Have you ever written to the AP news agency? I hadn't, until just now.
The Associated Press Statement of News Values and Principles is a fine document. It states, in part "But always and in all media, we insist on the highest standards of integrity and ethical behavior when we gather and deliver the news. That means we abhor inaccuracies, carelessness, bias or distortions."
So when I saw a distortion in an article tonight, I wrote a letter to the AP to ask them to correct it.
Here's my letter. Tell me what you think?
Thank you in advance for helping me with a troublesome matter. I appreciate your time and effort. Is this the best address to use to request a change in use of a descriptive word?
Two stories are running tonight that may be found here: http://apnews.myway.com/article/20110809/D9P07TEG0.html and here: http://apnews.myway.com//article/20110808/D9P077F00.html
The main story is: "London burns: Riots spread through UK capital city, Aug 8, 7:39 PM (ET),
By DAVID STRINGER and RAPHAEL G. SATTER , Jill Lawless, Meera Selva, Stephen Wilson and Dancia Kirka contributed to this report. "
Both versions contain the following sentences:
""This is the uprising of the working class, we're redistributing the wealth," said Bryn Phillips, a 28-year-old self-described anarchist, as young people emerged from the store with chocolate bars and ice cream cones.
"Phillips claimed rioters were motivated by distrust of the police, and drew a link between the rage on London's street and insurgent right-wing politics in the United States. "In America you have the tea party, in England you've got this," he said. "
The use of the word "insurgent' by the authors to describe the Tea Party or "right-wing politics" in the United States is not only inaccurate, but it is inappropriate, inflammatory and unwise. The word "insurgent" is used currently by the US military to describe our opponents in Iraq & Afghanistan. It is wholly inappropriate to use such a word to label a simple political fiscal disagreement handled lawfully through ordinary established political channels.
The source (Phillips) being quoted may have drawn a comparison with his blunt statement, but he did not use the word "insurgent". Further, his statement required no elucidation for readers to understand it. Thus the use of this word originated with the authors and reflects a highly unprofessional bias in making this false connection between rampaging young thugs burning buildings in Britain, and legitimate statements of orthodox opinions by voters and elected officials in the United States.
The AP is a trusted source of pure news, and has served people of all political, social, and fiscal viewpoints with great distinction. It deeply concerns me to see an article betraying such a lack of respect for simple communication ethics under the banner of the AP.
If you would please forward this to the editor who can address this matter, I would greatly appreciate it. Also, if there is a better address for me to use in future, please apprise.
Thank you very much for your time and attention.
The AP email address is here.