Associated Press To Staff: Don’t Call It The “Ground Zero Mosque”

The Associated Press tells its reports to stop using the phrase "Ground Zero Mosque." That's a good thing.

The Associated Press has issued a memo to staff reporters about future reporting on the controversy surrounding the proposed Islamic community center in Lower Manhattan:

The Associated Press, one of world’s most powerful news organizations, issued a memo today advising staff to avoid  the phrase “Ground Zero mosque.”

The Upshot reported Tuesday that the AP started using the phrase “Ground Zero mosque” in  some headlines in late May. The New York Times, for one, has consciously avoided that phrasing.

The AP began using the phrase as the controversy over the proposed Islamic cultural center and mosque in Lower Manhattan started bubbling up to the national level. Many news organizations, across platforms, routinely dub the project the “Ground Zero Mosque.”

The AP has always been clear in the text of stories that the project would be built two blocks from Ground Zero and not on the actual site. But AP headlines, at times, ran with the phrase adopted by opponents of the project and amplified by the media.

Now the news organization is taking steps to make sure that no longer occurs.

From the memo itself:

We should continue to avoid the phrase “ground zero mosque” or “mosque at ground zero” on all platforms. (We’ve very rarely used this wording, except in slugs, though we sometimes see other news sources using the term.) The site of the proposed Islamic center and mosque is not at ground zero, but two blocks away in a busy commercial area. We should continue to say it’s “near” ground zero, or two blocks away.

Not surprisingly more than a few conservative blogs are running with this in semi-Outrage of the Day fashion. Red State says that the AP is taking sides in the dispute. for example, and Newsbusters calls the memo “unusual.” but this actually strikes me as a good move on the AP’s part.

The term “Ground Zero Mosque” is a term that has been invented by the opponents of the project as a pejorative designed to associate in the minds of the public the attacks of September 11th, Islam, and the project. It ignores the fact that what Park 51 would actually be constructing is a multi-story community center that would include a swimming pool, meeting areas, a library and research area, and, yes, an area for Muslims to pray.  When journalists call it the “Ground Zero Mosque,” they are adopting the rhetoric of the opposition and aiding their propaganda campaign. I can understand why the AP would not want to do that.

FILED UNDER: Islam, Media, Religion, US Politics
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010. Before joining OTB, he wrote at Below The BeltwayThe Liberty Papers, and United Liberty Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. Fausta says:

    Doug, the Burlington Coat Factory building was damaged on the morning of Sept 11 2001 by parts of one of the planes that crashed into the World Trade Center. It IS at Ground Zero.

  2. Zelsdorf Ragshaft III says:

    I agree the term Ground Zero is a bit confusing. The term could refer to the spot where the first Trinity test took place. Ground Zero might also refer to the ground below where the urainum bomb went off at Hiroshima. The better name would be what is actually is. The Victory of the 19 Martyrs Mosque. I know Doug, you gather your informed opinions from viewing John Stewart on Comedy Central. I suggest you take a look at the Day by Day cartoon. They have you nailed today. Cowardice for conviction and syntax for sensibility. I wonder just how many times a blogger has to be on the wrong side of issues from the American public before questions should be asked about that bloggers loyalty to this nation.

  3. An Interested Party says:

    “The Victory of the 19 Martyrs Mosque.”

    See what happens when someone gathers his “informed” opinions from WorldNut, er, NetDaily…

    “I wonder just how many times a blogger has to be on the wrong side of issues from the American public before questions should be asked about that bloggers loyalty to this nation.”

    *Chuckle*

    Ladies and gentlemen, may we present Joe McCarthy…

  4. mantis says:

    Ed Driscoll gets in the game with an odd response. After detailing the AP memo, he then writes:

    Curiously though, the developers of the mosque that dare not speak its location referred to it as…the “new muslim center near ground zero” as early as May:

    With some Tweets as evidence. What’s his issue here? Since it states quite clearly in the AP memo, which Ed copies, that “mosque near ground zero” is acceptable, it seems to me he is implying that the AP is accepting the mosque developers terminology because they are taking sides, as if “near ground zero” were some convoluted misrepresentation or something. He then poses the question:

    Say, does AP defend other religions as vigorously?

    Apparently to Ed, stating facts clearly (the mosque is near ground zero, not at ground zero) is “defending” Islam. How exactly, he doesn’t say.

    Weazel Zippers whines:

    Good grief…FYI: Unless the mosque is on the lip of the crater it isn’t considered Ground Zero…

    Well, yeah, and?

    Gateway Pundit responds as you would expect:

    Honestly, is there anything this leftwing media will not do to prop up this radical president and Congress?

    Especially amusing since GP and others have taken to calling it the “Ground Zero Victory Mosque.”

  5. tom p says:

    Doug, You are a secret Muslim lover.

  6. tom p says:

    Mantis, IP, you too.

  7. MichaelW says:

    The term “Ground Zero Mosque” is a term that has been invented by the opponents of the project as a pejorative designed to associate in the minds of the public the attacks of September 11th, Islam, and the project.

    What? Imam Rauf and the Cordoba Project are making that association. From the AP piece itself:

    To be sure, the center’s association with 9/11 is intentional and its location is no geographic coincidence. The building was damaged in the Sept. 11 attacks and the center’s planners say they want the center to stand as a statement against terrorism.

  8. TheLastBrainLeft says:

    The term “Ground Zero Mosque” was coined by the developers themselves, not the opposition. When you have to lie to further a talking point, you know the battle is over and you’ve lost.

  9. mantis says:

    The term “Ground Zero Mosque” was coined by the developers themselves, not the opposition.

    Prove it.

  10. John425 says:

    Just more leftist political correctness crapola. Just like never reporting the party affiliation of a crooked politician unless he’s a Republican. Who knows- maybe a group of disaffected Iranian Bahai in an airplane will give Park51 their own designation of Ground Zero.

  11. Zelsdorf Ragshaft III says:

    Mantis, that is the same brand of BS your ran at Wizbang that got you banned. I do not think you have to worry here. Suggestion. Have someone read to you what the people at Powerline wrote on the topic. I know that is challenging so maybe if you just had someone you trust (?) read it to you. Sems landing gear from one of those Boeing 757s that hit the WTC landed on the building the Victory of the 19 Martyrs Mosque is to be built. Sadly this has become a hiding place for the likes of Mantis. Is Lee Ward next? I look forward to reading and commenting on a written collaboration between Manits, Anjin-San and Lee Ward, with comments by Doug.

  12. At least as loyal as you are says:

    And how far should the boundaries of the racial/religious hygiene zone around the WTC extend? Will a mile satisfy you? How dare you tromp on the free speech rights of bloggers by questioning their loyalty!

    “No, the demons are not banished; that is a difficult task that still lies ahead. Now that the angel of history has abandoned the Germans, the demons will seek a new victim. And that won’t be difficult. Every man who loses his shadow, every nation that falls into self-righteousness, is their prey…. We should not forget that exactly the same fatal tendency to collectivization is present in the victorious nations as in the Germans, that they can just as suddenly become a victim of the demonic powers.”

    – C.G. Jung, “The Postwar Psychic Problems of the Germans” (1945)

  13. anjin-san says:

    Clearly AP is now under Sharia Law…

  14. john says:

    Nice to see the AP doing this. Now I expect them to stop using the term “anti-abortion” lest they be accused of aiding a propaganda campaign.

  15. sam says:

    WWJD writes:

    “Just like never reporting the party affiliation of a crooked politician unless he’s a Republican.”

    Don’t be stupid (hard as that may be for you).