AP violating own style guidelines to refer to Michael Brown as “teenager”?

posted at 8:41 pm on August 18, 2014 by Allahpundit

Question mark in the headline because the AP Stylebook’s not available online, so I can’t confirm that it’s true. But I’m going to trust Eddie Scarry:

The Associated Press Stylebook states that in reports referring to a person’s age, the figure for the age number should be used. It also states that reports should “use man or woman for individuals 18 and older.”

Why, then, are AP reports on the shooting of 18-year-old Michael Brown solely referring to him as a “teen” and “teenager”?

“Don’t know’ if Missouri teen shot with hands up,” reads one AP headline from Monday. “County autopsy: Unarmed teen shot 6 to 8 times,” reads another.

And an excerpt from yet another AP story, emphasis added: “Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon lifted a curfew but ordered the National Guard to step in to help restore order. Holder over the weekend ordered a federal medical examiner to perform a third autopsy on the teenager, Michael Brown.”

The story Scarry cites at the end no longer has the word “teenager” in it. It now reads “ordered a federal medical examiner to perform a third autopsy on Brown” and refers to Brown elsewhere as an “unarmed black man.” But this story from earlier this afternoon still refers to Brown as a “teenager,” as does this one from yesterday. It’s an odd rule that you shouldn’t refer to someone as a teen who is, in point of fact, a teen, but you know why they have it. When most people hear “teenager,” they think of a minor, not someone who’s legally considered an adult, and whether the victim of a shooting is a child or an adult does affect the moral weight assigned to it by the reader. That’s Scarry’s point — obviously, if they’re breaking their own rule, they’re doing it to put a thumb on the moral scale of how tragic Brown’s death is. Listing his age as 18 and then following normal style doesn’t quite go far enough in leading the reader to the conclusion they want him to draw.

Ace wrote a longer post today, inspired by Greg Gutfeld, about some reporters’ habit of turning the inscrutable complexity of human behavior, especially in high-pressure situations, into too-clean narratives for their audience. Bingo:

Greg Gutfeld mentioned a New York Times reporter who seemed to object to reporting that the coroner’s report that Michael Brown had marijuana in his system at the time of death, by asking, “Why does it matter that he had marijuana in his system?”

Gutfeld answered: It matters because it’s a fact

Incidentally, Gutfeld might have added:

And if the toxicology report on the cop had shown the presence of drugs or alcohol, that would matter, right?

The narrative is “Wilson killed Brown unjustifiably.” Facts that serve that narrative are considered relevant, facts that don’t, aren’t. If Wilson had been high, it’d be big news because (a) it would show that he’s willing to break the law, even while on duty, and (b) more importantly, it would mean that his judgment might have been impaired in confronting Brown. That serves the “unjustifiable” narrative. The same could be true for Brown, though — if he was willing to break the law in using weed and strong-arming that convenience store clerk, and if his judgment was impaired by the drug, maybe he really did go for Wilson’s gun during their confrontation. putting Wilson in fear for his life. (Why Wilson would still be in fear for his life with Brown 20-30 feet away and unarmed is another question.) I’m skeptical that marijuana would make someone much more aggressive than they’d otherwise be, but Wilson wouldn’t have gotten that benefit of the doubt if he was the one who’d been high. The narrative determines which facts are relevant, and how they’re presented.

Brown’s “teenager” status per the AP Stylebook is a relatively benign illustration of that but some examples are more malignant. Everyone understands why the Times cooked up the unorthodox term “white Hispanic” to describe George Zimmerman: They were pushing a “white man values black life cheaply” narrative but got tripped up by the inconvenient fact that Zimmerman himself was a minority by virtue of his Latino ancestry, and so rather than jettison the narrative, they concocted “white Hispanic” to keep it intact. There may be, and probably will be, more examples of narrative-building before the Brown case is over. Via Breitbart, here’s Gutfeld.


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“Michael was a rather large child.” – Some guy just now on Nancy Grace.

myiq2xu on August 18, 2014 at 8:43 PM

Like all things these days the style guide only applies to white male conservatives.

Skywise on August 18, 2014 at 8:44 PM

The media’s had this problem for a long, long time in a variety of situations. Talking about abortion? She’s a 14 year old woman, capable of making her own decisions! Talking about rape? It was a helpless 21 year old girl.

Whatever term the media needs to craft their narrative, that’s the one they’ll use.

Stoic Patriot on August 18, 2014 at 8:46 PM

The narrative is “Wilson killed Brown unjustifiably.”

How about redefining the narrative?

So far from what we know, this is a perfect storm of errors in judgment

Michael Brown shoplifting and assaulting the clerk

The clerk confronting Brown (I finally understand why so many retail establishments have a “NO confrontations policy”)

Brown and Jones walking down the middle of the street AND not getting on the sidewalk when directed.

Brown getting into a physical altercation with Wilson while he is in the SUV.

Brown running away

Wilson exiting his vehicle – THIS is when SOP is to call & WAIT for backup, especially for a 6′-4″, 292 pound assailant.

EVERYTHING done by the Ferguson Police Department Administration

At least half the decisions of State Police Captain Jones

Governor Nixon – seriously Missouri voters, Seriously?

.
They had another forensics ME on CNN earlier. The lack of powder residue on the head indicated at least 18″ – 24″ from end of the pistol to Brown’s head – possibly more based on the ME’s experience.

(Anyone who thinks I am trying to excuse Michael Brown – re-read the list of errors above)

It appears the distance from the body to the cruiser is in excess of 40 feet. There have been no statements regarding separation distance at the time the shots were fired.

Officer Wilson is in an “adrenaline dump” situation when he exists the cruiser. Fine motor control is GONE. You literally experience “tunnel vision” with regard to your adversary – your survival may depend on it.

In this case, your adversary is MUCH bigger than average and significantly larger than you.

This will distort your spatial perceptions.

Officer Wilson MAY have opened fire at a distance that would normally recommend holding his fire due to the items listed above. When Brown turned back towards him, he intensifies his focus and the two head shots are released as a “double tap”. The second headshot is instantly fatal.

Officer Wilson and the Ferguson Police Department are faced with the death of an unarmed perpetrator. Wilson in video is looking at a scene he literally does not understand – even though he was part of it.

The Ferguson Police administration does not how to explain a shooting that will have so many questions raised … and so starts slow rolling any information coming out of the department.

Michael Brown makes a series of bad decisions and pays for them with his life.

Officer Wilson makes ONE bad decision – and it will haunt him for the rest of his life.

The Obama Administration has spent SIX years polarizing this country and WE ALL, regardless of race, get to reap the whirlwind.

PolAgnostic on August 18, 2014 at 8:48 PM

I watched liberal talkies trying to justify robbing cigars from a Quik-E-Mart and assaulting the store employee. I mean, who hasn’t done that? The scamp!

Marcus on August 18, 2014 at 8:48 PM

Brown had just finished choir practice and was on his way to volunteer at an old folks home when a KKK guy decided to execute him. Dispute that and you’re a racist.

rbj on August 18, 2014 at 8:50 PM

From the 2013 Style Book (which I took home by complete accident!) — under “youth:

Applicable to boys and girls from age 13 until 18th birthday. Use man or woman for individuals 18 and older.”

lizzieillinois on August 18, 2014 at 8:52 PM

Yep. I have an older AP style guide, and this is the entry for “youth.”

Applicable to boys and girls from age 13 until 18th birthday. Use man or woman for individuals 18 and older.

CJ on August 18, 2014 at 8:52 PM

By that definition, Billy The Kid was a teenager, too.

formwiz on August 18, 2014 at 8:52 PM

I het that bullet that went through the top of his gorilla acting skull and exited out his jaw totally wrecked his buzz, huh?

Not even time to enjoy bleeding out. Scream for mommy, etc.

wolly4321 on August 18, 2014 at 8:42 PM

One of the more honest racists here shows himself again.

Aquateen Hungerforce on August 18, 2014 at 8:53 PM

I thought “unarmedteenager” was his first name or rap name and Mike was his middle name.

Buddahpundit on August 18, 2014 at 8:53 PM

I laugh at people on Facebook who use some picture of the thug when must’ve no more than 12 years old as though that what age he was.

SouthernGent on August 18, 2014 at 8:54 PM

Q: What do you call metrosexuals like Allah and Ace who don’t see a 6′ 4″ 300# violent felon charging at them as a threat?

A: Dead meat.

For a couple of confirmed wussies, you guys sure are judgmental – or is it just gullible to the Crump narrative?

Are you so stupid that you don’t realize the guy is a professional liar and scam artist like his partner in crime, Al Sharptongue? And that anything either of them say on ANY subject should be assumed to be false by any rational person?

Adjoran on August 18, 2014 at 8:56 PM

Kinda like how a “fetus” is aborted, but an “unborn child” dies when a pregnant woman is hit by a drunk driver.

Rational Thought on August 18, 2014 at 8:56 PM

When the Obama Administration is giving exclusive stories about major US foreign policy decisions to back water, podunk, POLITICALLY DRIVEN websites like Think Progress and there’s nary a peep from the media OR HERE – You can see why the AP would moderate their style guidelines to stay favorable with El Presidente.

Skywise on August 18, 2014 at 8:57 PM

Of course, the AP would refer to him as a MAN who has the right to VOTE.

ladyingray on August 18, 2014 at 9:00 PM

Aquateen Hungerforce on August 18, 2014 at 8:53 PM

Please tell us in your own simple words why the Ferguson pig decided to murder the young adult victim.

Del Dolemonte on August 18, 2014 at 9:00 PM

If the media and race hustlers packed up and went home, the “protests” would stop.
The local shop owners would protect their businesses.
And, the community of Ferguson could try and regain some semblance of respect back.
Instead, you gave the fat rat coming in to join the circus.

HornetSting on August 18, 2014 at 9:00 PM

The terminology is that of the Hamas/Gaza speak,
as there were only “Children” targetted!!

Ya, infant/child/young teenager, a huh!!

canopfor on August 18, 2014 at 9:00 PM

I believe the full term is “unarmed black teen.” And it’s obvious why: that suggests an innocent, harmless boy who is not full-grown.

They would love to refer to him as a “an unarmed black boy,” but they’re afraid “boy” might be taken as racist.

There Goes the Neighborhood on August 18, 2014 at 9:01 PM

VorDaj on August 18, 2014 at 8:54 PM

Sadly, many in the conservative alternative media – even many in the “conspiracy crowd” have bought in to cultural marxism’s anti-white narrative. Still like coming around for all the pop-cultural references and snark, but for real (domestic) news I usually go to:

http://topconservativenews.com/

abobo on August 18, 2014 at 9:01 PM

Can we please get a thread about something else.

gophergirl on August 18, 2014 at 9:03 PM

Ya know,…this all got started up, by the police acted stupidly
with Professer Gates,

er,…as Hopey framed that, as Racist!!!

canopfor on August 18, 2014 at 9:03 PM

It’s weird that I was reluctant to listen to one side over the other until things like this, pig/racist/execution/etc., (the policeman needs to) “pay his due”, and all the other similar things began surfacing here.
 
Wouldn’t it be odd if aquateen is actually pro-law enforcement and is using those terms simply because he recognizes that those types of comments tend to make moral people shy away from that association?

rogerb on August 18, 2014 at 9:06 PM

Please tell us in your own simple words why the Ferguson pig decided to murder the young adult victim.

Del Dolemonte on August 18, 2014 at 9:00 PM

That seems like an honest question so…

Because he knew he could get away with it. Simple as that.

Aquateen Hungerforce on August 18, 2014 at 9:12 PM

But, Michael Brown was a very innocent, very childlike 18 year old man, don’t cha know.

http://a.disquscdn.com/uploads/mediaembed/images/1235/52/original.jpg

Pork-Chop on August 18, 2014 at 9:14 PM

Aquateen Hungerforce on August 18, 2014 at 8:53 PM

Please tell us in your own simple words why the Ferguson pig decided to murder the young adult victim.

Del Dolemonte on August 18, 2014 at 9:00 PM

I question why our troll cross-posted a quote from another thread, in order to slander a regular here. Rather than reply to the subject of this thread.

And, Del, you know he doesn’t want to participate in a reasoned discussion.

Alien on August 18, 2014 at 9:15 PM

That seems like an honest question so…

Because he knew he could get away with it. Simple as that.

Aquateen Hungerforce on August 18, 2014 at 9:12 PM

Really? I think that’s why the young adult victim tried to murder the pig.

Skywise on August 18, 2014 at 9:15 PM

Five videos back to back and not one of the was Gutfeld.

Cindy Munford on August 18, 2014 at 9:16 PM

According to Fox News this evening, this was the first police shooting in Ferguson ever (I did not verify this) which if true makes the routine white on black racisim/police brutality narative even less plausible.

It does seem a little odd that they can’t refer to an 18 year old as a teenager, but if they have a rule book, they should be consistent.

And I wish certain HotAir bloggers would stop pretending a 300 pound young male charging you was not a significant physical threat.

talkingpoints on August 18, 2014 at 9:17 PM

Aquateen Hungerforce on August 18, 2014 at 8:53 PM

Please tell us in your own simple words why the Ferguson pig decided to murder the young adult victim.

Del Dolemonte on August 18, 2014 at 9:00 PM

I’d also like to see Aquateen’s explanation, so we common folk can understand. I mean, going all the way back to watching Perry Mason in courtroom, I learned that murderers always have to have a motive to murder someone.

So please educate us, Aquateen, what was the cop’s motive to murder this young man? We’re just trying to understand. Surely you know, and just don’t want to tell us?

Harbingeing on August 18, 2014 at 9:18 PM

I’m as interested as the next person in knowing the circumstances of the shooting, but if we’re being honest here I can’t muster any sympathy for the kind of predatory bully I see in the video roughing up a shopkeeper to steal cigarellos. Whether the shooting was justified or not, a 6’4″ 300# criminal who displays that behavior at 18 years of age is a good bet to graduate to murder in the not too distant future. His decisions that day may very well have saved the lives of many future victims.

SoRight on August 18, 2014 at 9:18 PM

And now that I allowed it to play once, it is on autoplay! Ahhhhhhh!

Cindy Munford on August 18, 2014 at 9:18 PM

I’m surprised Saint Michael lived as many years as he did given his public relations skills etc.

viking01 on August 18, 2014 at 9:20 PM

The Associated Press @AP · 5m

VIDEO: Independent autopsy reveals Michael Brown wounds http://apne.ws/Yrn9ik

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E_JmrJqezTc&feature=youtu.be&list=UU52X5wxOL_s5yw0dQk7NtgA

canopfor on August 18, 2014 at 9:21 PM

If he was a teenager then why are there bottles of booze at the makeshift memorial, shouldn’t it be juice boxes?

Bishop on August 18, 2014 at 9:21 PM

The privileged AP reporters and editors are racist.

They might just as well have called him “boy”.

forest on August 18, 2014 at 9:23 PM

That seems like an honest question so…

Because he knew he could get away with it. Simple as that.

Aquateen Hungerforce on August 18, 2014 at 9:12 PM

He decided all of a sudden after 6 years as a police officer to kill someone with the guy’s buddy present in broad dailight, in the middle of the street because he knew he could get away with it. No other reason. Not he hated blacks, or he hated criminals, just for the fun experience.

Thinking isn’t your strong suit, is it?

talkingpoints on August 18, 2014 at 9:23 PM

That seems like an honest question so…

Because he knew he could get away with it. Simple as that.

Aquateen Hungerforce on August 18, 2014 at 9:12 PM

Well, it all makes sense now. Broad daylight, middle of the day, middle of the street, in front of dozens of witnesses. Who wouldn’t think they could get away with murdering somebody under those circumstances?

Harbingeing on August 18, 2014 at 9:23 PM

Can we please get a thread about something else.

gophergirl on August 18, 2014 at 9:03 PM

I’m getting a new bike this week.

Bishop on August 18, 2014 at 9:23 PM

If he was a teenager then why are there bottles of booze at the makeshift memorial, shouldn’t it be juice boxes?

Bishop on August 18, 2014 at 9:21 PM

Bishop:

Good lord, if parents want to put booze in the kids
baby-bottle,…who are we to judge!!
(snark):)

canopfor on August 18, 2014 at 9:25 PM

I’m getting a new bike this week.

Bishop on August 18, 2014 at 9:23 PM

Ferguson’s prices can’t be beat…

viking01 on August 18, 2014 at 9:26 PM

Ferguson’s prices can’t be beat…

viking01 on August 18, 2014 at 9:26 PM

Gives a whole new meaning to “fire sale”

Skywise on August 18, 2014 at 9:28 PM

Broad daylight, middle of the day, middle of the street, in front of dozens of witnesses. Who wouldn’t think they could get away with murdering somebody under those circumstances?

Harbingeing on August 18, 2014 at 9:23 PM

Killary in Benghazi ?

viking01 on August 18, 2014 at 9:28 PM

Ferguson’s prices can’t be beat…

viking01 on August 18, 2014 at 9:26 PM

Gives a whole new meaning to “fire sale”

Skywise on August 18, 2014 at 9:28 PM

I’m producing a new film drama:

“Loot Me In St. Louis”

viking01 on August 18, 2014 at 9:29 PM

Bishop on August 18, 2014 at 9:23 PM

What are you getting.

Cindy Munford on August 18, 2014 at 9:34 PM

’05 edition. Don’t know if there is a newer one floating around. Too lazy to dig: http://www.quarterboundpress.com/qbp/frequently_asked_questions_files/AP%20StyleGuide%202005.pdf

youth Applicable to boys
and girls from age 13 until 18th
birthday. Use man or

woman

for
individuals 18 and older. p.277

davidk on August 18, 2014 at 9:35 PM

Autoplay.

Lolo on August 18, 2014 at 9:35 PM

On ABCnews tonite, w/ Diane Sawyer, no mention of the robbery video, the cop’s swollen face, the bullet fired in the cop car … but she DID mention that Michael Brown was on his way to his grandmother’s from the store.

/I am NOT making that up. She really said that. And I do believe she said unarmed teen as well.

LashRambo on August 18, 2014 at 9:35 PM

Five videos back to back and not one of the was Gutfeld.
Cindy Munford on August 18, 2014 at 9:16 PM

I appreciated the Thunderbirds video! Very informative, that was…

Newtie and the Beauty on August 18, 2014 at 9:36 PM

ooops woman should be woman

davidk on August 18, 2014 at 9:36 PM

Can we please get a thread about something else.

gophergirl on August 18, 2014 at 9:03 PM

I’m getting a new bike this week.

Bishop on August 18, 2014 at 9:23 PM

Schwinn or Huffy?

Alien on August 18, 2014 at 9:42 PM

but she DID mention that Michael Brown was on his way to his grandmother’s from the store.

/I am NOT making that up. She really said that. And I do believe she said unarmed teen as well.

LashRambo on August 18, 2014 at 9:35 PM

To have cherry pie, cocoa, and visit with mom n ems.

arnold ziffel on August 18, 2014 at 9:44 PM

Neither, some Chinese made thing from Walmart. It’s even got a bell.

Bishop on August 18, 2014 at 9:44 PM

Like all things these days the style guide only applies to white male Christian conservatives.

Skywise on August 18, 2014 at 8:44 PM

FIFY

The Notorious G.O.P on August 18, 2014 at 9:47 PM

Bishop’s new bike. He gonna give us alla ride: http://ts1.mm.bing.net/th?&id=HN.608004414016194648&w=303&h=300&c=0&pid=1.9&rs=0&p=0

davidk on August 18, 2014 at 9:55 PM

Neither, some Chinese made thing from Walmart. It’s even got a bell.

Bishop on August 18, 2014 at 9:44 PM

Be sure the dropouts (what the rear wheel bolts into) are heavy and solid.

Also test the seat to see if it’s ‘nads-friendly and tolerable for more than a few minutes. IOW not hard plastic.

viking01 on August 18, 2014 at 9:55 PM

At least on the linux version of Firefox, when I have a tab open to the AP page (“News from the Associated Press”) like this one for example, the title displayed as the tab name says “News From The A$$…” (dollar signs substituted for obvious reasons).

Considering Mozilla’s politics, it’s surely not intentional, but I consider it a happy accident.

bofh on August 18, 2014 at 10:24 PM

There is nothing in the 2014 AP Style Guide about teenager. It is a common usage fro a male or female 13-18.

The AP Style Guide does have standards for NAMING of youths. Children 15 or younger you use their first name on second reference, over 15 use their last name on second reference (as you do with adults).

The guide recommends using the word “child” or “children” over the word “kid” or “kids.”

Walter L. Newton on August 18, 2014 at 10:30 PM

And to further clarify. If you are going to use the word “youth,” then it is used for a person up to age 17. But teenager is still common usage for ages 13-18.

It takes more than a cursory knowledge of AP style to understand all the variations and I have even found the guide to contradict itself in a few places.

In book form, it is almost 500 pages thick.

I have the 2014 book, but I use a plug in for WORD that checks AP style on the fly while I am composing an article. The plug in is much easier than flipping through the numerous cross-references in the book.

Walter L. Newton on August 18, 2014 at 10:39 PM

Schwinn or Huffy?

Alien on August 18, 2014 at 9:42 PM

BIG WHEEL!!!

Skywise on August 18, 2014 at 10:49 PM

AP: I’m skeptical that marijuana would make someone much more aggressive than they’d otherwise be

It’s not that marijuana would have made Brown more aggressive that is at issue. The dope may have clouded Brown’s judgment and/or made him more paranoid about why the cop stopped him in the street.

onlineanalyst on August 18, 2014 at 10:55 PM

I read all the articles and comments all the time and lately I’ve noticed people making rude comments toward the writers (Adjoran at 8:56). What’s up with that? I don’t like it.

Annie21LA on August 19, 2014 at 12:06 AM

I read all the articles and comments all the time and lately I’ve noticed people making rude comments toward the writers (Adjoran at 8:56). What’s up with that? I don’t like it.

Annie21LA on August 19, 2014 at 12:06 AM

Writers here are big boys and girls, they can handle feedback.

slickwillie2001 on August 19, 2014 at 12:12 AM

Stylebook or not, an 18yo is a teenager to me. In fact, a younger person is a “kid” to me all the way up until they’re 28. Unless they have a house, a kid and a wife or husband by that time.

eh on August 19, 2014 at 1:37 AM

Sounds like AP is using the style guidelines for “adult websites” instead… where “teens” can be 18 or 19.

TMOverbeck on August 19, 2014 at 8:03 AM

This whole tragedy has been a learning experience for me.

I’ve learned it is ok to call a black 18 year old a boy without worrying about being called a racist.

I’ve learned that there are still people stuck in the 60s mindset that the arming the police is a mistake.

I’ve learned that the police feel they can shoot unarmed blacks without worrying about consequences or even feeling bad about it.

I’ve learned that black communities think they’re entitled to riot and destroy their own neighborhoods.

Who knew all this?

katiejane on August 19, 2014 at 8:08 AM

I’m surprised that they aren’t using a photo of the strong arm robber when he was 10 years old, like these faux journalist narrative pushing hustlers did with Trizzzayvon

Whitey Ford on August 19, 2014 at 8:14 AM

And don’t forget that all the MSM reported that the unarmed teen was “gunned down.” Pretty inflamatory reporting from the start. There’s a big difference in perception if one reports, “shot in a confrontation with police” instead of “gunned down in the street.”

JayVee on August 19, 2014 at 8:26 AM

Is it possible that when the officer confronted Michael Brown he thought that the officer was going to arrest him for the robbery he just committed? Brown has no idea why the officer is asking him to come to him. I heard that he asked him to the sidewalk. Why would he not just go and be done with it? It’s not like it isn’t a simple request.

We have the audio of a guy that said that Brown rushed the officer, which Brown’s attorney just said he questions the validity of the source since it hasn’t been vetted, and that it comes from “this other news outlet” and for them to use it with the rules being different since it was “a little black kid”. He also keeps saying that Brown was executed by the officer. Race-baiters

Patriot Vet on August 19, 2014 at 9:53 AM

Please tell us in your own simple words why the Ferguson pig decided to murder the young adult victim.

Del Dolemonte on August 18, 2014 at 9:00 PM

Because this would-be Offensive Lineman was about to ram him; had already tried to take his gun, and would probably have Mumeed Jamal’ed him. (Philadelphia cop killer, who stood over his victim and shot him multiple times in front of witnesses, and then confessed. Sentenced to death about 30 years ago, but still alive. Now being hailed by the Left as an innocent hero, railroaded by The System.)

Oh, and the pot in his system? Pot tends to make one paranoid (so I’m told), and given that he had just robbed a store he already had cause to think the police might be after him. Hence his pre-emptive attack on the Police Officer who’d stopped him.

ReggieA on August 19, 2014 at 3:42 PM