Friday, December 23, 2005

Get the Political Correctness with the Associated Press

Many years ago when I was a stringer for them, the Associated Press was the grey old lady of the wire services, differing from the racier United Press International by a conservative toning-down of language. Not so anymore. In the one-upmanship race to zing George W. Bush, often the AP leads the pack with twisted writing and intended slanting. Understand, a left-leaning AP is different from my credo of a return to admittedly partisan newspapers. The wire service, above all, should attempt to put things in as objective a perspective as possible.

The slanting comes not only in political stories but in word choice involving the bias of the writer. Today’s feature story is about a frigate bird named Lydia which was hooked up to a monitor by the American Bird Conservancy. Lydia, a scavenger with a wingspan of over 8 feet, was recorded as starting on a journey from Christmas Island National Park in search for food for her young. She flew more than 26 days and 2,500 miles to Indonesia’s Java and Sumatra islands to get food for her baby and bring it back. Who took care of the chick while she was away? Get this: not her mate, which is the approved terminology which signifies a kind of mom and pop relationship—but her “partner.” AP writer Michael Casey wrote: “Leaving a baby chick in the care of her partner…” Minor you say? Every little bit here and there nurtures a belief system. Now birds don’t have mates but partners.

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