The Corner

Media

Yes, Associated Press, There’s a Riot Goin’ On

Associated Press, once the standard bearer of journalistic integrity, has been corroding the use of clear and enlightening language for years now. Its newest surrender to newspeak has it instructing newspapers to ignore the meaning of “riot.”

“A riot is a wild or violent disturbance of the peace involving a group of people. The term riot suggests uncontrolled chaos and pandemonium,” a new AP guideline begins.

Not so. The word suggests — nay, it means — “a violent disturbance of the peace by a crowd.” By any definition, the rampaging leftist crowds — well, only around 10 percent or so — went looting and burning this summer qualify as “rioters.” The vandalism and criminality that was sparked by those protesting, or claiming to protest, the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis cost the insurance industry anywhere between 1 to 2 billion dollars — more than any other riots in modern history.

AP goes on:

Focusing on rioting and property destruction rather than underlying grievance has been used in the past to stigmatize broad swaths of people protesting against lynching, police brutality or for racial justice, going back to the urban uprisings of the 1960s.

The AP says you shouldn’t use a word because it distracts from the favored political narrative, as if both stories can’t be told at once. Or rather, because it doesn’t want one of the stories told.

David Harsanyi is a senior writer for National Review and the author of First Freedom: A Ride through America’s Enduring History with the Gun

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