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President Joe Biden doesn’t want to call the current situation at the U.S.-Mexico border a “crisis,” and one major news organization has announced it won’t use the word, either.
The Associated Press has told it reporters and editors to avoid using the word “crisis,” saying the border is not in crisis. For the record, Webster’s Dictionary defines “crisis” as “an unstable or crucial time or state of affairs in which a decisive change is impending.”
In an internal memo last week, titled “From the Standards Center: A note about the current increase in border entrances,” AP Vice President and Editor-at-Large for Standards John Daniszewski said the border situation doesn’t meet that standard, according to The Washington Examiner.
“The current events in the news – a sharp increase in the arrival of unaccompanied minors – is a problem for border officials, a political challenge for Biden and a dire situation for many migrants who make the journey, but it does not fit the classic dictionary definition of a crisis,” the memo reads.
“Therefore,” it adds, “we should avoid, or at least, be highly cautious, about referring to the present situation as a crisis on our own, although we may quote others using that language.”
In a later blog post, Daniszewski elaborated.
“The current event in the news — a sharp increase in the arrival of unaccompanied minors — is a problem for border officials, a political challenge for Biden and a dire situation for many migrants who make the journey, but it does not fit the classic dictionary definition of a crisis, which is: ‘turning point in the course of anything; decisive or crucial time, stage, or event,’ OR ‘a time of, or a state of affairs involving, great danger or trouble, often one which threatens to result in unpleasant consequences [an economic crisis].'”
“If using the word ‘crisis,’ we need to ask of what and to whom. There could be a humanitarian crisis if the numbers grow so large that officials cannot house the migrants safely or in sanitary conditions. Migrants may face humanitarian crises in their home countries. In theory, there could be a security or a border crisis if officials lose control of the border, allowing people to enter unencumbered in large numbers. But, in general, avoid hyperbole in calling anything a crisis or an emergency,” he wrote.
The AP editor also said don’t use the word “surge.”
“Because migration is such a hot-button issue, we also should try to avoid imagery conjuring war or natural disaster, which could portray migrants as a negative, harmful influence. Avoid emotive words like onslaught, tidal wave, flood, inundation, surge, invasion, army, march, sneak and stealth,” Daniszewski wrote.
“Rather, let’s be as neutral as possible while backing up our characterizations with numbers and facts. So, for example, Biden is contending with the largest number of migrant encounters at the border since a four-month streak in 2019. It is the among the largest number of unaccompanied children encountered at the border on record,” he wrote.