Back when I was covering President George W. Bush, the Associated Press – long held aloft as an unbiased news source – made an extraordinary decision.
The worldwide wire service decided that no, there aren’t two sides to every story. There is one correct side and, the AP decided, the news agency would just present that. For instance, climate change is settled science, so anyone who offers their views — or, God forbid, real data — to refute that should be shunned.
Just last year, CBS News anchor Lester Holt laid out what news coverage is nowadays.
“The idea that we should always give two sides equal weight and merit does not reflect the world we find ourselves in,” he said as he was awarded the Edward R. Murrow Lifetime Achievement Award in Journalism from Washington State University.
Holt acknowledged the fact that a departure from the objectivity once represented in journalism could “reinforce negative sentiment some hold to journalists.” “That we have had to be more direct in our language in recent times only speaks to the volume and gravity of particular statements and claims,” Holt said.
And the AP is making sure it controls the language it delivers to its mostly liberal readers.
“Vanderbilt to review gender-affirming surgeries for minors,” the AP headlined a story earlier this month. No, the wire service didn’t use the term “mutilation of children,” instead it is “gender affirming.”
“Officials at Vanderbilt University Medical Center announced Friday that they are pausing gender-affirming surgeries for minors in order to review their practices,” the article said. In all, the piece used the term seven times.
Euphemisms are the worst in general but especially awful when they replace a term for a horrible procedure. Years ago, pro-abortion advocates took issue with the term “partial-birth abortion.” Technically known as “intact dilation and extraction” — because the baby is partially delivered before being murdered — the AP decided to call that “late-term abortion.”
The AP has played language policeman before to aid President Joe Biden. When Biden didn’t want to call the current situation at the U.S.-Mexico border a “crisis,” the AP announced in 2021 that it wouldn’t use the word, either.
Top AP officials told its 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 in March 2021 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, The Daily Wire reported.
“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.”
And of course the AP banned the term “illegal alien,” opting for the euphemistic “undocumented migrant” (that means there’s a foreigner in the U.S. who didn’t emigrate according to the law, which makes them an “illegal alien”).
Biden on Monday codified the language, saying it was wrong for states to ban “gender-affirming care” and declaring people should enter public restrooms based on their gender identity.
As the economy implodes, Biden sat down for an interview with a small podcast, taking a question from 25-year-old transgender actress Dylan Mulvaney if states should have the right to “ban gender-affirming healthcare.”
“I don’t think any state or anybody should have the right to do that—as a moral question and as a legal question. I just think it’s wrong,” Biden said.
The views expressed in this piece are the author’s own and do not necessarily represent those of The Daily Wire.
Joseph Curl has covered politics for 35 years, including 12 years as White House correspondent for a national newspaper. He was also the a.m. editor of the Drudge Report for four years. Send tips to [email protected] and follow him on Twitter @josephcurl.