AP Rules on Writing About the ‘alt-right’

AP Rules on Writing About the 'alt-right'

How should the press write about the “alt-right” cabal behind the election victory of Donald Trump, that loosely-affiliated group of folks who look like sharp-dressed young Republicans with odd haircuts who have a “think tank,” but give nazi salutes and speak ill of African Americans, Jews, and non-European immigrants?

The Associated Press has finally decided. After the election. Thanks a lot, AP.

“ ‘alt-right’ (quotation marks, hyphen and lower case) may be used in quotes or modified as in the ‘self-described’ or ‘so-called alt-right’ in stories discussing what the movement says about itself.

Avoid using the term generically and without definition, however, because it is not well known and the term may exist primarily as a public-relations device to make its supporters’ actual beliefs less clear and more acceptable to a broader audience. In the past we have called such beliefs racist, neo-Nazi or white supremacist.


Again, whenever ‘alt-right’ is used in a story, be sure to include a definition: ‘an offshoot of conservatism mixing racism, white nationalism and populism,’ or, more simply, ‘a white nationalist movement.’

— “Writing about the ‘alt-right,'” John Daniszewski, AP Vice President for Standards, Associated Press blog

Of course, not everyone is an editor. Some writers see it another way:

“Keep calling the alt-right ‘the alt-right.’ Soon, it won’t be a euphemism anymore.” Julian Sanchez, Washington Post

Then again, look here.


“News organizations are telling writers to be clear that the alt-right is a racist movement,” German Lopez, Vox


Short link: http://wp.me/p6sb6-oVR

Image from Oxford University Press.

Comments are welcome if they are on-topic, substantive, concise, and not obscene. Comments may be edited for clarity and length.

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