AP ignoring its own style guide in coverage of Ferguson shooting

The Associated Press Stylebook informs the stylistic practices of a large majority of news outlets in the United States. But it now appears as though the AP is violating its own rules in the coverage of the shooting death of 18-year-old Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri on August 9.

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As TheBlaze reports, the stylebook states news reports should “use man or woman for individuals 18 and older.” Brown was 18-years-old at the time of his death, and yet the AP has routinely referred to him as a “teen” or “teenager” in its photo captions, headlines, and articles.

“So they’re ignoring their own stylebook so that they can, you know, make it sound like he’s younger and he’s not, I don’t know, accountable, he’s not responsible, to add more empathy,” Pat said on radio this morning.

On Monday’s Mediaite’s Eddie Scarry published an article highlighting the AP’s inconsistencies. He cited two specific examples

Why, then, are AP reports on the shooting of 18-year-old Michael Brown solely referring to him as a “teen” and “teenager”?

“Don’t know’ if Missouri teen shot with hands up,” reads one AP headline from Monday. “County autopsy: Unarmed teen shot 6 to 8 times,” reads another.

According to an update on the story posted Monday night, the AP has since made changes to the two stories referenced in Scarry’s column:

UPDATE — 10:28 p.m. ET: Two of the AP stories referenced in this post were modified after this post published. One report changed the word “teen” in its headline to call Brown by his last name. The second removed the word “teen” from the body text and put “man” in its please. Neither report has an update on them with a reason for the alteration. Other reports still refer to Brown as a “teen.” We’ve once again requested comment from AP spokesman Paul Colford, who one other media reporter told us is “usually prompt” at returning media requests.

In light of the updates to the articles in question, one can’t help but wonder if the editors at the AP simply didn’t catch the errors or if they were hoping to not get caught. Regardless, it will certainly be worth keeping an eye on AP reports going forward.

“You got to ask the question: Why are [they] doing that,” Pat asked. “Why are [they] ignoring your own rules when that’s what they call for? I don’t know.”

Front page image courtesy of the AP

  • http://spsrchaplain.org Ward Clinton

    It is part and parcel in supporting the agenda of their far-left puppet master.

  • Nunya bidness

    Why don’t you conservatives practice what you preach? First it’s our children. Who’s kids do you think they will go for next?


    • Picachu1

      Because he’s not a kid, Dumas. He bulrushes a officer with intent to take him down and his weapon. Do u think he’d hesitate for a second to use it on the officer. If my kid is out robbing and hurting ppl then it’s the life he’s chosen because no one taught him better. If they shoot him it’s the consequences that come with that life style. Choices have consequences. Choose and be ready for the consequences you chose. So choose well.

  • Penny

    Because Glenn it’s all for ratings and to keep it going. Even after the video was released they still continued to call him an unarmed teen. Just to make matters worse before even getting all the facts. It’s sad really, how everyone jumps on the bandwagon. No one wants the truth even when it slaps you in the face. M. Brown is a huge man and he used it for intimidation to steal and use his size for harm! My question is, will this officer get a fair trial? How can his family stay safe? They are calling it murder! They don’t want the facts! The media interviewed the man that was with M. Brown that was apart of the robbery and he LIED! Autopsies has proven that. Now he is going to have how many autopsies? As many as it takes until it shows what they want it to… you know I know and other people with common since knows it.

  • aqua71755

    I have already seen pictures of Michael Brown shown at about 15 years old to try to make him younger. At 18 and as large as he is, he is an adult nothing less. Why aren’t these store owners defending their stores like in LA during the riots years ago. I would be the store is their life and insurance will not repay for all the damage and missing inventory. Remember Uncle Joe Biden says use a shot gun to defend yourself and property.

  • Shane

    The AP has a liberal bias; that is clear.

  • Grmama3

    An 18 yr. old thief is a “teen?” An 18 yr. old who joins the military and goes to war is a MAN.

  • bdsconserv

    seems to me The Blaze also kept referring to mike brown as a teen/teenager.

  • http://www.mrchrisg.com/ mrchrisg.com

    The MSM did the same with Trayvon Martin. Showing pix of him as a 12 year old little boy, not the punk-thug wannabe he was.

  • Peter LaMarck

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