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The PJ Tatler

Bryan Preston


September 30, 2011 - 3:41 pm

Rebecca Aguilar…remember her? Former Dallas TV reporter? She ambushed an elderly Army veteran who had fended off some crooks in his own home and business, asking him “Are you a trigger happy person?” As I wrote at the time:

His crime: Defending his property against thieves who repeatedly broke in and stole from him. After more than 40 calls to police didn’t stop the burglaries at his home and place of business (they’re the same place), he shot and killed two burglars in the span of three weeks. Because they were breaking into his home with impunity. Fortunately, common sense and the laws of Texas back up Mr. Walton’s right to take the actions that he took. Evidently, that’s not good enough for journalist Rebecca Aguilar, so she ambushed him.

She got fired for that, then lost the lawsuit over her firing, but she’s back and in the good graces of her fellow Prog activists in the journalism trade.

The Society of Professional Journalists, hearing an emotional plea from Rebecca Aguilar, a member of SPJ and of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists, voted Tuesday to recommend that newsrooms discontinue using the terms “illegal alien” and “illegal immigrant.” The resolution from the 7,800-member organization says only courts can decide when a person has committed an illegal act.

Aguilar argued that using those words insulted Latinos and all those who are or had once been in the United States illegally. She used the example of her mother, who became a “proud American” in 1980. Her mother felt insulted “every time she heard that word,” Aguilar said of the phrase “illegal alien.”

“She turned the tide,” the new president-elect, Sonny Albarado, projects editor of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette in Little Rock, said of Aguilar. “She delivered the statement with such passion. After that, there was just a great overwhelming outpouring of support.” Aguilar, a freelance broadcaster in Dallas, is a board member of NAHJ and of the Fort Worth SPJ chapter, was an SPJ “diversity fellow,” and is a new member of SPJ’s Diversity Committee.

There’s more political correctness in all that than you can shake a stick at. But if the SPJ follows through with the new groupthink, then you will not hear the phrase “illegal alien,” or even the watered down “illegal immigrant,” in their reports. Which makes them less factual than they otherwise might be. Accuracy, publicly slaughtered on the altars of emotionalism and identity politics. Here’s what the resolution says:

“WHEREAS, the Society of Professional Journalists Code of Ethics urges all journalists to be ‘honest, fair and courageous in gathering, reporting and interpreting information’ and;

“WHEREAS, mainstream news reports are increasingly using the politically charged phrase ‘illegal immigrant’ and the more offensive and bureaucratic ‘illegal alien’ to describe undocumented immigrants, particularly Latinos and;

“WHEREAS, a fundamental principle embedded in our U.S. Constitution is that everyone (including non-citizens) is considered innocent of any crime until proven guilty in a court of law and;

“WHEREAS, this constitutional doctrine, often described as ‘innocent-until-proven-guilty,’ applies not just to U.S. Citizens but to everyone in the United States and;

“WHEREAS, only the court system, not reporters and editors, can decide when a person has committed an illegal act and;

“WHEREAS, the National Association of Hispanic Journalists is also concerned with the increasing use of pejorative and potentially inaccurate terms to describe the estimated 11 million undocumented people living in the United States;

“THEREFORE, be it resolved that the Society of Professional Journalists convention of delegates: urges journalists and style guide editors to stop the use of illegal alien and encourage continuous discussion and re-evaluation of the use of illegal immigrant in news stories.”

Illegal alien is a legal term, describing an individual’s status in the eyes of the law. It’s only become a charged term because people like Aguilar have made it one. The next step after this will probably to go after anyone who actually does use the now verboten terms. See: Andrew Bolt, Australian convict.

As for this “Diversity Committee,” does it include any conservatives?

Bryan Preston has been a leading conservative blogger and opinionator since founding his first blog in 2001. Bryan is a military veteran, worked for NASA, was a founding blogger and producer at Hot Air, was producer of the Laura Ingraham Show and, most recently before joining PJM, was Communications Director of the Republican Party of Texas.
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