Associated Press drops use of “illegal immigrant” and “Islamist.”

‘Illegal Immigrant’ Banished From AP Stylebook

The news wire service says it’s removing ‘labels’ as critics seethe

By STEVEN NELSON

April 3,2013

Humberto Gonzales, busted for illegally residing in the U.S., rides aboard a bus abound for the Texas-Mexico border, May 25, 2010.Humberto Gonzales, busted for illegally residing in the U.S., rides aboard a bus bound for the Texas-Mexico border, May 25, 2010.

The Associated Press decreed Tuesday afternoon that the term “illegal immigrant” is no longer appropriate to describe people who reside in the United States without legal permission.

An update the AP’s influential stylebook was blasted out in an email to subscribers of the guide’s online version, saying in part, “Except in direct quotes essential to the story, use illegal only to refer to an action, not a person: illegal immigration, but not illegal immigrant.”

A blog post the AP’s senior vice president and executive editor, Kathleen Carroll, elaborated that the news organization “had in other areas been ridding the Stylebook of labels” and ultimately decided it was best to only label specific behaviors as illegal.

Debate over the term is highly political. Opponents of illegal immigration fear softening the language is a move to subtly shift the policy debate over immigration reform away from enforcing current immigration laws.

Maricopa County, Ariz., Sheriff Joe Arpaio is one of the nation’s foremost anti-illegal immigration hawks. Arpaio told U.S. News Wednesday, “If a person enters the United States illegally, that’s how we should refer to their status and not try to soften the crime of entering illegally by calling it something else.”

William Gheen, president of Americans for Legal Immigration,told the Los Angeles Times that the AP’s “Big Brother” style update was “political correctness on steroids.” Gheen told the Times his group will begin using the term “illegal invader.” On Tuesday evening late-night TV host Jay Leno joked that he would use the term “undocumented Democrats.”

The AP previously defended its use of the term “illegal immigrant.”

AP Deputy Managing Editor Tom Kent wrote in an October 2012 memo excerpted by the Poynter Institute: “Terms like ‘undocumented’ and ‘unauthorized’ can make a person’s illegal presence in the country appear to be a matter of minor paperwork. Many illegal immigrants aren’t “undocumented” at all; they may have a birth certificate and passport from their home country, plus a U.S. driver’s license, Social Security card or school ID. What they lack is the fundamental right to be in the United States.”

Following the AP’s Tuesday announcement, the public editor of The New York Times disclosed that it too was preparing to announce a revision this week to its stylebook entry for the term “illegal immigrant.” That change “will probably be more incremental” and introduce a more nuanced offering of terminology, rather than an outright ban on the term, according to The Times.

More News:

The Associated Press Revises Another Politically Charged Term

Stylebook entry for ‘Islamist’ revised two days after ‘illegal immigrant’ dropped

By STEVEN NELSON

April 4, 2013 RSS Feed Print

Jordanian demonstrators burn an Israeli flag and shout slogans in Amman, Feb. 23, 2007.Jordanian demonstrators burn an Israeli flag and shout slogans in Amman, Feb. 23, 2007.

Following on the heels of the Tuesday decision by The Associated Press to discontinue use of the term “illegal immigrant,” the news agency on Thursday revised its stylebook entry for another politically charged term.

The term “Islamist,” the AP clarified in a Thursday afternoon alert to online stylebook subscribers, should not be used as “a synonym for Islamic fighters, militants, extremists or radicals.”

[DEFIANT: Some Lawmakers Will Still Say ‘Illegal Immigrant’]

“Islamist” is frequently used as a label for conservative Islamic political movements, particularly Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas, the group’s Palestinian offshoot. It generally carries a negative connotation.

The AP first added the term to its stylebook in 2012. The definition initially read:

Supporter of government in accord with the laws of Islam. Those who view the Quran as a political model encompass a wide range of Muslims, from mainstream politicians to militants known as jihadi.

The Council on American-Islamic Relations, an American advocacy group sometimes labeled “Islamist” by critics, previously lobbied for the AP to drop the term. In a January op-ed CAIR’s communications director, Ibrahim Hooper, wrote the term “has become shorthand for ‘Muslims we don’t like'” and “is currently used in an almost exclusively pejorative context.”

As of Thursday’s update, the AP definition reads:

An advocate or supporter of a political movement that favors reordering government and society in accordance with laws prescribed by Islam. Do not use as a synonym for Islamic fighters, militants, extremists or radicals, who may or may not be Islamists.

Where possible, be specific and use the name of militant affiliations: al-Qaida-linked, Hezbollah, Taliban, etc. Those who view the Quran as a political model encompass a wide range of Muslims, from mainstream politicians to militants known as jihadi.

CAIR praised the AP’s update. “We believe this revision is a step in the right direction and will result in fewer negative generalizations in coverage of issues related to Islam and Muslims,” Hooper said. “The key issue with the term ‘Islamist’ is not its continued use; the issue is its use almost exclusively as an ill-defined pejorative.”

The AP’s decision to discontinue “illegal immigrant” was part of an ongoing process of “ridding the Stylebook of labels,” the organization’s senior vice president and executive editor, Kathleen Carroll, said in a blog post. It was immediately criticized by opponents of illegal immigration, including Maricopa County, Ariz., Sheriff Joe Arpaio, who told U.S. News he objected to efforts “to soften the crime of entering illegally.”

 

Update (04/05/13): This article has been updated with a statement from Ibrahim Hooper.

  • Nelson, Steven

    Steven Nelson is a producer at U.S. News & World Report. You can follow him on Twitter or reach him at snelson@usnews.com.

    Read more stories by Steven Nelson

Obama condemns Romney before he condemns terrorists 8 hours later.

At 11:53pm last night Talking Points Memo released a statement from the Obama campaign condemning Mitt Romney for criticizing something the White House itself disavowed — an appalling apology issued by the State Department.

Eight hours later, President Obama finally got around to condemning the monsters who attacked us on our own soil and killed our fellow citizens.

Yesterday, on the 11th anniversary of September 11, the Obama White House snubbed Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, accepted an invitation from David Letterman, and apologized to Islamists upset over a  film that mocks Islam and Mohammed — something “artists” in America do to Christianity with my tax dollars on a fairly regular basis.

First off: Why is our Embassy apologizing for a film no one has seen and apologizing for freedom of speech and expression? In a word, that’s un-American. And let’s remember that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton doubled down on the apology. Last night, though, the White House finally disavowed the apology, but now the hypocritical and wildly dishonest Obama campaign is lashing out at Mitt Romney for being critical of the same apology the White House itself disavowed.

Here’s the Romney statement:

I’m outraged by the attacks on American diplomatic missions in Libya and Egypt and by the death of an American consulate worker in Benghazi. It’s disgraceful that the Obama administration’s first response was not to condemn attacks on our diplomatic missions, but to sympathize with those who waged the attacks.

So I guess it’s okay for President Obama to criticize that disgraceful apology but not Romney. And now the left is claiming the apology in question from the U.S. Embassy in Cairo was made before the compound was attacked. But it’s just a fact that the on Twitter and elsewhere, even after the attack, that the Embassy defended and stood by the apology.

And let me reiterate that after the attack, Hillary doubled down on it.

Via TPM: Here’s the hysterical and dishonest response from the Obama campaign:

We are shocked that, at a time when the United States of America is confronting the tragic death of one of our diplomatic officers in Libya, Governor Romney would choose to launch a political attack,” Obama’s campaign press secretary Ben LaBolt said in a statement.

Not only is the Obama campaign’s “shock” completely manufactured — damn that Romney for criticizing the same apology Obama just disavowed! — but the Obama campaign is dishonestly trying to make it sound as though Romney was exploiting a tragic death. Moreover, I’m unaware of any condemnation of the Islamists who attack and killed our embassy personnel made before the campaign condemned Mitt Romney.

So who’s really playing politics here?

If only the Obama campaign could find half the outrage they saved for Romney to level at the murderers.

Well, you know, priorities.