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November 09, 2018

AP Avoids Calling Farrakhan Comments "Anti-Semitic"

For some mysterious reason, the Associated Press felt Louis Farrakhan's mutterings on international relations deserve close attention. "Louis Farrakhan, in Iran, warns Trump a Mideast war possible," a Associated Press headline announced, as if the firebrand anti-Semite's views on Persian Gulf tensions are any more newsworthy than David Duke's overview of China's transportation infrastructure.

The subject of the news article, though, wasn't the only thing funny about it. Here's how AP's anonymous author addressed Farrakhan's long history of anti-Semitism:

The 85-year-old Farrakhan, long known for provocative comments widely considered anti-Semitic, criticized the economic sanctions leveled by Trump against Iran after America's pullout from the nuclear deal between Tehran and world powers.

His "provocative" comments are "considered" anti-Semitic. Those comments include descriptions of Jews as "termites," as a "synagogue of Satan," and as responsible for "filth and degenerate behavior," the 9/11 attacks, and evil in general. They are as straightforwardly anti-Semitic as it gets.

So did AP avoid straightforwardly describing Farrakhan's anti-Semitism as "anti-Semitic" due to some journalistic constraint — a disciplined refusal to editorialize or even characterize?

No. A look back at the archives proves the agency's journalists are certainly willing to pass such judgment, for example about David Horowitz who an AP reporter described as "known for anti-Muslim rhetoric." Not known for provocative comments considered anti-Muslim. Just anti-Muslim.

Farrakhan is newsworthy. Not for his prognosticating about Iran, but because he is at the center of an ongoing controversy involving appointed leaders of the Women's March and their expressions of support for Farrakhan. It's particularly important, then, that AP get it right — and be forthright.

Posted by GI at November 9, 2018 04:03 PM

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