whom Do You Trust?," as a result of pressure from adamant grammar czars. (Interestingly, the show was canceled the next year.)
While AJR aspires to strictly follow the rules of correct English usage, perhaps there are some occasions when cutting a little slack is in order. After all, if grammarians had gotten to radicals Bo Diddley, Ray Parker Jr., Aretha Franklin, Anthony Newley, Rusted Root and Jean Knight, we'd forever be stuck with:
• Whom Do You Love?
• Whom You Gonna Call?
• Who's Zoomin' Whom?
• Whom Can I Turn To?
• Whom Do You Tell It To
• Whom Do You Think You Are? (You know, Mr. Big Stuff)