Called Out: AP Drops “Illegal Immigrant” From Style Guide

3 Apr

Journalism used to be about telling an unbiased, factually correct story. The information was gathered and put into a form the general public could consume without distorting information. Sadly those days are gone and the Associated Press (AP) has capitulated in the demise of true journalism. Quite ironic.

In the latest blow, the AP has decided to bow down to political correctness and become intellectually incorrect by removing the use of the term “illegal immigrant”. Why do so? Senior Vice President and Executive Editor Kathleen Carroll states the style book is trying to rid itself of labels[1]. Huh? Human beings naturally group, classify and label everything around us.

Ms. Carroll wrote on her blog:

“The Stylebook no longer sanctions the term ‘illegal immigrant’ or the use of ‘illegal’ to describe a person. Instead, it tells users that ‘illegal’ should describe only an action, such as living in or immigrating to a country illegally.”

Now those learning or currently practicing “journalism” will be seen in a negative way if they use technically correct term “illegal immigrant” as a descriptive term. The AP has long lost its credibility of being an unbiased, true journalistic entity. This current move clearly illustrates, yet again, their move to show their bias. Giving a weak excuse which anyone without cataracts can see through.

What makes this change even better? The head of the Department of Homeland Security, Janet Napolitano, pretty much makes a mockery of the change while not intending to do so. When questioned about labels, Napolitano said, “They are immigrants who are here illegally, that’s an illegal immigrant.”[2] While Napolitano is quite inept at her job in most cases, she finally used some common sense and got one right with this issue.

However, according to a group of 24 linguists at the , the term “illegal immigrant” is not neutral or accurate. [3] Jonathan Rosa, an assistant professor of linguistic anthropology at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, argues it is “inaccurate” based on their research. Apparently, while claiming to be quite intelligent, these 24 linguists fail to use common sense. If someone does something against the law they have done something illegal. If the law which is broken is an immigration law, they are then illegally immigrating and thus an illegal immigrant. The race, sex, hair color, height or any other infinite classification  of said lawbreaker is not in question nor changes the technically correct description.

The linguists apparently don’t like the idea of a factually correct term being “polarizing and establishes a black-and-white framing of the larger immigration debate.” Mr. Rosa and the other linguists fail to open their eyes to see being “illegal” is absolutely an black-or-white. One either does something illegal, or they do not. Reasoning behind breaking the law doesn’t change the facts. The only thing polarizing is the lack of a common sense approach to fixing the illegal immigration problem in the United States.

So what will happen going forward? Most of the politically correct worshiping media outlets will end up conforming (if they have not already) to the new “standard” of not using the term “illegal immigrant”. The few who do not bow down at the altar of political correctness will continue to follow the technically correct label. True journalism standards follow being technically correct with facts. Most media outlets don’t follow true journalism standards.

Sources –

  1. Associated Press Drops ‘Illegal Immigrant’ From Stylebook – ABC News
  2. AP drops ‘illegal immigrant’ from Stylebook – Washington Post
  3. Linguists Tell New York Times That ‘Illegal’ Is Neither ‘Neutral’ nor ‘Accurate’ – ABC News
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