Fox News v. Fox News Latino: AP Style Guide Edition


Fox News and Fox News Latino are again reporting the same story using different lenses to appeal to both their conservative audience and a growing Latino culture.

The Associated Press announced this week that it would no longer refer to undocumented immigrants as "illegal immigrants," saying:

The Stylebook no longer sanctions the term "illegal immigrant" or the use of "illegal" to describe a person. Instead, it tells users that "illegal" should describe only an action, such as living in or immigrating to a country illegally.

Explaining the change, AP Senior Vice President and Executive Editor Kathleen Carroll stated that the wire service was "ridding the Stylebook of labels" in other areas and to be consistent, the term "illegal immigrant" will no longer be used. The new entry reads in part: "illegal immigration, but not illegal immigrant. Acceptable variations include living in or entering a country illegallyor without legal permission."

Carroll further said that the term "ends up pigeonholing people or creating long descriptive titles where you use some main event in someone's life to become the modifier before their name."

In an article reporting the AP's move, Fox News Latino featured a photo of a woman holding up a sign that read, "No human being is illegal":

The Fox News Latino article, headlined " 'Illegal Immigrant' Dropped From Associated Press Stylebook," referred to the term "illegal immigrant" as "controversial" and included quotes from racial justice organization The Applied Research Center, which publishes

By contrast, highlighted the story on its front page with a picture of what appeared to be immigrants climbing over a border fence. The headline on the photo read: "AP Rules: Don't Call Him an... 'ILLEGAL?'"

The front page was later updated to feature the photo as a smaller image with a new headline reading: "What's In A Name? AP Under Criticism for Nixing 'Illegal Immigrant'":

The actual article about the AP's decision also included a photo of what appeared to be border crossers:

Fox News' article promoted the conservative notion that the AP made the style change to influence the immigration debate.

Fox News and Fox News Latino have repeatedly tailored coverage of the same news event to pander to their respective audiences.

In a magazine interview earlier this year, Fox News CEO Roger Ailes stated that "Republicans haven't used the right language" on immigration but argued that it was ridiculous to claim that "Fox News Latino is softer on Latinos than Fox News in general."

However, Fox News Latino has acknowledged that it avoids using the term "illegal immigrant" because the "word illegal is an accurate description for actions, but not individuals," according to former managing editor Alberto Vourvoulias-Bush.

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