Jim Romenesko's media-news site is inspiring today's round of jokes about servile reporters by noting the Associated Press is trying to get the street space in front of its Washington bureau declared a "prostitution-free zone."
'I’ve been in touch with the commander of the Metropolitan Police Department’s Third District about the resurgence of the prostitution problem in front of our bureau," AP employees were told by Ed Tobias of the wire service's security department. "My email included a request that the 1100 block of 13th Street be designated as a 'prostitution free zone.' If designated as such, police officers would have an easier time making arrests for loitering."
Only his colleagues in the newsroom pressured him not to publish it, at least not in his original draft form:
How convenient. Via Editor and Publisher, the newspaper industry's Audit Bureau of Circulations, in issuing its March 31, 2011 circulation figures, tells us we shouldn't try to compare this year's numbers to last year's:
Because of the new and redefined categories of circulation on this FAS-FAX report, ABC recommends not making any direct comparisons of March 2011 data to prior audit periods.
As readers will see, if the ABC was really interested in enabling us to make apples-to-apples comparisons, it could have done so with appropriate definitional caveats. But it didn't; instead, it revised its definition of "total circulation" this year without disclosing the impact of the switch.
Not surprisingly, it relates to Iraq. The press obviously and bitterly opposed the war from the start, to the point of doctoring photographs, making stuff up, pretending that its sources knew what they were talking about when they didn't, and ignoring enemy atrocities and Saddam Hussein's mass graves for years, while often having their journalistic failures and biases exposed by milbloggers and bloggers. So if one were to have guessed ahead of time where a clear break might occur, Iraq would have been a leading choice.
That break comes in an AP email to staff from "Standards Editor" Tom Kent. He must have or at least should have known that its contents would get out. Jim Romenesko at Poynter Online (HT Legal Insurrection) appears to have posted it first, about 16 hours after Kent hit the "send" button:
Subject: Standards Center guidance: The situation in Iraq
... we should be correct and consistent in our description of what the situation in Iraq is. This guidance summarizes the situation and suggests wording to use and avoid.