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Friday, July 6, 2012
MRC Is Sad Media No Longer Using 'Illegals' Slur
Topic: Media Research Center

Lauren Thompson has a sad in a June 27 MRC Culture and Media Institute item:

In a span of six years major networks stopped using the terms “illegal alien” and “illegals.” The liberal media’s agenda is clear, and the word "illegal" is now considered a racial slur. In 2006, major networks CBS and ABC used the terms “illegals” and “illegal aliens” in their stories (NBC did not). Today, those terms have all but disappeared from network immigration reporting.

The change is clear evidence that pressure from activist groups is succeeding in eroding and altering the terms of debate. Sadly, the most influential of those activist groups may be the Society of Professional Journalists – the professional body that proclaims its mission as “improving and protecting journalism.” In 2011 SPJ decided to encourage newsrooms to discontinue using the terms “illegal alien” and “illegal immigrant” because it is “offensive” to Hispanics and immigrants.

Thompson goes on to rail against the "SPJ’s dishonest terminology." But at no point does she explain why not using "illegals" is "dishonest," nor does she explain why some news organizations consider it to be offensive, let alone rebut the idea. As Poynter has detailed, some believe the word "illegal" presumes criminality, though being in the U.S. without documentation is a civil, not a criminal, offense, and that it oversimplifies the issue of illegal immigration.

Thompson can take heart, though: The right-wing-beloved Fox News still clings to "illegals."

Posted by Terry K. at 12:29 AM EDT

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