The Associated Press gets a lot of respect, largely because it is so large, it has so many newspaper members, it has lasted so long (since 1846) and has great branding.
Who hasn’t heard of the AP?
Because it has 1,400 member newspapers, plus broadcasters, to create conformity (and make it easier on copy editors), AP created a Stylebook, which is filled with suggestions on such things as capitalization, usage, abbreviations, and grammar.
They are suggestions, not demands, but they have become suspect in recent years.
Why is it suspect? Among its curious decisions, it has banned terms such as “illegal immigrant” — to avoid “demonizing” those known as “immigrants” — and decided that Black should be capitalized when talking about African-Americans. The color of no other racial group is so honored, so one may conclude that AP believes that Black Lives Matter … More.
Here is AP’s explanation: It will “capitalize Black in a racial, ethnic or cultural sense, conveying an essential and shared sense of history, identity and community among people who identify as Black, including those in the African diaspora and within Africa.”
AP believes, therefore, that American Blacks born and reared in, say, Birmingham, Alabama, have a shared sense of history and cultural identity with Ethiopians, Trinidadians, Hutus, Tutsis, and Pygmies.
Whereas (lower case) white people from, say, Massachusetts, and Manchester, have no such commonality of history, identity, and community.
If the former is true, so must be the latter, but AP doesn’t see it that way and that explains why I do not trust AP as an objective arbiter. Its explanation is, to steal from Joe Biden, malarkey. It is white guilt.
Here’s another example: “Use care in deciding which term best applies: A riot is a wild or violent disturbance of the peace involving a group of people. The term riot suggests uncontrolled chaos and pandemonium.”
It suggests a milder term, like “unrest,” might be better than “riot.” Better for whom?
[A quick check shows AP used “riot” for the January 6 right-wing unrest at the Capital, but used “unrest” to describe 100 days of left-wing Portland riots.]
“Focusing on rioting and property destruction rather than underlying grievance has been used in the past to stigmatize broad swaths of people protesting against lynching, police brutality or for racial justice, going back to the urban uprisings of the 1960s.”
Wow! The press “stigmatized” people engaged in “unrest,” such as arson, looting, and assault? I wish it did, but I don’t see that much. Who can forget MSNBC’s Ali Velshi describing a “protest” as “not unruly” with a building ablaze behind him? The guy needs a white cane and guide dog.
When AP graduated from whether we should write “10” or “ten,” and put on the woke badge of a social justice warrior, it exposed itself to the scorn of those who wished it would stick to the facts and keep political correctness out of reporting.