The language of the American media has just changed for the better, and the hosts of “Fox & Friends” just can’t seem to wrap their heads around it.
Reacting Wednesday to a decision by The Associated Press to strike the term “illegal immigrant” from their style guide, the conservative morning show hosts suggested that the nation’s largest wire service is secretly “cheerleading” Democrats’ efforts to reform America’s immigration system.
“It blows me away,” co-host Brian Kilmeade said. “That’s how you describe people who comes here illegally. I don’t understand trying to carve up those two words.”
“The reason, Brian, that The Associated Press style guide says don’t use illegal alien, illegal immigrant, illegal anything, is this is just the AP’s little way of doing some cheerleading, trying to push immigration reform in Congress,” co-host Steve Doocy replied.
Moments later Doocy expanded upon his theory that the AP is secretly lobbying for immigration reform, saying: “The Associated Press and others on the left feels that when you attach ‘illegal’ to somebody it puts a bias against them. So, take that out. You know, there’s a big reform movement in this country toward doing something about immigration reform, so this is a little cheerleading. I feel sorry for The Associated Press copywriters. I mean, they’re going to be scratching their heads, ‘Okay, what do we call that guy? Border jumper?’”
Amazingly, Doocy’s summary of why the AP made the call on “illegal immigrant” is roughly accurate: the wire service clearly explained that no person is illegal by their very nature, only actions are. Hence, it is inaccurate to describe a person as “illegal,” which the AP noted is not a neutral term due to its widespread use by conservatives as an insult. “Acceptable variations include living in or entering a country illegally or without legal permission,” the AP’s new style guide explains.
Despite the abundant clarity of that guidance, co-host Gretchen Carlson suggested at the end of Wednesday’s segment that she doesn’t understand how AP writers will even be able to compose a sentence anymore. “They might not be able to put those two words together in that exact way, illegal immigrant, but they’re still going to have to describe what the situation is,” she said.
Stephen C. Webster is the senior editor of Raw Story, and is based out of Austin, Texas. He previously worked as the associate editor of The Lone Star Iconoclast in Crawford, Texas, where he covered state politics and the peace movement’s resurgence at the start of the Iraq war. Webster has also contributed to publications such as True/Slant, Austin Monthly, The Dallas Business Journal, The Dallas Morning News, Fort Worth Weekly, The News Connection and others. Follow him on Twitter at @StephenCWebster.
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