Accuracy in Media

The Associated Press has outlawed the use of the phrases  “ground zero mosque”  and “mosque at ground zero” in all future reports.

From the AP

AP Standards Center issues staff advisory on covering New York City mosque

Associated Press Deputy Managing Editor for Standards and Production Tom Kent sent the following note to the staff about covering the New York City mosque story and then discussed the guidance and reaction in a Facebook entry headlined “Behind the News: Describing the proposed NYC mosque.”

Aug. 19, 2010

Colleagues,

Here is some guidance on covering the NYC mosque story, with assists from Chad Roedemeier in the NYC bureau and Terry Hunt in Washington:

1. 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.

WE WILL CHANGE OUR SLUG ON THIS STORY LATER TODAY from “BC-Ground Zero Mosque” to “BC-NYC Mosque.”

In short headlines, some ways to refer to the project include:

_ mosque 2 blocks from WTC site
_ Muslim (or Islamic) center near WTC site
_ mosque near ground zero
_ mosque near WTC site

We can refer to the project as a mosque, or as a proposed Islamic center that includes a mosque.

It may be useful in some stories to note that Muslim prayer services have been held since 2009 in the building that the new project will replace. The proposal is to create a new, larger Islamic community center that would include a mosque, a swimming pool, gym, auditorium and other facilities.

2. Here is a succinct summary of President Obama’s position:

Obama has said he believes Muslims have the right to build an Islamic center in New York as a matter of religious freedom, though he’s also said he won’t take a position on whether they should actually build it.

For additional background, you’ll find below a Fact Check on the project that moved yesterday.

Tom

So much for the idea that the AP was an impartial wire service.




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