Words mean things. That I feel compelled to remind anyone of that is astounding. I could also point out that water is wet and the Detroit Tigers’ bullpen sucks; but those facts are so universally known that I would feel foolish repeating them. However, it seems like the mainstream media, every day, gives me a reason to remind people of the obvious power of words.
Yesterday, a man opened fire in Fresno-California, killing three people. According to multiple witness accounts, the suspect, Kori Ali Muhammad (pictured, left), yelled “Allahu Akbar.” That is the often-heard Arabic phrase for “God is great.” It has become a signature line attached to many attacks fueled by Islamic Terrorism. As a result, it has become more-or-less synonymous with Muslims committing acts of terror.
Here’s how the Associated Press reported the story:
Allow me to (again) point out the obvious. He didn’t say “God is great.” He yelled “Allahu Akbar.” Those are two different phrases. You can point out they mean the same things; but context and connotation are crucial. This would be like reporting that a group of people shouted, “Hey Hitler!” instead of “Heil Hitler.” The only reason you are translating it is because the original words carry a connotation that you are uncomfortable with. Methinks that if the shooter had shouted “Make America Great Again” while shooting Mexican nationals, the AP would have given very accurate quote attribution and NOT relied on a translation in order to obfuscate the shooter’s apparent motive.
The Associated Press is legendarily-adherent to their AP Stylebook. It is the guide they use to construct phraseology that accurately conveys information in an impartial manner. That is, of course, unless an accurate portrayal would upset their left-leaning narrative. Their Stylebook stipulates that when quotes are used, they must be EXACT quotes…not translations…not paraphrases. The AP violated their own rules in constructing a headline that intentionally played down the obvious Islamic connection to this terrible story. In their zeal to do so, they changed the entire context of the story.
This is not their first rodeo. Several years ago, the AP assigned more than a dozen reporters to fact-check a 30-page paper written by Sarah Palin….who was NOT a candidate for any office at the time. They even took the unprecedented step of asking the public to read the paper and point out any inconsistencies!
As someone who was involved in radio news for more than a quarter-century (most of them as an AP affiliate), I have lots of experience in how they have used the power of words to push a viewpoint. Several years ago, the Associated Press updated its Style Guide to dissuade reporters from using “illegal immigrant,” in favor of the blander “undocumented immigrant.” It was a policy that I, as News Director of two radio stations, gleefully ignored. It was for the same reason that I deep-sixed their policy of calling terrorists “insurgents” or “militants.” It was and is the nexus of a conscious effort by the AP to advance the orthodox liberal narrative. I refused to participate.
The thing is, I *still* count the Associated Press as one of the more neutral mainstream news sources out there. That has nothing to do with the way they’ve been reporting, but everything to do with the polarized nature of most other major news outlets. This is the so-called “Objective Media.” This is why Fox News is #1. This is why the Tea Party became a formidable political force. This is why the internet is teeming with conservative bloggers and pundits. The Mainstream Media has become an advocate for the progressive movement. I could flood you with hundreds of examples FAR more egregious than this one from the AP.
That’s bad enough. What’s worse if that they still act as though they are the “Fourth Estate.” The Guardians of truth. Nothing could be FURTHER from the truth.
About an hour after I posted this, the Associated Press issued this clarification.
Nearly 20 hours after the original tweet. Common sense dictates that this did NOT come about because some editor suddenly discovered their “error.” No…they finally were called out by enough people so that they felt compelled to save face.
Thanks…but you’re too late.