After being sentenced to 35 years at Leavenworth for betraying his country, Pvt. Bradley Manning said he wants to live as a woman. This reality show drama would normally be an asterisk in an embarrassing case for the American military.
The absurd request, however, will get mainstream recognition now that the Associated Press (AP) announced that all media who follow its vaulted guide should refer to the Wikileaks source as “her” and Bradley as “Chelsea.” The political correctness in journalism has hit an all-time low.
The “AP Style Guide” is on the desk of every print journalist in America. It is our go-to source for knowing how to correctly write things. For example, I consulted it to know whether to write out “Private Manning” or “Pvt. Manning” in the first sentence of this column. (The judge demoted Mr. Manning from private first class (Pfc.) to the lowest rank before dishonorable discharging him.)
On Monday night, the AP sent an advisory to subscriber editors — which is essentially all professional journalists — that it would “henceforth use Pvt. Chelsea E. Manning and female pronouns for the soldier formerly known as Bradley Manning, in accordance with her wishes to live as a woman.” The rationale was that reporters should use “the pronoun preferred by the individuals who have acquired the physical characteristics of the opposite sex or present themselves in a way that does not correspond with their sex at birth.”
The public reads news in order to know the facts of stories. Let’s be clear. Manning has all male body parts and DNA. His parents gave him the name Bradley. He joined the military as a male soldier. The wish to be called a woman is a psychiatric problem, not a physical one.
Nevertheless, the New York Times’ deputy editor who oversees the copydesk, Susan Wessling, emailed the newsroom Monday night that, “Starting tomorrow, we will move to a new formulation: … Chelsea Manning, formerly known as Pfc. Bradley Manning … ‘Private Manning’ on later references, and ‘she’ for the pronoun.” The highly-trafficked, liberal Huffington Post now just refers to the soldier as “Chelsea Manning.”
The wire service had long been held up as the more reliable nonpartisan source in the industry. However, it has lately become a tool of the left in its effort to use language to persuade the public to buy into liberal ideals.
In April, the AP stylebook sent out a notice to subscribers that the term “illegal immigrants” could not be used to refer to people who have are inside the United States without legal permission or papers.
In fact, they are referring to people are in America from other countries — immigrants — without a valid visa or going through immigration, which is illegal. Thus, illegal immigrant is factually correct.
However, the AP appears to be helping President Obama in his push to give amnesty to millions of illegals by building public sympathy for these people. The AP advised that journalists should instead write that these are people “living in a country illegally” or people“living in a country without legal permission.”
My newspaper, which follows AP’s guide, is not going along with these ridiculous new policies.
In this paper, you will continue to see Bradley Manning called a “he” and “illegal immigrants” in stories about people who are enjoying the benefits of immigration without permission. These terms are both accurate and appropriate. That is what our readers are looking for from a news organization.
Emily Miller is a senior editor of opinion for The Washington Times and author of the forthcoming “Emily Gets Her Gun” (Regnery, Sept. 3).