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Ed Driscoll

The AP Stylebook Morphed into the Newspeak Dictionary So Slowly…

April 3rd, 2013 - 10:48 am

Ed Morrissey mentions why Jay Leno’s riff last night that the Associated Press is placing the phrase “illegal immigrant” with the words “undocumented Democrat” in the AP stylebook, the guide that all of their contributors use to ensure a uniform language in their articles, is resonating so strongly today. Not the least of which is that there’s nothing wrong with the original phrase:

Frankly, I think the term “illegal immigrant” works perfectly fine as a descriptor, which puts me in the same reactionary league as Janet Napolitano, as Allahpundit pointed out yesterday. In fact, not only do we have the same position on it, we have the same reasoning as well:

At a breakfast with reporters last week, she brushed aside concerns that the term is racist. “I don’t really get caught up in the vocabulary wars. They are immigrants who are here illegally. It’s an illegal immigrant,” she said. “They are immigrants who are here without documents. That’s an undocumented immigrant,” she added.

I think either term works, and it’s silly to keep looking for terms that don’t concisely describe a newsworthy and/or legal status just to prove an enlightenment that’s more of an affectation of concern than anything else. In this case, the statement itself proved just how inane the AP’s posture was. In the same blog post, the AP decided that their change, from a perfectly serviceable and non-discriminatory term that can literally be applied to anyone who enters the country illegally without regard to ethnicity or belief system, was both solidly founded — and tied to the whims of the moment:

Is this the best way to describe someone in a country without permission? We believe that it is for now. We also believe more evolution is likely down the road.

In other words: our new policy is superior, but we’ll change it in a heartbeat if enough people decide it’s not acceptable, either. Way to take a stand, AP! Why not wait until you’re certain that the new policy is solid before introducing it, especially in such a pretentious manner? Better yet, why not state that the use of “illegal immigrant” has no discriminatory issues at all, rather than cave to whatever current of political correctness happens to prevail at any point in time?

At the Daily Caller, Jim Treacher notes that even someone on the left such as George Carlin knew that the English Language was being corrupted by political correctness:

Here’s Carlin almost 25 years ago, talking about how the term “shell shock” eventually became “post-traumatic stress disorder.” Note that Carlin gets through several minutes here without cursing. It’s almost as if he knew these words would live on after he died, and he wanted as many people as possible to remember them:

It’s only gotten worse since then. If somebody engages in terrorism because he thinks it’s the will of Allah, you can’t call him a “Muslim terrorist.” Similarly, the needlessly blunt phrase “war on terror” becomes the more palatable “overseas contingency operations.” Control the language, control people’s patterns of thinking.

Just wait ’til you see next year’s AP Stylebook. In fact, we have exclusive behind the scenes video of the editors discussing what it will contain. Funny how it keeps getting thinner every year though…

Earlier: Dispatches from the Newspeak Dictionary: Everyone’s a Racist.

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