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SPJ (Society of Professional Journalists) Takes Up Crusade against Term ‘Illegal Immigrant’
Culture and Media Institute ^ | December 14, 2010 | Alana Goodman

Posted on 12/15/2010 8:37:11 AM PST by Zakeet

The Society for Professional Journalists (SPJ)’s Diversity Committee has announced that it will be launching a year-long campaign to educate journalists about the hurtfulness of phrases like “illegal immigrant,” which is the term currently preferred by the influential AP Stylebook.

The label “remains offensive to Latinos, and especially Mexicans, and to the fundamentals of American jurisprudence,” wrote Leo E. Laurence, a member of the SPJ Diversity Committee and the editor the San Diego News Service (which appears to be this blog that was last updated in August, 2009.

Seeing as most Latinos in the U.S. are not illegal immigrants – and since the term has no racial or ethnic connotation – it’s hard to see how it would cause offense to this group. In fact, the only people who should really be put off by the term are illegal immigrants themselves (or their advocates), who don’t believe unlawful residency in the U.S. should be a crime.

Laurence argues that the terms “undocumented immigrant” or “undocumented worker” should replace “illegal immigrant,” because the U.S. legal system presumes that one is innocent until proven guilty.

“One of the most basic of our constitutional rights is that everyone (including non-citizens) is innocent of any crime until proven guilty in a court of law,” wrote Laurence, whose bio notes that he holds a law degree. “Simply put, only a judge, not a journalist, can say that someone is an illegal.”

Obviously you don’t need to go to law school to understand that basic concept. And it’s certainly important to use words like “suspected” when writing about a specific individual whose immigration status has not yet been determined. But it has absolutely nothing to do with getting rid of the term “illegal immigrant” altogether.

Drunk drivers are also innocent until convicted in a court of law – and yet the Miami Herald headline “Miami police cracking down on drunk drivers” hasn’t warranted a similar critique from SPJ’s civil libertarian crusaders. Car theft, too, is considered a crime that must be adjudicated through the legal system. But when the AP reports that “Newport News police want to reduce car thefts,” does the SPJ consider this a violation of the constitutional rights of the car thief community.

There is simply no difference between those headlines and ones like, “Miami police cracking down on illegal immigrants,” or “Newport News police want to reduce illegal immigration.” These reports are referencing a general group, not accusing individual people of crimes. They certainly don’t clash with the presumption of innocence before the law.

The SPJ diversity committee says “undocumented immigrant” is a more appropriate description. Yet living in the U.S. without any documentation of citizenship is illegal. Using the term “undocumented immigrant” is disingenuous, because it downplays the severity of the crime. It’s like calling a car thief an “unauthorized driver” – it’s misleading to the point of inaccuracy. And when a journalist makes the decision to mislead readers, in an attempt to portray a person or group in a more positive light, it can’t be called anything but pure advocacy. It’s a shame that an important group like SPJ is promoting such tactics.


TOPICS:
KEYWORDS: aliens; freespeech; illegalaliens; illegalimmigrants; illegals; journalism; liberals; mediabias; msm; politicallycorrect
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... and we professional journalists all wish that you evil, hateful, and politically incorrect Freepers people would quit referring to Undocumented Democrats as illegals ...

1 posted on 12/15/2010 8:37:20 AM PST by Zakeet
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To: Zakeet

We know that they are really “Undocumented Democrats”.


2 posted on 12/15/2010 8:39:28 AM PST by Redleg Duke (We didn't limit out, but we nailed a bunch of RATS!)
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To: Zakeet

The “SPJ” just proved the “value” of their education....worthless!


3 posted on 12/15/2010 8:40:20 AM PST by goodnesswins (You deciding how to spend your health care $, thatÂ’s freedom. Govt deciding, thats a death panel)
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To: Zakeet

Illegal immigrant replaced the term illegal alien, which was seen as too inflammatory to use. So now the only people who talk about illegal aliens are strong conservatives.

So now we’re not even supposed to say that these people are immigrants? How did they get to America? How PC can we get in describing someone who is here but is not a citizen, and came here in violation of the law in the first place?

Or are we supposed to be good liberals and ignore illegal immigration??????


4 posted on 12/15/2010 8:40:50 AM PST by Dilbert San Diego
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To: Zakeet

Wetback is more appropriate...


5 posted on 12/15/2010 8:41:07 AM PST by refermech
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To: Zakeet

I guess old Dan is the posterkind for the Society of Professional Jourwhoralists!


6 posted on 12/15/2010 8:41:07 AM PST by MIchaelTArchangel (Obama makes me miss Jimmah Cahtah!)
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To: Zakeet

I have always been fond of illegal alien myself.


7 posted on 12/15/2010 8:41:17 AM PST by crusty old prospector
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To: goodnesswins

I think that this society of journalists should be careful about going on a “crusade” for anything. Muslims are offended by the term “crusade” because of the historic Crusades.

Liberal journalists, pick another term please to describe your efforts.


8 posted on 12/15/2010 8:42:36 AM PST by Dilbert San Diego
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To: Zakeet
Here is another example of Newspeak. Truth hurts, so get rid of truth.
9 posted on 12/15/2010 8:42:44 AM PST by Nosterrex
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To: Zakeet
SPJ = State Propaganda Junction.

Eff these state-propagandist bastards who refuse to call things as they really are.

10 posted on 12/15/2010 8:43:07 AM PST by Lazamataz (Only 21 days of Democrat fascism left!)
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To: Zakeet
SPJ (Society of Professional Journalists) Takes Up Crusade against Term ‘Illegal Immigrant’

I agree. Let's go with "Wetback."

"Illegal Alien" would work also.

11 posted on 12/15/2010 8:44:18 AM PST by Charles Henrickson
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To: Zakeet

“Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter.” —Isaiah 5:20


12 posted on 12/15/2010 8:44:28 AM PST by E. Pluribus Unum (DEFCON I ALERT: The federal cancer has metastasized. All personnel report to their battle stations.)
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To: Zakeet
Calling an ILLEGAL IMMIGRANT an "Undocumented Worker" is like calling a SHOPLIFTER an "Undocumented Shopper".
13 posted on 12/15/2010 8:44:48 AM PST by Lazamataz (Only 21 days of Democrat fascism left!)
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To: Nosterrex

We are in Orwell’s 1984 in many ways, and this is one of them. Controlling the language and how people use language also changes the ideas and concepts that can be expressed. If we can’t call these people illegal at all, it changes the concept of their status, so that the presumption is that there is no legal violation involved. If they are just “undocumented”, that puts them in the same category of somebody who is undocumented because he/she lost their driver’s license.


14 posted on 12/15/2010 8:45:11 AM PST by Dilbert San Diego
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To: Zakeet
The label “remains offensive to Latinos, and especially Mexicans, and to the fundamentals of American jurisprudence,”

American jurisprudence calls them exactly that - illegal.

What is offensive here is the SPJ to logic and reason.

15 posted on 12/15/2010 8:45:11 AM PST by dirtboy
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To: Zakeet

Would “illegal parasite” be clearer?

I also like “undocumented democrat”.


16 posted on 12/15/2010 8:45:30 AM PST by heiss
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To: Zakeet

How about “border crashers?”

“Invaders?”

“Uninvited parasites?”


17 posted on 12/15/2010 8:46:10 AM PST by dsc (Any attempt to move a government to the left is a crime against humanity.)
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To: Zakeet
SPJ (Society of Professional Journalists) Takes Up Crusade against Term ‘Illegal Immigrant’

While we're at it, let's replace "Professional Journalist," too. "Politically Correct Propagandist" would be more accurate.

18 posted on 12/15/2010 8:47:23 AM PST by Charles Henrickson
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To: Zakeet

Next the SPJ will call those people who, following a natural disaster, go from store to store, helping themselves to merchandise, “undocumented shoppers exercising a deferred purchase plan” instead of thieving looters.


19 posted on 12/15/2010 8:48:42 AM PST by Keith in Iowa (FR Class of 1998 | TV News is an oxymoron. | MSNBC = Moonbats Spouting Nothing But Crap.)
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To: Dilbert San Diego
We could call them "visitors without visas" ~ certainly that's not hurtful at all ~ of course you need a visa to be a visitor.

They should go back home and get one eh!

I still like "illegal alien" ~ which was a step up from "greasers", "wetbacks", and "Mescan" ~ but these guys are definitely NOT IMMIGRANTS. To be an IMMIGRANT you have to have an IMMIGRATION VISA.

20 posted on 12/15/2010 8:49:18 AM PST by muawiyah
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To: Zakeet
"Illegal Immigrants" ARE Insurgents..
21 posted on 12/15/2010 8:49:43 AM PST by hosepipe (This propaganda has been edited to include some fully orbed hyperbole....)
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To: Zakeet

SPJ (Society of Professional Journalists) Takes Up Crusade against Term ‘Reporter’


22 posted on 12/15/2010 8:50:24 AM PST by bunkerhill7
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To: Charles Henrickson

Or just call them POS = PrOfeSsional “pukes”.


23 posted on 12/15/2010 8:50:34 AM PST by muawiyah
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To: refermech
"Wetback is more appropriate..."

No, no, no, they must be referred to as "non uniformed combatants" of a hostile invading force, and dealt with appropriately. IMHO

24 posted on 12/15/2010 8:50:44 AM PST by sniper63 (Did you plug the hole in the border yet daddy........)
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To: Dilbert San Diego

It’s going to be very hard to control language....UNLESS they control the INTERNET! Back in about 1994 I was told by a “friend” that I should not refer to my husband as “husband” but as “partner.” It was the beginning of the end of my friendship...but, I have found that the “husband and wife” nomenclature has NOT disappeared.


25 posted on 12/15/2010 8:51:26 AM PST by goodnesswins (You deciding how to spend your health care $, thatÂ’s freedom. Govt deciding, thats a death panel)
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To: All

I wish all these yahoos would stop the bloomin’ word games.

They need to play freakin’ Scrabble or some chit to satisfy their addiction to word play.

Illegal immigrant= Illegal immigrant in the real world, where there’s rule of law.


26 posted on 12/15/2010 8:51:38 AM PST by Irenic
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To: refermech
I kinda lean toward Phakin' criminal myself.
27 posted on 12/15/2010 8:51:44 AM PST by skimbell
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To: Zakeet
"Guest Workers", doing the jobs the 22% unemployed Americans won't do (U6 unemployment figures).
28 posted on 12/15/2010 8:52:09 AM PST by steelyourfaith (ObamaCare Death Panels: a Final Solution to the looming Social Security crisis ?)
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To: crusty old prospector
I have always been fond of illegal alien myself.

How about we just make is simple for them and go with "criminal"?
29 posted on 12/15/2010 8:53:41 AM PST by Zarro (Hands off Our Junk!)
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To: Zakeet

OK how about ALIEN!?


30 posted on 12/15/2010 8:53:45 AM PST by US Navy Vet
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To: Zakeet
"One of the most basic of our constitutional rights is that everyone"

No, the U.S. Constitution belongs to We The People, NOT any Third World Julio who sneaks in to try to get the benefits of Citizenship, without EARNING it.

31 posted on 12/15/2010 8:53:53 AM PST by traditional1 ("Don't gotsta worry 'bout no mo'gage, don't gotsta worry 'bout no gas; Obama gonna take care o' me!)
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To: Dilbert San Diego
They are NOT IMMIGRANTS. You have to jump through hoops and pay fees to become an IMMIGRANT with a visa. If you don't have a visa you are simply NOT an immigrant.

People here without visas must be sent back so they can pick up theirs.

32 posted on 12/15/2010 8:54:34 AM PST by muawiyah
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To: Zakeet

Instead of taking up a crusade against the TERM “illegal immigrants,” they should take up a crusade AGAINST ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS.


33 posted on 12/15/2010 8:55:31 AM PST by Charles Henrickson (Grandson of LEGAL immigrants)
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To: Zakeet

When I first read this, I thought it was satire (”...educate journalists about the hurtfulness of phrases like “illegal immigrant...”). Guess not.

It did give me an idea for a video production: “JournOLists Gone Wild!”


34 posted on 12/15/2010 8:56:18 AM PST by Zarro (Hands off Our Junk!)
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To: Zakeet

I’d be fine replacing the term with “foreign invader”, personally.


35 posted on 12/15/2010 8:56:19 AM PST by kevkrom (De-fund Obamacare in 2011, repeal in 2013!)
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To: Zakeet

They are correct. There are legal immigrants, non-resident aliens, and illegal aliens. The term, “illegal immigrant” is an oxymoron, as no illegal alien should ever be allowed immigrant status.


36 posted on 12/15/2010 8:56:45 AM PST by Carry_Okie (The environment is too complex and too important to manage by central planning.)
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To: Zakeet

... oh, but journalists are just “reporters.” They don’t have an agenda.... right? Uh, no? Gosh. Don’t tell me they’ve been liars this whole time! My world will collapse.


37 posted on 12/15/2010 8:57:56 AM PST by CWCoop
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To: refermech

My thoughts exactly.


38 posted on 12/15/2010 8:57:56 AM PST by Americanexpat
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To: Zakeet

What they’re planning on replacing it by the term “wetback?”


39 posted on 12/15/2010 8:57:58 AM PST by from occupied ga (Your most dangerous enemy is your own government,)
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To: Zakeet

Problem solved!


40 posted on 12/15/2010 8:58:22 AM PST by mojito
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To: heiss

Don’t know about “undocumented democrat,” since ACORN has already been working very hard in their behalf. How about “pre-registered democrat”?


41 posted on 12/15/2010 8:59:32 AM PST by Clioman
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To: Zakeet

How about “People who get all the free stuff”?
It contains lots of short words that Journalists can easily spell.


42 posted on 12/15/2010 8:59:54 AM PST by Zathras
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To: Charles Henrickson

Illegal alien works best.

Illegal immigrant implies that they will eventually be seeking citizenship. Until that aim is expressly declared they remain aliens.


43 posted on 12/15/2010 9:01:50 AM PST by glorgau
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To: Zakeet

I’ll be more than happy to drop the term “illegal immigrant” from my vocabulary and use the term “illegal alien” in its place.


44 posted on 12/15/2010 9:04:24 AM PST by Yet_Again
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To: Zakeet
I use the term "illegal alien."
45 posted on 12/15/2010 9:05:32 AM PST by BAW (Joy to the World.)
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To: goodnesswins
Having spent many years as a member of the American "Nomenklatura" I assure you the pukes referred to in this news release are not part of it. They'd like to be, but Journalists are more often on the receiving end of the new words ~ not the giving end.

It used to be their job to report ~ not make up, and in this case their argument is that the AP style book is out of date and should change. Anybody could have told them that ~ took AP ages to learn to refer to "Conservative" instead of "Rightist", and "President Bush" instead of "Shrub".

But, that doesn't matter anymore. The INTERNET controls the style book these days. If you can't say "s--t" then you spell it "5h|+"; and a gazillion of us already know a dozen ways to evade every attempt to regulate our discussions of sex, sexual matters and sexual equipment, and try as they might the gay blades get referred to by all the new terms as well as the old terms and there's nothing they can do about it but cry their widdle eyes out!

46 posted on 12/15/2010 9:06:30 AM PST by muawiyah
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To: Zarro

That’d be an explicitly homosexual video, right?


47 posted on 12/15/2010 9:08:03 AM PST by muawiyah
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To: Zakeet

I agree we should replace “illegal immigrant” with something more definitive.

I suggest “border jumper”, “invader”, or “criminal interloper”. Other more colorful (and pejorative) appellations might also suffice.


48 posted on 12/15/2010 9:12:06 AM PST by IronJack (=)
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To: Zakeet
I like the term Criminal alien because it fits.
49 posted on 12/15/2010 9:12:23 AM PST by puppypusher (The World is going to the dogs.)
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To: Zakeet

I am going to take up a crusade against the term “Society for Professional Journalists” since they’re neither professional nor journalists.


50 posted on 12/15/2010 9:18:32 AM PST by RockinRight (if the choice is between Crazy and Commie, I choose Crazy.)
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