News organizations often use the Associated Press style book as an un-official “bible” for punctuation, terms and grammar standards for their newspaper and internet content. In the wake of the NSA snooping story broken by The Guardian, the AP needed to admonish their reporters on the appropriate way to describe Edward Snowden, the man who leaked the classified program to reporter Glen Greenwald.
According to Michael Calderone, AP standards editor Tom Kent told his staff Monday that “whether the actions exposed by Snowden and [WikiLeaks source Bradley] Manning constitute wrongdoing is hotly contested, so we should not call them whistle-blowers on our own at this point.”
Given AP’s desire to not pass judgement on Snowden’s actions, it’s informative to re-visit their decision in April regarding the use of the term Islamist:
“An advocate or supporter of a political movement that favors reordering government and society in accordance with laws prescribed by Islam. Do not use as a synonym for Islamic fighters, militants, extremists or radicals, who may or may not be Islamists. Where possible, be specific and use the name of militant affiliations: al-Qaida-linked, Hezbollah, Taliban, etc. Those who view the Quran as a political model encompass a wide range of Muslims, from mainstream politicians to militants known as jihadi.”