Associated Press warns staffers not to call influx at southern border a ‘crisis’ in internal memo

Biden White House has also pushed back against media framing surge of children at border as a 'crisis'

The Associated Press agrees with President Biden’s White House that the situation along the U.S. southern border is not a "crisis," and it instructed staffers not to use the dreaded c-word when reporting thousands of unaccompanied children have attempted to enter the country.

Journalist Julio Ricardo Varela tweeted a series of images from an internal memo the AP distributed warning staffers not to call the situation a crisis. The Associated Press confirmed its authenticity in a statement.

"That is indeed is a memo from AP Vice President and Editor-at-Large for Standards John Daniszewski," an AP spokesperson said to Fox News.


The subject line was "From the Standards Center: A note about the current increase in border entrances," and the internal memo detailed why the AP felt the need to use "accurate and neutral language" in its coverage of the situation along the border.

One of the memo's "tips" revolved around the word "crisis," which the newsgathering service warned reporters not to use.

"The current events in the news – a sharp increase in the arrival of unaccompanied minors – is a problem for border officials, a political challenge for Biden and a dire situation for many migrants who make the journey, but it does not fit the classic dictionary definition of a crisis," the memo said.

"Therefore, we should avoid, or at least, be highly cautious, about referring to the present situation as a crisis on our own, although we may quote others using that language," the memo continued. "If using the word ‘crisis,’ we need to ask of what and to whom."

The memo then noted there could be a "humanitarian crisis if the numbers grow so large that officials cannot house the migrants safely or in sanitary conditions" and migrants could "face humanitarian crises" in their home countries.

"In theory, there could be a security or a border crisis if officials lose control of the border, allowing people to enter unencumbered in large numbers. But, in general, avoid hyperbole in calling anything a crisis or an emergency," the memo said.

Daniszewski on Friday published a lengthy public blog post which echoed the internal memo.

White House press secretary Jen Psaki squashed the characterization of a "crisis" during a briefing on Monday.


"Children presenting at our border who are fleeing violence, who are fleeing prosecution, who are fleeing terrible situations is not a crisis," Psaki said. "We feel it is our responsibility to humanely approach this circumstance and make sure they are ... put into conditions that are safe."

Associated Press style and guidelines are used by news organizations across the globe and often set the tone of the way news is characterized.

Fox News’ Brooke Singman contributed to this report.