Several weeks ago I wrote a letter to the editor dealing with The Associated Press’ announcement that its stylebook would no longer include the terms “illegal immigrant” or “Islamist.” I pointed out that this was yet another in a long list of examples of the left’s incessant efforts at controlling the flow of information to the public.
The AP’s well-known political bias notwithstanding, this week The Sheridan Press Publisher Stephen Woody, chose to claim that the AP Stylebook “reflects changes” in an alleged attempt at providing a “uniform presentation of the written word” in the journalistic domain. Really?
Woody quotes an academic source as saying that “we can’t use words that don’t accurately convey what reality is.” He then amplifies the point by treating us to an etymological history of the morphing of “illegal alien” to “illegal immigrant” to, well, probably something like undocumented immigrant. These terms morphed? Perhaps they’ve been foisted on the American public by a politically correct, ideologically driven media!
Webster defines an immigrant as “a person who comes to a country to take up permanent residence.” Federal law has specific definitions of those who are not legal residents of the U.S. and what they must do to enter the country. The legal term used in Chapter 12 of Title VIII of the U.S. Code is “alien.” Since when does a journalistic cabal have the right to simply change legal terms which appear in codified law? No, Mr. Woody, this doesn’t reflect change.
It is but another instance of an out-of-control media establishment deciding what gets reported, how it is to be reported and which words are appropriate to use, versus other words which are deemed (by the media) to be dismissive or dehumanizing.
I would again point out that we know from history that he who controls the dissemination of important information can also control the actions of those to whom erroneous information is given and also of those from whom information necessary to proper decision making is withheld.
The overt manipulation of vocabulary used in news stories is, at its core, misleading at best and downright dangerous at worst. The American people should not tolerate such manipulation any more than we should accept bogus claims such as “Benghazi was caused by an offensive video.”