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The guardian of truth and justice, the newspaper collective known as the Associated Press, has determined, in all of its wisdom, that it is inappropriate to use the term “illegal immigrant” about people who are, of course, illegal immigrants.
Keep in mind, though the newspaper industry is not what it was five years ago, 10 years ago or 20 years ago when I was a part of it, the AP is still among the largest news organizations in the world. It has great influence because its news reports fill newspapers and websites that don’t generate much original news of their own. The judgment and tone of the television news you watch and the radio news you listen to is greatly affected by the AP’s reportage. And its stylebook is used by most newspapers and even, for the most part, with some exceptions, news agencies like WND.
Without question, this will be one of those exceptions.
This decision by AP provides a glimpse into the self-conscious, politically correct straightjacket in which news people live today.
What’s most shocking about the policy change by AP is that it offers no alternative language for reporters and editors to use. I suspect the reason is that it’s tough to find a substitute for a perfectly legitimate and accurate phrase that succinctly describes a person or persons in a way everyone understands.
“Illegal immigrant” now joins previously banned terminology such as “illegal alien” and “undocumented.”
Here is the only tortured language AP suggests in place of these terms: “people living in or entering a country illegally or without legal permission.”
Do you believe that?
Can you imagine constructing a headline with that kind of verbosity?
In its faux quest for objectivity, AP has actually reached far into the world of advocacy. This is the equivalent of proclaiming journalistic amnesty.
In Washington, those promoting amnesty for foreigners who break into the country in violation of its immigration law use the euphemism “comprehensive immigration reform” to describe what they want.
You might label AP’s edict “incomprehensible immigration newspeak.”
I entered the news profession in the late 1970s and continued as a top newspaper executive through the mid-1990s.
It was ideologically stacked to the port side back then. But what has happened in the last 20 years would make the founders of the Soviet-era Pravda and Izvestia blush with embarrassment.
American journalism was a wonderful experiment – while it lasted.
Did you know that the “free press” was actually birthed in early America? It was literally unheard of anywhere in the world until America’s founders invented it, characterizing it as an unalienable right and an absolute necessity for effective self-governance.
While there are still some independent efforts to practice the uniquely independent American style of journalism that serves as a watchdog on corruption, fraud, waste and abuse in government and other powerful institutions, most of the so-called “watchdogs” have become “lapdogs.”
It’s bad enough that the press establishment has become a lapdog for government. What’s worse is the way it has become a lapdog for the insidious, anti-American, multicultural moral relativism that has swept through academia and other elite pseudo-educational institutions.
What’s wrong with “illegal immigrant” or “illegal alien”? The AP apparatchiks will tell you it’s not right to label a person “illegal” – only an action.
What about labeling someone a “criminal”? Is that also unacceptable? Perhaps we should only refer to “criminal behavior” and avoid such judgmentalism.
You see where this kind of thinking leads?
It leads in the direction of not being able to discern right from wrong.
And if our news people cannot distinguish right from wrong – or even attempt to describe it – how will our society be able to tell the difference?
Maybe that’s the point. Maybe that’s the goal. Maybe that’s the endgame.