File this in the overflowing cabinet labeled: No Wonder the Mainstream Media Is Dying. On Tuesday, the Associated Press announced that it is banishing the phrase “illegal immigrant” from its famous stylebook. The world’s largest newsgathering outlet now advises reporters that “illegal” will “only refer to an action, not a person.”
AP directs writers not to use the terms “illegal alien, an illegal, illegals or undocumented” anymore, except “in direct quotations.” It won’t be long before illegal border crossers, illegal visa overstayers, illegal deportation evaders, document fraudsters and illegal alien traffickers are all referred to as “our fellow Americans.” Without the quotations. Mark my words.
AP explains that it wants to stop labeling people. Hah. This is the same organization that employs journalists who have repeatedly shown naked bias against tea party members, gun owners and pro-life activists. AP’s most famous White House correspondent, Jennifer Loven, was such a shameless water-carrier for the Democratic Party that she earned the permanent nickname “Democratic operative Jennifer Loven” on the Internet. In 2010, she left AP to join an official Democratic-run lobbying and communications firm in D.C. Same difference.
I propose that we banish the term “journalist” when referring to members of mainstream news organizations who pose as neutral news-gathers while carrying out a blatantly ideological agenda. From now on, AP’s staffers shall be described in my columns as “alleged practitioners of journalism” or “journalists” only when using direct quotations.
But I digress.
Just a few years ago, the AP resisted open-borders demands and the pressure of political correctness in favor of pithiness and precision. In 2010, a member of the “Diversity Committee” of the Society of Professional Journalists launched a campaign “illegal immigrant” and “illegal alien.” The crusading “journalist” argued that foreign law-breakers should instead be labeled “undocumented workers” or “undocumented immigrants.”
As I told Daily Caller reporter Matthew Boyle at the time, the idea that “undocumented workers” and “undocumented immigrants” are more objective labels than “illegal immigrants” is complete and utter nonsense. The euphemisms that mainstream “journalists” favor are far more politically loaded than the ones they’re trying to replace.
It’s a farce to call someone an “undocumented immigrant” whose pockets are overflowing with fake, fraudulent documents — and that is usually the case with many of the suspected illegal immigrants featured in AP stories. (Moreover, it is inaccurate to call someone whose employment history, criminal record and welfare status are unknown an undocumented “worker.”)
At the time, the AP agreed. AP’s deputy standards editor David Minthorn told Boyle three short years ago: “The AP Stylebook created its entry on ‘illegal immigrant’ in 2004, in response to renewed debate over border security and the enforcement of immigration laws after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. Together, the terms describe a person who resides in a country unlawfully by residency or citizenship requirements. Illegal immigrant … is accurate and neutral for news stories.”
So what changed? “Journalist” Kathleen Carroll, AP’s executive editor, attributes the move to the “evolving” English language. I attribute it to the “evolving” transformation of once-neutral news organizations into brazenly transparent satellite lobbying outfits for the left. It’s not media bias that’s the problem, of course. It’s the sanctimonious pretense of objectivity to which these alleged practitioners of journalism cling.
Just look at the ABC News coverage of the AP’s decision. “Journalist” Cristina Costantini praised the move and patted her own colleagues on the back for their progressivism. “Fusion, the ABC-Univision joint venture, does not use ‘illegal immigrant’ because we believe it dehumanizes those it describes and we find it to be linguistically inaccurate.” On her Twitter account, “journalist” Costantini gushed that AP’s capitulation came “thanks to the hard work of great people like @joseiswriting.”
“@joseiswriting” is Jose Antonio Vargas, the former Washington Post reporter who spearheaded the whitewashing of our language and our laws on behalf of illegal aliens. In 2011, with great fanfare and elite media sympathy, Vargas publicly declared himself an “undocumented immigrant.” Except, as he himself confessed, Vargas had documents coming out of his ears — including a fake passport with a fake name, a fake green card and a Social Security card his grandfather doctored for him at a Kinko’s.
As I previously noted when Vargas shed his “journalist” costume in favor of full-fledged activist, he had committed perjury repeatedly on federal I-9 employment eligibility forms. An immigration lawyer advised him to take responsibility for breaking the law and return to his native Philippines. Following the rules would have meant a 10-year bar to reentry into America. Making false claims of citizenship is a felony offense. Document fraud is a felony offense. Instead of accepting responsibility, Vargas used a friend’s address to obtain an Oregon driver’s license under false pretenses and duped his employers until the golden moment to confess — without any fear of punishment under the illegal alien-friendly Obama administration — arrived.
The persistent use of open-borders euphemisms championed by Vargas and Company once again serves as the perfect illumination of the agenda-driven, dominant progressive media. They’re as activist inside their newsrooms as Vargas is out in the open. Vargas won’t rest until the legal definition of American citizenship is obliterated. And neither will his “journalist” colleagues cheering him on, whitewash brushes in hand.
Michelle Malkin is the author of “Culture of Corruption: Obama and his Team of Tax Cheats, Crooks and Cronies” (Regnery 2010). Her e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
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