Columnists, Featured, Jon Caldara, Media, Politics, Uncategorized

Caldara: How the AP Stylebook guides progressive media bias

Journalists have no idea how their work is perceived by a very sizable percentage of Americans.

At a recent wedding reception, I ran into a lady I’ve known for about 15 years. In her mid-60s she is the sweetest, most proper lady in the world. Never once have I heard a harsh word slip through her lips. When the conversation turned to the media, without prodding she simply asserted a loud, unambiguous, “(expletive) the media.”

When Trump points to the reporter pool in the back of one of his rallies and states, “They are the enemy,” he is singing to people like this. It’s one of the major reasons he became president.

It is fascinating how the built-up frustration to the main-stream media carried Trump to victory. It’s more fascinating that the media has shown absolutely no introspection into their role in the phenomenon. They really think most Americans see them as they see themselves — brave warriors of truth, not torchbearers for progressive ideology.

One only has to listen to NPR reporters and their pee-your-pants excitement at covering Trump’s impeachment to conclude they still have no idea so much of America considers them the enemy.

I have been around the media since the mid-80s as a cartoonist, columnist, talk show host, and of course through my years of political work. I love reporters. Almost universally they are engaging, caring, smart and riotously funny. And almost every one of them I have ever known feels called to journalism.

And not a single one of them recognizes how monolithically progressive the main-stream media is. Few of them will admit their profession is dominated by people with a left-of-center philosophy. And none, I mean none, see that what they pump out is serving the progressive agenda.

Talking to a reporter about how left the media is like talking to an alcoholic about his drinking. He honestly can’t see the issue and will angrily suggest you are the one with the problem.

But instead to turning to AA for an example of how to admit their problem, reporters turn to the AP, the Associated Press, to encourage it. The AP codifies reporters’ progressively loaded language with the AP Stylebook. This yearly updated, dictionary-like guide for reporters and editors is meant to make their work consistent.

What it actually does is cement terminology to promote political conclusions. It declares the winners and losers in political debates.

For reporters, it recommends avoiding terms like illegal alien: “use illegal only to refer to an action, not a person.” The AP instead suggests using terms like “undocumented.” While this is just fine with reporters, because most of them agree, it promotes a side on the immigration debate.

The first rule in winning any political battle is winning the language used to define the issue. In this, the media plays judge and jury.

The AP has updated its style to say that gender is no longer binary and thus declared a winner in this divisive debate. They ruled that, “Not all people fall under one of two categories for sex and gender.”

It’s admirable that reporters want to be compassionate to transgender individuals and those transitioning, as we all should be. But AP reporters first have a duty to the truth, or so they say. There are only two sexes, identified by an XX or XY chromosome. That is the very definition of binary. The AP ruling it isn’t so doesn’t change science. It’s a premeditative attempt to change culture and policy. It’s activism.

The AP, once the guardian of grammar and proper word usage, now allows “they/them/their” as a “singular and/or gender-neutral pronoun.” So, the Associated Press is happy to change the plain grammatical meaning of words to promote an agenda. “They” is singular and up is down.

The terms defined in the Stylebook take at most a phrase or short sentence to describe. “Race-related coverage” takes more than four pages to bob-and-weave through political correctness. No wonder the country can’t have a coherent conversation about race. We’re not allowed to use words.

Even with all the latitude the Stylebook gives reporters to steer left, they still consistently violate AP standards to push their views further.

The AP asserts, “Often, (race) is an irrelevant factor and drawing unnecessary attention to someone’s race or ethnicity can be interpreted as bigotry.” If that is true, the media’s preoccupation with identity politics makes them worse than the KKK.

The AP declares “Music added to AP productions must not have an editorial effect, such as evoking sympathy.” Note to my friends on TV and at NPR: news with sound effects and music, your mainstay product, is commentary, not reporting. So just respect us enough to admit it.

The AP is so brazen as to state, “AP resists being used as a conduit for speech or images that espouse hate or spread propaganda.”

The AP is the conduit for propaganda. If they don’t own up to it and try to change it, they may help re-elect the president they loathe.

Jon Caldara is president of the Independence Institute, a free market think tank in Denver.


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