Politico Orders Staff to Avoid the Term ‘Border Crisis’…After ‘Trump’ and ‘Crisis’ Used Endlessly

Joseph Simonson at the Washington Examiner reported Friday that Politico is the latest news outlet to order its staff not to use the word “crisis” when reporting on the massive influx of illegal immigrants at the southern border.

An official at Politico characterized this decision as inspired by an earlier “guidance” memo by the Associated Press. Simonson quoted from  an internal Politico memo that mimics the AP warnings:

“Avoid referring to the present situation as a crisis, although we may quote others using that language while providing context. While the sharp increase in the arrival of unaccompanied minors is a problem for border officials, a political challenge for the Biden administration and a dire situation for many migrants who make the journey, it does not fit the dictionary definition of a crisis,” the memo from deputy production director Maya Parthasarathy reads. “If using the word ‘crisis,’ we need to ask of what and to whom.”

…Going forward, the memo explains, Politico staff should avoid using terms “which could portray migrants as a negative, harmful influence.”

“Avoid emotive words like onslaught, tidal wave, flood, inundation, surge, invasion, army, march, sneak, and stealth.”

In other words, “crisis” is in itself somehow a racially offensive term.

On her own personal website, twenty-something Parthasarathy earlier lamented society being stuck in a default of whiteness: 

Being a person of color is like this: When coming back to France, where I was studying abroad, from a weekend in London, I was with three white/white-passing friends. All three of them entered the country without a problem, but I had to wait several extra minutes while the agent on duty took my fingerprints.

Mollie Hemingway quickly noted on Friday that a search for “crisis Trump” on Politico found over 14,000 results.

What changed? https://t.co/IP6MmYY8uX pic.twitter.com/GJDojs2unz
— Mollie (@MZHemingway) April 22, 2021

Our search found immediate reference to “Trump’s impeachment crisis,” Trump’s “coronavirus crisis,” a “crisis with Iran,” a “Christmas crisis with North Korea,” “Trump unloads on Romney as Ukraine crisis deepens,” and “Trump careens from crisis to crisis,” all on the first page of results. Simonson lists other uses of the C-word: 

In October of last year, the outlet reported on the “crisis” of “empty retail space.” Politico declared a “police brutality crisis” last June following the death of George Floyd.

Politico regularly uses ” climate crisis” in its stories, and the now-forbidden ” border crisis” has even earned its own tag, presumably to generate traffic from Google.

Under President Barack Obama, the country faced a ” judicial vacancy crisis,” according to Politico.

A Politico editor acknowledged “an immigration crisis” in March but cautioned readers that it’s “not the one you think.”

He also noted that Biden himself goofed and referred to the border as a ” crisis” earlier this month. “We’re going to increase the number. The problem was that the refugee part was working on the crisis that ended up on the border with young people,” he said following a round of golf.

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