Minden Press-Herald

Sep 30th

Still More Stuff

When it comes to erring on the side of silliness, some things are as obvious as a pig in a mosque.

For instance, the Associated Press, long considered a pillar of reporting and an example for journalists world wide, has been making changes in its style book. For those outside the business, the AP style book was once considered the Bible of how to present the who, what, when, where and why of news. Reporters were often called on the carpet for violating any of the "rules" set forth in the granite stones of the style book.

Now it seems the AP is making changes in its style book, not to assure more accuracy or less bias, but to reflect more politically correct phraseology. Obviously, the AP believes although words which may be linguistically accurate but offensive to any individual or group in this country, it's the words which need to be changed. Accuracy is an afterthought, if it ever was a forethought.

The newest combination of words going the way of the Unicorn is "illegal immigrant." Senior Vice President/Executive Editor Kathleen Carroll explained dropping the term is part of AP's on-going efforts to rid the stylebook of labels. "Illegal" will not be used to describe a person, she said, only an action. In AP-ese, a person can live in or immigrate to a country illegally, but they cannot be an illegal immigrant.

No word yet from the brain trust at AP on what will be used as a replacement phrase. We can't suggest "undocumented alien" since the alien word was considered offensive some time ago by the organization and the many advocates who champion those who are both undocumented and illegal. Perhaps "person or persons of citizenship other than the United States who managed to somehow avoid authorities and establish residence in this country" would work.

Another term which may fit the bill for those who enter the country by means other than legal might be acceptable to the AP, immigrant organizers and advocates, other major media mouthpieces and both political parties. Those who cross the borders without permission can be called "unregistered potential voters."

Although we cannot verify the rumor coming from AP headquarters, more changes are in the works. A group called the Yoda Commission is fine-tuning the language, speak as we even.

We wonder if the AP style book still holds a place of reverence in newsrooms across the country. Silly change after silly change in the name of political correctness rather than correctness may have moved some editors to look beyond the pages of a book and seek, instead, to convince reporters to write as we speak.

YHO's first experience with The Book might be the answer to how reporters report what they know to those who want to know. My first editor was a truly gifted individual who followed his own rules. YHO went into his office to ask about all the red marks on a submitted piece.

"I thought I followed the style book," was the defense.

"Come with me," Charlie said, stopping to pick up The Book. We walked to an open door where he unceremoniously hurled the book into the street. "If you can't think for yourself and write the story as you would verbalize it, then follow that style book."

We all know plenty of "news" persons who need to heed Charlie Maple's advice.

Not again!

Insanity: Performing the same act continuously and expecting a different result.

Insanity on steroids: President Barak Obama's economic advisers, along with unnamed outside "experts" say we need to make more home loans available to people with weak credit in an effort to step on the economic recovery gas pedal. The rumored housing rebound is allegedly leaving too many people behind, the genius pool believes.

Excuse me, but isn't that what sent Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae crashing in flames a mere five years ago? Isn't that what stimulated the feds to stimulus up a whole bunch'a billions to stop the crash?

No matter. The circle has closed once again. In government, if it's broke don't fix it, give it money. If it didn't work the first time it's because we didn't spend enough money the first time. Officials are working on banks to lend to a "wider range of borrowers" which translates to anyone who can't afford it can get what they want.

These same "officials" are asking potential lenders to use subjective judgment when determining who gets a loan. In bureaucratic speak, that means lenders won't be punished for making questionable loans, they will instead be repaid through government programs which are operating on borrowed cash. Nice touch.

There's a new housing program being recommended for officials who make such recommendations. For only a few taxpayer dollars, these guys and gals get a three bedrooms, four bath, rubber-walled condo with a nice way-out-in-the-country view. Restraining jackets are available in six designer colors. And to cap their punishment, all televisions in the condo receive only Fox News network.

Pat Culverhouse is a journalist and political columnist who lives in Minden. You may contact him at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .






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