The Associated Press released guidance this week prohibiting reporters from using the word “crisis” to refer to the massive surge of illegal immigration at the U.S.-Mexico border, even though it used this word repeatedly when the Trump administration faced its own humanitarian crisis in 2019.
“The current event in the news — a sharp increase in the arrival of unaccompanied minors — is a problem for border officials, a political challenge for Biden and a dire situation for many migrants who make the journey, but it does not fit the classic dictionary definition of a crisis,” AP Vice President and Editor-at-large for Standards John Daniszewski said in a memo.
This is exactly what the White House has said when asked why President Joe Biden won’t call the immigration surge a “crisis.”
Administration officials have refused to admit that the situation at the border is a crisis, opting to call it a “challenge,” despite the fact that they’ve admitted border apprehensions could reach a 20-year high.
Daniszewski seemed to agree with the Biden White House and said using the word “crisis” to describe the border situation would be “hyperbole.”
Reporters should “avoid imagery conjuring war or natural disaster, which could portray migrants as a negative, harmful influence,” he said.
“Avoid emotive words like onslaught, tidal wave, flood, inundation, surge, invasion, army, march, sneak and stealth,” Daniszewski instructed.
However, the AP freely used the word “crisis” to describe migrant surges during the Trump administration.
In July 2018, the AP published a headline saying, “Judge puts blame on Trump, Congress for immigration crisis.”
In June 2019: “House passes emergency funding bill for migrant care crisis.”
October 2019: “Immigration official says US-Mexico border crisis not over”
The AP during Dem admin: don’t call what’s happening at the border a “crisis” because that’s not “accurate and neutral language.” https://t.co/Sm81QQmNMo
The AP during GOP admin: pic.twitter.com/cobB2fJPqf
— Omri Ceren (@omriceren) March 27, 2021