Bill O'Reilly has been all worked up about that SPJ column by Leo Laurence advising journalists that they should stop using the phrase "illegal immigrant", first misreported by Megyn Kelly at Fox as an SPJ "campaign".
It's worth remembering, first, the core of Laurence's argument -- namely, that identifying undocumented immigrants as "illegal" prejudges them in a way that can only be determined by a court of law: Laurence calls it the "Constitutional Principle":
One of the most basic of our constitutional rights is that everyone (including non-citizens) is innocent of any crime until proven guilty in a court of law. That's guaranteed under the Fifth, Sixth and 14th Amendments of the Constitution, as I learned during four-year post-doctoral studies in appellate law at the California Court of Appeal in San Diego.
The presumption of innocence is an ancient tenet of criminal law. That legal doctrine is basic to our common-law system of jurisprudence. It has also been adapted by many countries following the Na-poleonic, civil-law legal system including Italy, Spain, Brasil, Poland, the Philippines, Russia and the United Nations. It's often expressed by the phrase “innocent until proven guilty,” credited to English lawyer Sir William Garrow (1760-1840).
Simply put, only a judge, not a journalist, can say that someone is an illegal.
So how does O'Reilly respond? With disinformation and disingenuousness:
LEO E. LAURENCE: This is not political correctness. It's a very conservative issue of constitutional law. It just says that in the law and Constitution, everyone is presumed to be innocent until proven guilty in the court of law.
LAURENCE: So, it's not a journalist that can say someone is illegal. It's a judge.