Why can’t the Associated Press say “illegal”

For us news junkies it’s nice to know the Associated Press can take time away from its breathless recounting of every Palestinian civilian building hit by an Israeli rocket in the Israel/Hamas war to manipulate a domestic story every now and then to further its not-so-secret political agenda. 

After all,  the vast swath of American readers still need to be deceived about issues on our own soil, too.

A 1940s AP press credential/Smithsonian Magazine

What else could be the reasoning behind the AP’s deletion of context which ranks as the number two political issue in the entire country in its reporting of the murder last week of a 12 year-old Texas girl? Behind ravaging high prices and general economic concerns, polls show security at the U.S. border is the number two worry among the American electorate.

So, how strange that the AP would have completely missed the context of illegal immigration in it’s reporting of the arrest of two Venezuelan illegals alleged to have raped and murdered a 12 year old girl a week ago and dumped her body in a creek bed in Houston. After all, when it comes to sidebar research about every hair-splitting aspect of J6 defendants – their past affiliations, traffic tickets, high bowling scores, etc. – the AP seems committed to exhaustive research. Albeit in its coverage of the “insurrection,” AP often fails to include that the only person to die in the incident was an unarmed white protester, shot and killed by a black Capitol Police officer, who never faced charges or disciplinary action in the incident. But otherwise the coverage oin J6 from AP has been like Surround Sound.

Apparently there are times that such details are just inconsequential in the news biz. When AP published its story on the arrest of Franklin Jose Pena Ramos and Johan Jose Rangel Martinez, the outlet’s headline chronicled “2 men arrested in strangulation of 12-year-old Houston girl whose body was found in a creek,” with no other description beyond their names and ages, and certainly no recitation of their immigration status at least for a solid 24 hours. AP revealed the point the following day, after other outlets included the nugget in their own coverage.

John Hanna, State Government Reporter for AP in Kansas.

This left tilt favoring a Bidenesque perspective is widely different from the days of AP’s pre-Civil War inception. The organization was borne of an agreement between five competing New York newspapers back in 1846 to share costs on a network of horse/rider combinations to relay news of the Mexican-American War from the front lines to Montgomery, Alabama, thence by stagecoach to Richmond, Va., then to be telegraphed back to Gotham. And unlike the hyper-partisan papers they were conveying news to at the time, the communiques were allegedly committed to dry fact.

“My dispatches are merely dry matters of fact and detail,” the first Washington bureau chief, Lawrence Gobright, said in 1856,” according to Smithsonian Magazine.

But that was then.

Assuming the venerable AP would be concerned about such a lapse in reporting as omitting the relevance of the #2 issue of our time, we  emailed longtime Kansas AP scribe John Hanna for an explanation. We asked for some kind of insight as to any direction AP reporters get from management to downplay immigration issues in its reporting, similar to the way its reporters were instructed to refer to the George Floyd riots that did more than $2 billion in property damage as “unrest.” (Not only were AP staff so instructed, but the outlet revised its “AP Stylebook” to reflect the same. Such was the AP’s reputation at one time that its desk book was the established style Bible for newsrooms for decades).

Hanna ignored our email, but AP public relations person Lauren Easton replied that the outlet “reported the immigration status as soon as we had confirmed it” in an updated story the following day, after the story was savaged by social media watchers for the omission. 

The AP Stylebook became the standard for commonality and consistency for news writing in the industry, but has now been edited to propagate leftist bias.

Easton didn’t address our questions as to AP proscriptions to reporters for downplaying immigration status in their reporting. In the news business, we learn the questions someone doesn’t answer are often more telling than those they do. 

This isn’t the first time AP coverage has deleted important facts about crimes involving illegal immigrant suspects. As Becket Adams recounted in The Hill back in March about the murder of 22 year-old nursing student Laken Riley who was abducted while jogging in a park in Athens, Ga.: “But according to the AP, Riley’s alleged killer isn’t a Venezuelan who illegally entered the country in 2022 and then almost immediately started committing crimes. Rather, he’s an “Athens man.” And for the AP, Riley’s murder isn’t part of a larger story involving inept state and federal law enforcement decisions, but an incident highlighting “the fears of solo female athletes.”

Smaller news outlets that rely on AP coverage to fill gaps in their news offering and who actually care about ethical news coverage should be mindful of the AP’s quest to bend America’s opinion to its own version of right and wrong, virtue and vice.

Readers should be aware as well. There’s a story the AP doesn’t want us to know…but it’s one they keep telling us over and over.

Dane Hicks is a graduate of the University of Missouri School of Journalism and the United States Marine Corps Officer Candidate School at Quantico, VA. He is the author of novels "The Skinning Tree" and "A Whisper For Help." As publisher of the Anderson County Review in Garnett, KS., he is a recipient of the Kansas Press Association's Boyd Community Service Award as well as more than 60 awards for excellence in news, editorial and photography.