Woke Journalism and the Little Book Behind it All
While most of us blame legacy media for spreading woke culture and misinformation, few people realize who’s pulling the strings. The publishers and advertisers are certainly to blame with their agendas that push big pharma and other corporate interests. The leftist writers and editors are also pushing their personal agendas. But a powerful influence comes in the form of a little book: the “AP Stylebook.”
Considered the bible for newspaper journalists, this spiralbound guide from the Associated Press is also widely used by broadcasters, radio and public relations professionals. First published in 1953, it gives advice on grammar, punctuation and usage for journalists. What most people don’t realize is that the book also sets down guidelines for how to interpret the news. This explains how formerly conservative newspapers from small towns across America now churn out stories in lockstep with the most liberal-leaning publications from across the country.
Telling reporters how to think
What was once a mundane guide for things like how to abbreviate states, has morphed into a politicized activist guide. Read its guidance on January 6 coverage. It tells editors and writers that “Mob, Riot or Insurrection” are OK to use when describing the protest. It ignores the updated mountains of evidence showing how the FBI was undercover in the crowd or that doors to the U.S. Capitol were thrown open to let the protesters in. Instead, it sticks with this false narrative: “Considering that armed protesters broke into the building, overwhelmed Capitol police, interrupted the process of certifying Electoral College votes and forced the evacuation of the vice president of the United States and members of Congress, ‘protest’ may be too mild a word for the action without surrounding it with strong adjectives and context, such as ‘violent protest’ or ‘rioting protesters.’ Calling it a ‘mob’ or a ‘riot’ would also be appropriate, especially when the protesters’ actions were wild, widespread, violent and uncontrolled. The term “insurrection,” meaning the act of rising up against established authority, could also be justified.” It does say the event doesn’t quite qualify to be called a coup.
Framing the conversation
Liberal influence in the media is hardly new. For years, it colored how news events got covered, either not at all or in-depth, and a few select adjectives such as those to describe people with mental health. E.g. crazy was off limits. Ethics until recently dictated that both sides of a story be interviewed for comment. It’s gotten increasingly worse in recent years as conservatives have fled the profession. In a Syracuse University online survey of 1,6000 U.S. journalists from 2022, only 3.4 percent of respondents identified as Republicans and 36.4 percent said they were Democrats. Contrast that with 1971, when 35.5 percent identified as Republican; 25.7 percent as Democrat and 32.5 percent as Independent.
It’s only been in the last 40-50 years that the left began steering word choice. For instance, in the mid-80s, a journalism student would be marked wrong on an AP Style test for describing a protester as Pro-Life. The correct answers were Anti-Abortion or Pro-Choice Activists. Even back then the AP was inserting bias. It recently updated this to say, “use the modifiers anti-abortion or abortion-rights; don’t use pro-life, pro-choice or pro-abortion unless they are in quotes or proper names. Avoid abortionist, which connotes a person who performs clandestine abortions.”
Invading sacred grammar terrain
Flash forward to 2024: With the proliferation of the LGBTQ movement, the latest assault to politicize the English language invades sacred grammar terrain. (Anyone who grew up diagraming sentences should be blowing a gasket at this point.) It forces writers and editors to use what was once universally considered as incorrect, plural pronouns for singular use. In 2019, Merriam-Webster caved to the woke cult when published a new definition for the word “they” to refer to a singular person “who does not identify with a gender-specific (or binary) pronoun.”
The AP continues to provide specific guidance on LGBTQ reporting and goes as far as to say reporters should use terms such as “sex assigned at birth” vs. being born a boy or girl. It also suggests reporters not use terms such as “both sexes,” indicating there are more than two that people use.
Media outlets, unfortunately aren’t alone in their assault on the English language. The “MLA Style Guide,” which is used throughout academia, is full on board with the woke writing. Visit the MLA Style Center for guidance on use of singular they, and you’ll find this: “The MLA advises writers to always follow the personal pronouns of individuals they write about. Thus, if a person’s pronoun is they, the following sentences are correct: Jules is writing their research paper on Jane Austen’s Persuasion. Ari read the instructions to themselves [or themself] before beginning the test.”
The “Chicago Manual of Style,” another widely used style guide, acknowledges the Merriam-Webster’s change on the usage of they, but sidesteps the issue by encouraging writers to reword sentences to put it into plural.
So, if you’re saying, this doesn’t matter, I boycott legacy media, think again. Young writers entering all industries are being trained and brainwashed into believing these grammatical changes are normal. Imagine how these changes will filter into future textbooks, movies, books, law contracts, etc. Further, the inherent bias reflected in news stories will dictate the history books of tomorrow. What can you do? Speak up! Support conservative news outlets and refuse to make editorial changes you don’t agree with in your local businesses. It’s time we retake our language.