AP slammed as 'Dem press center' for asking staff not to use 'crisis' to describe US-Mexico border fiasco

'True fact: the FEC now requires the AP to print, at the bottom of every story, 'I’m Joe Biden, and I approve this message,' wrote Ted Cruz


                            AP slammed as 'Dem press center' for asking staff not to use 'crisis' to describe US-Mexico border fiasco
Asylum seekers wait for bottled water at an immigrant camp on December 09, 2019 in Brownsville, Texas, across the river from the border town of Matamoros, Mexico (Getty Images)

The Associated Press has issued a memo to its staffers instructing them not to use the word "crisis" in describing the situation at the United States' southern border. The note, which was published on the AP's blog last week, calls to use "accurate and neutral language" in the outlet's coverage of what is happening at the border, while "giving proper context to border numbers." It was written by John Daniszewski, the Vice President for Standards at AP.

In the memo, Daniszewski acknowledges that there has been a rise in unaccompanied minors crossing the southwestern US border since President Joe Biden took office, following a monthly increase in border crossings during the last eight months of Donald Trump's presidency. The AP equates the current level of crossings in 2021 to the last upturn that occurred in mid-2019.

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Daniszewski then writes that while the uptick in the arrival of unaccompanied minors at the border is a "problem" for border officials, a "political challenge" for Biden, and a "dire situation" for the migrants who make the journey, the situation does not fit the "classic dictionary definition of crisis," which is "a turning point in the course of anything; decisive or crucial time, stage, or event,” or “a time of, or a state of affairs involving, great danger or trouble, often one which threatens to result in unpleasant consequences [an economic crisis].”

Asylum seekers walk back into Mexico after their immigration court hearing on December 09, 2019, in Brownsville, Texas, across the river from the border town of Matamoros, Mexico (Getty Images)

As such, Daniszewski writes, "Therefore, we should avoid, or at the least, be highly cautious, about referring to the present situation as a crisis on our own, although we may quote others using that language," and cautions staffers to "avoid hyperbole" in calling anything a crisis or an emergency.

Daniszewski also writes that staffers should avoid imagery conjuring war or natural disaster which could portray migrants as a negative, harmful influence, and to avoid "emotive words" like "onslaught, tidal wave, flood, inundation, surge, invasion, army, march, sneak and stealth."

Daniszewski concludes the note by writing, "We should explore widely all perspectives on this controversial issue. At the same time, we should be mindful of misinformation and think through which quotes we are using to ensure that we are not repeating factual misinformation in quotes and provide fact checking as part of the story."

The AP's new standard follows Biden's White House in its stance that what is happening at the US southern border is "not a crisis."

Migrants hold hands as they cross the border between the U.S. and Mexico at the Rio Grande river, on their way to enter El Paso, Texas, on May 20, 2019, as taken from Ciudad Juarez, Mexico (Getty Images)

The standard also follows a story by AP reporter Alan Framm on March 19 about the passing of two immigration bills by the House, when he wrote, "Both bills largely hit a wall of opposition from Republicans insistent that any immigration legislation bolster security at the Mexican border, which waves of migrants have tried breaching in recent weeks. The GOP has accused congressional Democrats of ignoring that problem and [President] Biden of fueling it by erasing former President Donald Trump’s restrictive policies, even though that surge began while Trump was still in office.”

The AP's move to change its style standard came under fire, with The New York Post editorial board writing, "The liberal media think if they change language, they change reality. They’ve gone full George Orwell."

Many took to social media to criticize the move, with one user pointing out that the AP used the word "crisis" while Trump was in office. Senator Ted Cruz wrote, "True fact: the FEC now requires the AP to print, at the bottom of every story, 'I’m Joe Biden, and I approve this message.'" Another wrote, "@AP REALLY? "Not a crisis?" Have you been down to border? AP just a Dem press center. Ya'll suck."



 



 



 

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