Video: Leno’s shot at the AP, Democrats, and immigration reform

posted at 10:41 am on April 3, 2013 by Ed Morrissey

Obligatory, really, after the exceedingly silly public statement from the wire service yesterday. Newsbusters has the grab from last night’s Tonight Show with Jay Leno, in which Leno manages shots at the Associated Press, Democrats, and the rush for an immigration-reform bill in less than 30 seconds, including the applause:

“And in a groundbreaking move, the Associated Press, the largest news gathering outlet in the world, will no longer use the term ‘illegal immigrant.’ That is out. No longer ‘illegal immigrant.’ They will now use the phrase ‘undocumented Democrat.’ That is the newest – ‘undocumented Democrat.’”

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?

The Boss Emeritus blasts the AP in her column today, scoffing, “No wonder the Mainstream Media is dying”:

As I told Daily Caller reporter Matthew Boyle at the time, the idea that “undocumented workers” and “undocumented immigrants” are more objective labels than “illegal immigrants” is complete and utter nonsense. The euphemisms that mainstream “journalists” favor are far more politically loaded than the ones they’re trying to replace.

It’s a farce to call someone an “undocumented immigrant” whose pockets are overflowing with fake, fraudulent documents — and that is usually the case with many of the suspected illegal immigrants featured in AP stories. (Moreover, it is inaccurate to call someone whose employment history, criminal record and welfare status are unknown an undocumented “worker.”)

At the time, the AP agreed. AP’s deputy standards editor David Minthorn told Boyle three short years ago: “The AP Stylebook created its entry on ‘illegal immigrant’ in 2004, in response to renewed debate over border security and the enforcement of immigration laws after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. Together, the terms describe a person who resides in a country unlawfully by residency or citizenship requirements. Illegal immigrant … is accurate and neutral for news stories.”

So what changed? “Journalist” Kathleen Carroll, AP’s executive editor, attributes the move to the “evolving” English language. I attribute it to the “evolving” transformation of once-neutral news organizations into brazenly transparent satellite lobbying outfits for the left. It’s not media bias that’s the problem, of course. It’s the sanctimonious pretense of objectivity to which these alleged practitioners of journalism cling.

Maybe “undocumented Democrats” is a term that could apply to the media, too.


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