‘Right from Trump’s playbook’: AP savaged by critics for calling migrant caravan ‘army’
The story, originally titled ‘Ragged, growing army of migrants resumes march towards US’, appeared on the outlets’ website on Sunday. It was not the reporting itself – the style wasn’t all that different from AP’s usual work – but a single word in the headline that ticked off many people on social media.
Some readers, including Walter Shaub, the former head of the US Office of Government Ethics, argued that it is inappropriate use the word “army” to describe a group of more than 4,000 Central American migrants hoping to cross to the US through Mexico.
What does the AP Style Guide say about using the word "army" to describe desperate families who lack any guarantee of adequate nourishment as they flee destruction and head on foot across a desert toward a heartless regime that steals children and threatens to deploy a real army?— Walter Shaub (@waltshaub) October 21, 2018
Yes yes. Army. Army of dirty diapers ?— JustDani (@danigirlPA) October 22, 2018
Yeah, I too look at a photo of sleeping toddlers and exhausted mothers and think, "yes, that is absolutely an 'army.'"— Kevin M. Kruse (@KevinMKruse) October 21, 2018
Others accused AP of mirroring the rhetoric of President Donald Trump and spreading xenophobia.
Is Breitbart writing AP tweets now? https://t.co/aBzDQASLrZ— Adam Parkhomenko (@AdamParkhomenko) October 21, 2018
AP tried to do damage control by replacing ‘army’ with ‘caravan.’ The news agency also deleted the tweet with a link to the story, explaining that it “lacked context.”
We have deleted a tweet about the migrant caravan moving through Central America and Mexico because it lacked context. A new tweet will be posted shortly.— AP Politics (@AP_Politics) October 22, 2018
The change failed to defuse the situation, as some Twitter users felt that ‘lacking context’ was a poor explanation.
Exactly what context did this lack? What context would have made acceptable labeling a group of war ravaged migrants seeking peace an “army”? pic.twitter.com/OBeAj3r6aw— techno not tide pods (@_michaelmay_) October 22, 2018
Thank you for taking it down. But “lacks context”, lacks responsibility. Do better with your description of migrants fleeing for their lives. Thank you.#SupportAssylumSeekers— Christopher🇺🇸 #VoteThemOut🌊 (@cwebbonline) October 22, 2018
It had tons of context. It was just ugly racist context.— Barquentine (@barquentine2001) October 22, 2018
Observers such as Raw Story reporter Bob Brigham wrote that simply altering the headline wasn’t enough. AP must now apologize and even publish an official retraction, they said.
It wasn’t just the tweet that was the problem, it was the headline and lede paragraph lying to readers.And the problem wasn’t lack of context, but a brazen lie.Still no retraction or apology from @AP, much less accountability.The scandal continues. https://t.co/a4R3wNnMvC— Bob Brigham (@BobBrigham) October 22, 2018
So you're not going to call these poor families an 'army' anymore? What's next 'marauding invaders'? .. straight from Trump's playbook & Breitbart headlines.. disgraceful.. APOLOGIZE !!!— gmarie 🎼🌊🍎 (@gmarie55) October 22, 2018
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