Normally when a child is born and leaves its mother’s womb, we call it a “baby”–but not the Associated Press.
On October 17, a security guard at a Manhattan lingerie shop thought that two teen girls were shoplifting and stopped the pair at the front door demanding to see into their bags. But when he looked into one of the bags, he got the shock of his life, finding the corpse of a baby.
The pair of 17-year-olds were leaving a Victoria’s Secret shop when the guard nabbed them. He soon noticed a “strong odor” coming from one of the bags.
The girl told the guard that she had given birth a day earlier and the baby died for some thus far unexplained reason. She put the body in a plastic bag and put it in her carrying bag because, she said, she didn’t know what else to do with the remains.
Both girls were charged with shoplifting, and the teen that was carrying the baby was taken to the hospital for a checkup. The girls have remained unidentified in reports because of their age.
But the AP did make one identification. Here is how the wire service began its story (my bold):
A security guard on the lookout for shoplifters searched two teenage girls as they left a Manhattan lingerie shop Thursday afternoon and discovered one of them was carrying a fetus in her bag, police said.
The next paragraph continued the mischaracterization.
In all, including the headline, the AP called the body of the dead baby a “fetus” four times in a five-paragraph story.
Police confirmed on Friday that the baby had been born alive.