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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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To: Zakeet

Syme to Winston, cafeteria
‘The Eleventh Edition is the definitive edition,’ he said. ‘We’re getting the language into its final shape — the shape it’s going to have when nobody speaks anything else. When we’ve finished with it, people like you will have to learn it all over again. You think, I dare say, that our chief job is inventing new words. But not a bit of it! We’re destroying words — scores of them, hundreds of them, every day. We’re cutting the language down to the bone. The Eleventh Edition won’t contain a single word that will become obsolete before the year 2050.’


51 posted on 12/15/2010 9:18:49 AM PST by tumblindice (bow to your federal Overlord)
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To: Zakeet

As a replacement term I nominate “F`ing Foreign Invaders.”


52 posted on 12/15/2010 9:18:54 AM PST by OneWingedShark (Q: Why am I here? A: To do Justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with my God.)
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To: Zakeet
Alright, how about Illegal Alien?

Mike

53 posted on 12/15/2010 9:19:19 AM PST by MichaelP (It's the end of the world as they know it, and I'm so glad!)
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To: 1_Inch_Group; 2sheep; 2Trievers; 3AngelaD; 3pools; 3rdcanyon; 4Freedom; 4ourprogeny; 7.62 x 51mm; ..

Ping!


54 posted on 12/15/2010 9:19:47 AM PST by HiJinx (I can see Mexico from the back porch...)
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To: Zakeet
How about "unarrested invaders"
55 posted on 12/15/2010 9:22:04 AM PST by drpix
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To: muawiyah

Um, that is a very hurtful phrase. I think we’d need to say “...it’s an exploration into the alternative lifestyles of creative free thinkers....”


56 posted on 12/15/2010 9:23:40 AM PST by Zarro (Hands off Our Junk!)
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To: drpix

Oooooh, I LIKE that! How about “imminent deportee”?


57 posted on 12/15/2010 9:25:36 AM PST by Zarro (Hands off Our Junk!)
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To: Zakeet
I use invaders for illegal immigrant!
58 posted on 12/15/2010 9:26:36 AM PST by HuntsvilleTxVeteran ((B.?) Hussein (Obama?Soetoro?Dunham?) Change America Will Die From.)
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To: Zarro
“imminent deportee”... we only wish!
59 posted on 12/15/2010 9:30:11 AM PST by drpix
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To: MichaelP; Zakeet

Hey, a quick thought ~ “illegal alan” (as in “Alan Grayson” the crazy guy).


60 posted on 12/15/2010 9:31:30 AM PST by muawiyah
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To: Zakeet
“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.

So by Mr. Laurence's definition, a man who has forced himself sexually on unwilling women is not a "rapist", a person who snorts $500 of coke a day is not a "drug addict", and a woman who has sex for money is not a "prostitute", until successfully convicted in a court of law.

61 posted on 12/15/2010 9:38:13 AM PST by Sergio (An object at rest cannot be stopped! - The Evil Midnight Bomber What Bombs at Midnight)
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To: Sergio

Nice catch. That’s an example, I believe, of `casuistry”: `a subtle but misleading or false application of ethical principles’.
Another example might be (on another thread here) “multi-faith” holy men urging that the DREAM act be passed because `it’s the right thing to do.’
These sanctimonius frauds have no intention of paying the freight for resident illegal aliens (and their family, friends and shirt-tail relatives) but they preach to us that we must do so and if we don’t, well, it’s because we’re bad people.


62 posted on 12/15/2010 9:48:10 AM PST by tumblindice (bow to your federal Overlord)
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To: Zakeet
OK, fine.

Foreign Invaders.

63 posted on 12/15/2010 9:52:21 AM PST by RedMDer (Forward with Confidence!)
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To: Zakeet

SPJ (MiniTrue) advocates new doublespeak term...


64 posted on 12/15/2010 9:56:55 AM PST by piytar (0's idea of power: the capacity to inflict unlimited pain and suffering on another human being. 1984)
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To: Zakeet
“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.”

Being here illegally is a civil offense, not a criminal one. So the presumption of innocence is moot.

65 posted on 12/15/2010 9:58:02 AM PST by Non-Sequitur
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To: Zakeet
“Illegal Alien” truly is a misnomer.

A person can't be “illegal”. A person can commit illegal acts, however, making that person a criminal.

For example, you would not refer to a rapist as “illegal”, you would refer to the rapist as a criminal for having committed the illegal act of rape.

It would be more accurate the refer to these people “Criminal Aliens” as they have committed an illegal act which makes them a criminal.

66 posted on 12/15/2010 10:03:12 AM PST by Gabrial (The Whitehouse Nightmare will continue as long as the Nightmare is in the Whitehouse)
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To: Zakeet

“Invasive Species.”


67 posted on 12/15/2010 10:04:20 AM PST by Charles Henrickson (Grandson of LEGAL immigrants)
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To: Zakeet
until the present period of history an “immigrant” was someone legally admitted into the country with a green card. The press has bastardized the word just as have have the word “gay.” When I was young to have a gay old time was to have a joyful time. There was no thought of sodomy.
68 posted on 12/15/2010 10:10:33 AM PST by elpadre (AfganistaMr Obama said the goal was to "disrupt, dismantle and defeat al-Qaeda" and its allies.)
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To: tumblindice

Thank you. I wish I could say that it is due to my having a great legal mind, but such is not the case. His comment just did not seem logical to me.


69 posted on 12/15/2010 10:21:26 AM PST by Sergio (An object at rest cannot be stopped! - The Evil Midnight Bomber What Bombs at Midnight)
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To: Zakeet

There’s nothing professional about those people.


70 posted on 12/15/2010 10:29:06 AM PST by bergmeid
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To: Gabrial; All
~ “Illegal Alien” truly is a misnomer. A person can't be “illegal”."
It would be more accurate the refer to these people “Criminal Aliens” ~

Don't be suckered down that leftist road. Not only does the law, but even the left, uses the term "illegal" to refer to all kinds of people as in "illegal occupant", "illegal trapper", "illegal food vendor", "illegal trader"....

For generations upon generations, American immigration laws called the foreign born aliens AND separated them in 2 classes "legal aliens" and "illegal alien."

This is crucial because unlike the term "criminal alien", the burden of proof was never on the American government to prove they are "illegal", but on the aliens to prove they are "legal" - as it would be for the former.

71 posted on 12/15/2010 10:34:13 AM PST by drpix
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To: Zakeet

Would they prefer Lawbreaker Latino?


72 posted on 12/15/2010 10:55:02 AM PST by 9YearLurker
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To: Zakeet; All

I have seen all the suggestions listed in the thread. All the suggestions were great rational thought. I guess I simply go for the short, illegals.

Be Safe Everyone!


73 posted on 12/15/2010 11:14:08 AM PST by no-to-illegals (Please God, Bless and Protect Our Men and Women in Uniform with Victory. Amen.)
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To: Zakeet

Anyone who refuses to use the term “illegal immigrant” when and as appropriate is not a legitimate journalist, and should be denied any and all access to right-thinking newsmakers.


74 posted on 12/15/2010 11:19:52 AM PST by sourcery (If true=false, then there would be no constraints on what is possible. Hence, the world exists.)
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To: Redleg Duke

How about just “Trespassers.”


75 posted on 12/15/2010 11:54:10 AM PST by Renderofveils (My loathings are simple: stupidity, oppression, crime, cruelty, soft music. - Nabokov)
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To: Zakeet

What would be a good replacement?

Criminal invader?

Felonious migrant worker?

Undocumented expeditionary force?


76 posted on 12/15/2010 12:09:02 PM PST by Dr.Zoidberg (Warning: Sarcasm/humor is always engaged. Failure to recognize this may lead to misunderstandings.)
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To: Dilbert San Diego
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.

Many people miss this critical point and just acquiesce. When they do, the other guys win !!

77 posted on 12/15/2010 12:11:55 PM PST by jimt
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To: dsc

“Invaders?”

That’s what they are. I propose we call them that.


78 posted on 12/15/2010 12:30:14 PM PST by spaced
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To: crusty old prospector

Me Too Illegal alien is CORRECT English!!


79 posted on 12/15/2010 1:19:56 PM PST by chicagolady (Mexican Elite say: EXPORT Poverty Let the American Taxpayer foot the bill !)
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To: RockinRight

LOL!! Right on!!


80 posted on 12/15/2010 1:20:48 PM PST by chicagolady (Mexican Elite say: EXPORT Poverty Let the American Taxpayer foot the bill !)
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To: Zakeet

Liberals want 20 million Democratic voters and the media agrees, you cannot speak the truth, it’s not PC.


81 posted on 12/15/2010 1:34:48 PM PST by wac3rd (Somewhere in Hell, Ted Kennedy snickers....)
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To: Zakeet
On Oct. 6 [2001] at its National Convention in Seattle, the Society of Professional "Journalists" passed a resolution urging members and fellow "journalists" to take steps against racial profiling in their coverage of the war on terrorism and to redouble their commitment to:

Use language that is informative and not inflammatory; Portray Muslims, Arabs and Middle Eastern and South Asian Americans in the richness of their diverse experiences;

Seek truth through a variety of voices and perspectives that help audiences understand the complexities of the events in Pennsylvania, New York City and Washington, D.C.

Guidelines

Visual images

1.Seek out people from a variety of ethnic and religious backgrounds when photographing Americans mourning those lost in New York, Washington and Pennsylvania.

2.Seek out people from a variety of ethnic and religious backgrounds when photographing rescue and other public service workers and military personnel.

3.Do not represent Arab Americans and Muslims as monolithic groups. Avoid conveying the impression that all Arab Americans and Muslims wear traditional clothing.

4.Use photos and features to demystify veils, turbans and other cultural articles and customs.

Stories

1. Seek out and include Arabs and Arab Americans, Muslims, South Asians and men and women of Middle Eastern descent in all stories about the war, not just those about Arab and Muslim communities or racial profiling.

2.Cover the victims of harassment, murder and other hate crimes as thoroughly as you cover the victims of overt terrorist attacks.

3.Make an extra effort to include olive-complexioned and darker men and women, Sikhs, Muslims and devout religious people of all types in arts, business, society columns and all other news and feature coverage, not just stories about the crisis.

4.Seek out experts on military strategies, public safety, diplomacy, economics and other pertinent topics who run the spectrum of race, class, gender and geography.

5.When writing about terrorism, remember to include white supremacist, radical anti-abortionists and other groups with a history of such activity.

6.Do not imply that kneeling on the floor praying, listening to Arabic music or reciting from the Quran are peculiar activities.

7.When describing Islam, keep in mind there are large populations of Muslims around the world, including in Africa, Asia, Canada, Europe, India and the United States. Distinguish between various Muslim states; do not lump them together as in constructions such as "the fury of the Muslim world."

8.Avoid using word combinations such as "Islamic terrorist" or "Muslim extremist" that are misleading because they link whole religions to criminal activity. Be specific: Alternate choices, depending on context, include "Al Qaeda terrorists" or, to describe the broad range of groups involved in Islamic politics, "political Islamists." Do not use religious characterizations as shorthand when geographic, political, socioeconomic or other distinctions might be more accurate.

9.Avoid using terms such as "jihad" unless you are certain of their precise meaning and include the context when they are used in quotations. The basic meaning of "jihad" is to exert oneself for the good of Islam and to better oneself.

10.Consult the Library of Congress guide for transliteration of Arabic names and Muslim or Arab words to the Roman alphabet. Use spellings preferred by the American Muslim Council, including "Muhammad," "Quran," and "Makkah ," not "Mecca."

11.Regularly seek out a variety of perspectives for your opinion pieces. Check your coverage against the five Maynard Institute for Journalism Education fault lines of race and ethnicity, class, geography, gender and generation.

12.Ask men and women from within targeted communities to review your coverage and make suggestions.

[end excerpt]

Note these two guidelines for "journalists" if you read none of the above, please.

2.Cover the victims of harassment, murder and other hate crimes as thoroughly as you cover the victims of overt terrorist attacks.

5.When writing about terrorism, remember to include white supremacist, radical anti-abortionists and other groups with a history of such activity.

And of course, everyone's favorite,

8.Avoid using word combinations such as "Islamic terrorist" or "Muslim extremist" Original post December 13, 2003. The Society of Professional "Journalists" has been covering for America's enemies for decades? from the beginning?

82 posted on 12/15/2010 1:46:08 PM PST by WilliamofCarmichael (If modern America's Man on Horseback is out there, Get on the damn horse already!)
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To: WilliamofCarmichael
Love this one: "12.Ask men and women from within targeted communities to review your coverage and make suggestions."

As the do when targeting Tea Party followers, talk radio listeners, Christians, FoxNews viewer, gun enthusiasts, anti-illegal groups.... Phony, lying frauds need their Orwellian dreams shoved down their #$%E#@ #$%&!

83 posted on 12/15/2010 2:27:07 PM PST by drpix
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To: Zakeet

How about “Foreign Freeloaders” ???

BTW - [For Dan Rather] “Whats the frequency, Kenneth ???”


84 posted on 12/15/2010 2:52:38 PM PST by Lmo56 (If ya wanna run with the big dawgs - ya gotta learn to piss in the tall grass ...</i><p>)
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To: drpix
For generations upon generations, American immigration laws called the foreign born aliens AND separated them in 2 classes "legal aliens" and "illegal alien."

I believe you're correct. The official legal phrase used by the US government is "illegal alien." "Illegal immigrant" is an invention of journalists and now they want to change it again.

85 posted on 12/15/2010 3:03:42 PM PST by Moonman62 (Half of all Americans are above average. Politicians come from the other half.)
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To: Zakeet

But they’re still going to call Tea Partiers “White racists” right?


86 posted on 12/15/2010 3:18:41 PM PST by Tzimisce (It's just another day in Obamaland.)
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To: drpix
“This is crucial because unlike the term “criminal alien”, the burden of proof was never on the American government to prove they are “illegal”, but on the aliens to prove they are “legal” - as it would be for the former.”

Hmmmm. You make very good points. I had not thought about the “burden of proof” aspect of this. I am not a lawyer, but I do see how you can't be a “criminal” until convicted in a court of law, but you certainly can be in the US “illegally” without being convicted of a criminal offense.

As they said Laugh-In....

Veeerrrrrry Innnnterrrresting

87 posted on 12/15/2010 5:25:47 PM PST by Gabrial (The Whitehouse Nightmare will continue as long as the Nightmare is in the Whitehouse)
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To: Dilbert San Diego

The EPA has been using this language device for years to impose environmental laws/regulations so that it’s language set the framework of environmental control.


88 posted on 12/15/2010 10:02:27 PM PST by noinfringers2
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To: Dilbert San Diego

The EPA has been using this language device for years to impose environmental laws/regulations so that it’s language set the framework of environmental control.


89 posted on 12/15/2010 10:02:53 PM PST by noinfringers2
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