The Associated Press changed a headline Sunday after a backlash from liberals furious at the AP for describing a caravan of migrants heading toward the United States as an “army.”
“A ragged, growing army of migrants resumes march toward US,” read the original headline on the AP story. The AP later changed the headline to replace the word “army” with “caravan.”
Though the AP has used the word “army” to refer to large groups of people besides migrants — including nurses and political activists — many on the political left criticized the news service for its original headline.
“This is not only incorrect, but it enables a racist narrative sold by this @POTUS and his supporters,” wrote liberal Rolling Stone writer Jamil Smith. “Armies invade. These people are running away.”
Words matter. Is it @AP style to call migrants an “army”—above a photo of mothers tending to their infants and toddlers, no less? This is not only incorrect, but it enables a racist narrative sold by this @POTUS and his supporters. Armies invade. These people are running away. pic.twitter.com/p9TBA0y9PG
— Jamil Smith (@JamilSmith) October 22, 2018
“AP borrows language from fascists and refers to child refugees and their mothers fleeing US-fueled violence and poverty as an ‘army,’” wrote left-wing writer Ben Norton. “Truly vile.”
Bob Brigham, a writer for left-wing website Raw Story, accused the AP of spreading “#FakeNews” and a “lie” about the migrant caravan.
Why the coverup? https://t.co/GFmEIiGGZd
— Bob Brigham (@BobBrigham) October 22, 2018
“This may be one of the worst headlines I’ve ever seen from a major media outlet. Pure rightwing framing,” claimed liberal activist Peter Daou.
“Toddlers and their parents are not an ‘army,’” wrote Mother Jones editor-in-chief Clara Jeffrey. “They are not marching. They are struggling. They are not an army, they are a ragtag group of refugees. Words matter.”
Others leveled similar criticisms.
What does the AP Style Guide say about using the word “army” to describe desperate families who lack any guarantee of adequate nourishment as they flee destruction and head on foot across a desert toward a heartless regime that steals children and threatens to deploy a real army?
— Walter Shaub (@waltshaub) October 21, 2018
this is a terrible tweet, AP https://t.co/Q8QDne9Xw7
— Alex H. Kasprak (@alexkasprak) October 21, 2018
— Soledad O’Brien (@soledadobrien) October 21, 2018
The AP did not immediately return a request for comment on the headline change.
President Donald Trump has threatened to close the southern border between the U.S. and Mexico and cease aid to some Central American countries in order to stop the caravan.
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