Unless you’re a writer or in some ways connected to the news media industry, you’re probably not familiar with the “AP Stylebook.” By its proper name, the “Associated Press Stylebook and Briefing on Media Law” is essentially the news writer’s bible. Wikipedia summarizes it like this:“… AP Stylebook, is an English grammar style and usage guide created by American journalists working for or connected with the Associated Press over the last century to standardize mass communications. Although it is sold as a guide for reporters, it has become the leading reference for most forms of public-facing corporate communication over the last half-century. The Stylebook offers a basic reference to grammar, punctuation and principles of reporting, including many definitions and rules for usage as well as styles for capitalization, abbreviation, spelling and numerals.”
In journalism when the rules of writing change, they do so because the Stylebook has changed them. Which is why the Stylebook’s latest revisions have raised eyebrows in some circles, and caused alarm bells to ring in others.
The 2017 AP yearly Stylebook is out and chock full of changes that favor liberal biases over impartiality. If you’re a writer and reporting on abortion, illegal immigrants, terrorism, guns or climate change, the AP wants to make sure you’re using the ‘right‘ terminology. The new Stylebook blatantly drives the liberal agenda and stymies the conservative one by instructing writers to not use terms such as “pro-life”, “refugee”, “Islamist” or “terrorist.”
The Hill reports:“A journalism stylebook is supposed to provide universal guidelines for writers when it comes to stylistic things like punctuation, capitalization and so on. This includes choosing certain words over others.
The original intent of word preference was to use words that are more neutral than others. But in recent years, that concept has changed.
…A pro-life author who submits a piece taking a position against abortion will see the words “pro-life” changed to “anti-abortion,” because the AP Stylebook instructs, “Use anti-abortion instead of pro-life and pro-abortion rights instead of pro-abortion or pro-choice.” It goes on, “Avoid abortionist,” saying the term “connotes a person who performs clandestine abortions.”Words related to terrorism are sanitized in the AP Stylebook. Militant, lone wolves or attackers are to be used instead of terrorist or Islamist. “People struggling to enter Europe” is favored over “migrant” or “refugee.”…
“Illegal immigrant” and “undocumented” aren’t acceptable anymore either. “Illegals” and “alien” were already forbidden a few years ago. Although “illegal immigration” is still acceptable, it’s not clear what words are supposed to replace the forbidden words. The word “amnesty” contains no reference to illegal immigrants, instead instructing, “See pardon, parole, probation.”The Stylebook also instructs writers to use confusing language about guns in order to create a negative impression about them. Semi-automatic rifles that have add-on parts intended to increase shooting accuracy are to be called “assault weapons,” despite the fact the term has referred to fully automatic weapons used by the military for years. The latter are now referred to as “assault rifles,” and the two are often conflated. Adding even more to the confusion, the phrase “military style” is recommended to describe assault weapons.
Separately, the phrase “climate change deniers” is everywhere today in news articles. This is because the Stylebook instructs, “To describe those who don’t accept climate science or dispute that the world is warming from man-made forces, use climate change doubters or those who reject mainstream climate science. Avoid use of skeptics or deniers.”
The media. The “4th branch of government.” A non-biased, non-agenda-driven entity charged with reporting truth and facts and allowing the public to make up its own mind.
[Note: This article was written by Derrick Wilburn]