AP style

Rich at threedonia.com writes about an AP article and putting the least important piece of the story at the end:

They ran a nineteen paragraph, 703 word story yesterday. When do the writers first mention Hasan’s terrorist connections? In paragraph nineteen (aka: the last paragraph), after 649 words of the story (aka: after 92% of the story has been written), we finally get this:

“The FBI learned late last year of Hasan’s repeated contact with a radical Muslim cleric in Yemen who encouraged Muslims to kill U.S. troops in Iraq. President Barack Obama already has ordered a review of all intelligence related to Hasan and whether the information was properly shared and acted upon within government agencies.”

This then, according to AP’s own stylebook, is the least important part of the Hasan story. Hasan’s terrorist connections (though we note that AP reporters Anne Gearan and Pauline Jelinek scrupulously avoid the use of the “T-word”) are deemed less important than: Army personnel policies, Army mental health services, suicide rates in the Army, the formation of an investigative panel and making the questionable point that Hasan opened fire on “mostly unarmed soldiers and civilians” (emphasis added) – among other things.

Right on, Rich. The AP “style” plus their biases and irresponsibility continues to push people away with a world view that many readers not only detect, but reject absolutely.

In fact, I believe that one major factor in the decline of newspapers is that industry’s near-complete dependence on the AP for non-local news. Life is too short to read anti-American lies and spin every damn day. More and more people have probably said, like I have, “why do I need this in my life?” I started skipping AP stories routinely about 3 years ago.

The WSJ, on the other hand, is doing just fine. They don’t use the AP, as far as I know.

I hear news types whining constantly about the Internet, and how valuable their role in our society is, and on and on. I never hear any of them say “you know, maybe the monolithic biased content was a problem since only 40% of the country sides with us”.


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