May 23, 2018

AP Fails to Tag MS-13 Murderer Nicknamed ‘Animal’ As Illegal Immigrant

Tuesday, MS-13 gang member Joel Martinez was sentenced to 40 years in prison for the murder of a 15 year-old boy from a rival gang. The Boston Globe reported on May 14 that Martinez “was captured on video bragging about the slaying.” The Globe also noted that the killer’s nickname is the singular version of the word President Donald Trump used two days later to describe MS-13 members. In its story on Martinez’s sentencing, the Associated Press violated its own Stylebook rules when it failed to note that Martinez is in the U.S. illegally.

Below is that unbylined Tuesday afternoon story found at APNews.com and elsewhere. Its erroneous headlined reference to “members” was still present 18 hours after it originally appeared:

APonMS13MurdererSentenced052218

The rest of this post will focus on the underlined items above.

Is there a better term than “animals” to describe a gang whose “full membership” requirements include murdering someone else? That is what public radio station WBUR in Boston identified as part of MS-13′s “initiation rites” in a December report on Martinez’s guilty plea (Warning: The story’s embedded video and its linked secretly recorded confession transcript are not safe for work):

… The latest guilty plea, by an admitted killer, reveals audio and video evidence of the brutal initiation rites that turn MS-13 recruits into full members.

… A hidden microphone had caught Martinez bragging about how he had killed a member of the rival 18th Street gang. “I stabbed the [expletive] three times, and it was a beautiful thing! Just beautiful.” Strike one.

Then, a hidden camera captured the ceremony rewarding Martinez for the murder by making him a full member of MS-13. Strike two.

Throw in the fact Martinez’s street name was “Animal,” and you might as well throw in the towel.

… The presence of so many violent undocumented gang members whose motto is “kill, rape, control” has drawn the keen interest of Attorney General Jeff Sessions and President Trump in their efforts to eliminate illegal immigration.

“Typically to become a homeboy, a probationary member will have to participate in the murder of a rival gang member,” said (U.S. Attorney’s Office organized crime and gang unit leader Peter) Levitt.

… the mission statement of MS-13 is simple and brutal: “Mara Salvatrucha kills its rivals, extorts people.”

Martinez’s “animal” nickname should be a red flag for those who don’t like Trump’s use of the word. They “might as well throw in the towel” if the that’s what a murdering gang member calls himself.

The AP’s description of Martinez as a “native of El Salvador who lived in Boston” obscured Martinez’s immigration status. As WBUR reported:

“Are you a citizen of the United States?” asked Judge F. Dennis Saylor.

And Martinez gave the same answer almost all the others have in this case. “No.” He’s from El Salvador.

It’s reasonable to believe that AP’s failure to follow its own Stylebook (Page 140) and describe Martinez as someone living in the U.S. illegally was deliberate.

Cross-posted, with possible revisions, at NewsBusters.org.

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