Friday, November 14, 2008

Responding to "AP’s latest bow to The One" comments

If you haven’t already read the thread of AP’s latest bow to The One, I hope you will.

I want to respond here to three Anon comments.

Commenters are in italics; I’m in plain.

Since the comments all reference an AP email announcement, I’m including it here for your ease of reference.


Presidential Style, Advisory


The Associated Press is adopting a universal style for referring to all heads of state, including the United States.

Effective Thursday at 3 a.m. EST, the AP will use the title and first and family names on first reference: President George W. Bush, not just President Bush; President-elect Barack Obama, not just President-elect Obama; President Nicolas Sarkozy, not just President Sarkozy.

The AP Contact:
Paul Colford
Director of Media Relations
The Associated Press
212. 621.1720

Anon @ 5:22 - --

That's ridiculous [to say the AP is making a bow to Obama]. The style also will apply retroactively to all Republican presidents and to all Republican presidents in the sufture. (sic)

Assuming the AP will do what you say, that doesn’t alter the fact the change is being made immediately after the election of the candidate it worked so hard to elect, does it?

Your comment begs two pertinent questions: 1) why didn’t the AP make this “universal style” change before now: and 2) why is it only making it now?

Anon @ 8:32 - - -

Um, wouldn't it be more logical to assume that this change has been made now that we're about to have two former President Bushes?

No. We’ve had two former President Adams for almost two centuries, two President Roosevelts for about three-quarters of a century, and two President Johnsons for almost forty-five years.

Anon @ 10:21 - - -

::shakes head::

Slow news day, John? You've made some pretty "out there" calls in the past, but this one might take the cake. How, exactly, is this "bowing" to Obama?

My answers above speaks to your “bowing” question.

Do you know Poynter Institute’s Web site is a favorite training, information and commentary site of many liberal and leftist journos?

But even Poynter wasn’t fooled by the real intent of the AP’s style change.

In my post I linked to Poynter’s post of the AP’s announcement. It was titled: AP's style will be President Barack Obama (not President Obama). (The italic emphasis “
President Barack Obama” was Poynter’s)

I'm with 8:32 - WOULDN'T that be a more logical reason?

Yes, I can see you are with Anon @ 8:32 whose question I’ve already answered.

Folks, I don't know whether the Anons' comments were serious or troll, but they were useful in allowing me to put before you information which will leave no sensible reader here in any doubt about the real reason for the AP's just announced "universal style" change.


Anonymous said...

Taken from Editor and Publisher:

AP's Darrell Christian, a co-editor of the AP Stylebook, said the change was made simply to provide consistency between U.S. stories and those from AP overseas.

“We saw a need to standardize how we refer to the president, especially since the wire now services more of a global audience,” Christian explained. “Stories written overseas and filed directly to U.S. wires would have used first and last names, but stories going out of the U.S. would use the last names.”

Christian said AP traced the last-name only practice back to Franklin Roosevelt: “But we don’t use last names for heads of state in other countries, so we wanted to be consistent.”


I'm sure that this is just more "liberal propaganda" or some such rot, but I thought you might appreciate that answer to your "two pertinent questions".

You know? NASA just started developing a system to "recycle" the urine of astronauts as a more efficient way of ensuring a water supply. Why is it that we didn't do THAT until now? Probably because no one thought about it or they were aloof to any reason for it. Seems like the same situation here.

Anonymous said...

Editor and Publisher has provided a "rationale" for the change, but we know that E&P is a part of the mainstream media and, therefore, not to be trusted. If the poster wishes to grant them oracle status, that's up to him/her. For myself, whenever I see a statement from such as E&P or the New York Times, I automatically disregard it. They, quite simply, cannot be believed.
Tarheel Hawkeye

Anonymous said...

Tarheel Hawkeye: so the E&P is part of the mainstream media and, therefore, you disregard them in the same manner Wikipedia is disregarded as a reliable source (despite being a decent source for factual knowledge)?

All right.

Tell me, then: if we are to disregard all mainstream media and rely only upon what I suppose you'd call secondary media (much of which amounts to little more than tabloid journalism and equally, if not more heavily, biased reporting), do we make any actual gains? I think not.

It's fine to be skeptical of mainstream media; I would encourage people to go out and research the world around them. I would point out, however, that we have to derive our information from somewhere and, if not from first-hand experience, you have to turn to a secondary source.

So if you want to be skeptical of mainstream media, you can be. The problem with being skeptical is as follows: 1) if you are skeptical of everything, you come to be able to never accept the truth of anything, 2) that which you do accept as true must meet some standard that everything else fails to meet, 3) if you decry something as untrue, you must have some sufficient evidence to back-up your own claim, lest you fall into danger.

Does the mainstream media give us the whole story? Probably not. Do the sources YOU trust? they? I sincerely doubt that as well. Sometimes you just have to be charitable and trust the information you are given. Right now, aside from the little information John gives here, there isn't really a lot of evidence to support the theory that the AP is "bowing" to Obama...unless you count the speculation of a few hardcore anti-liberals (who I dare not conflate with conservatives).

Out of perverse curiosity, what news source(s) do you turn to? For my part, if I cannot trust the E&P (which I'd never even read before today), the NYT, the BBC, the WaPo, USA Today, or my local paper, what CAN I trust to give me information?

JWM said...

Anon @ 3:56,

The AP didn't think an outfit like Poynter, one of the pillars of MSM, would have what amounted to a headline laugh at the AP's expense.

Once that happened the AP fig leaves started flying. You cited the one that's getting the most follow-up laughs from journos.

I may respond further to your comment on the main page tomorrow concerning you comparing what the AP did to what NASA's now doing with urine.

To TH,

You've got it.

E&P is as much an independent media news outlet as the N&O's Ted Vaden is an independent readers' advocate.

E&P and Vaden are always careful not to pull on their handlers' short leashes.