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The MSM continues its Orwellian whitewashing of the English language in AP Stylebook

By Rachel Alexander
web posted February 13, 2023

The MSM has been criticized for years due to its left-wing bias, but much of it is built in due to blind adherence to the Associated Press Stylebook. AP style used to merely cover things like how to capitalize words, avoid the Oxford comma used in academia, etc. This has been vastly expanded to instruct journalists substantively now, with Orwellian language changes. Much of it is needlessly inflammatory, using divisive words when discussing anything related to the right’s perspective. At the same time, anything regarding the left-wing agenda is sugarcoated, using watered-down, peaceful sounding words and phrases. 

The most recent ridiculous change occurred in January, when the AP Stylebook tweeted that it was offensive to use the phrase “the French.” In a sense of irony, the AP Stylebook deleted the tweet, stating that it was inappropriate to use the phrase. 

The phrase “late-term abortion” was banned in December, claiming it’s not accurate since abortions allegedly don’t take place during the last week of pregnancy. However, according to the pro-abortion Guttmacher Institute, about 12,000 late-term abortions occur annually. “Crisis pregnancy centers” are supposed to be put in scare quotes and instead referred to as “anti-abortion centers.” 

The transition to gender neutral language includes avoiding the word “female” because “it can be seen as emphasizing biology and reproductive capacity over gender identity. It can also sometimes carry misogynistic tones that may vary in severity by race, class and other factors.”

Other gender neutral directives include dropping the use of the words “heroine,” “businessman,” “manpower,” “waiter,” “waitress,” and “manhunt.” “Pregnant people" or "people seeking abortions" is now used. “She” is no longer acceptable to refer to nations, ships, storms or voice assistants; instead journalists must use “it.” Last April, the AP Stylebook instructed journalists to use the pronoun “they” to describe people who prefer it. 

The 2022 version of the AP Stylebook directs journalists to avoid use of the word “terrorist” or “terrorism” except when it can be directly attributed to authorities or others, or to describe a handful of well-known events like 9/11. 

It also includes more than 25 new or revised entries regarding gender, sex and sexual orientation, including new words and phrases like “gender-fluidity” and “genderqueer.”

There were many changes in the last couple of years related to race. If “racism” isn’t appropriate, the AP Stylebook helpfully offers alternatives: “xenophobic,” “bigoted,” “biased,” “nativis” and “racially divisive.”

The AP Stylebook switched from “African-American” to “Black,” and explained why “white” will still be lowercase in 2020. Its muddled explanation suggests that it’s because white supremacists capitalize the word. 

Journalists are encouraged to use the more inflammatory “racist” instead of "racially charged" or "racially motivated." “Thug” cannot be used since it is “code for a racial slur,” and “unarmed Black man” is considered offensive. Once a suspect has been apprehended, it is no longer acceptable to mention their race. “Caucasian,” “brown,” “mixed-race,” “person of color,” “BIPOC,” “Aborigine,” “reverse discrimination” and the phrase “Black, Indigenous and people of color” are now considered offensive.

There are numerous words and phrases associated with Native Americans that are banned. They include “Indian summer,” “warpath,” “hold down the fort,” “circle the wagons, “Indian giver” and “powwow.” 

The word “looters” is discouraged since it “has carried racial overtones in the past.” Instead, it’s recommended to say, “A group of people at the protest broke into the store and took whatever was on the shelves.” A helpful explanation adds, “people sometimes steal to obtain water, food, medicine or essentials to survive.”

Similarly, the word “riot” is discouraged since “Focusing on rioting and property destruction rather than underlying grievance has been used in the past to stigmatize broad swaths of people protesting against lynching, police brutality or for racial justice…”

However, the AP Stylebook still cleverly made sure it was OK to refer to the J6 protesters as offensively as possible. After J6, the guide came out with “How to describe the events at the U.S. Capitol.” It said instead of continuing with what journalists had been using about J6, which was “protest,” “chaotic protest aimed at thwarting a peaceful transfer of power,” a “melee” or “raucous, out-of-control scene,” the language should be “insurrection” or something much stronger. 

The AP Stylebook tries to control what journalists do on their social media. It instructs journalists about J6, “Please refrain from expressions of personal opinion about these political events in your social media or contacts with others.” MSM journalists routinely violate this, but rarely does it result in disciplinary action from their employers.

Another word now considered offensive is “able-bodied,” which is replaced by “people who don’t have disabilities” or “nondisabled.” “Special needs” and “special education” are now considered offensive. “Senior citizens,” “seniors” and “elderly” have been replaced by “older adults” or “older people.” 

“Gypsy moth” has been replaced by “spongy moth” since “gypsy” is now considered offensive. “Child-free” and “childless” are “demeaning” so have been replaced by “doesn’t have children.”

The AP Stylebook prominently features a post from 2013 stating that “illegal immigrant” can no longer be used. They also forbid “illegal alien” or “undocumented.” Another post prominently highlighted is the offensive language adopted in 2015 to refer to people who don’t buy into manmade global warming. “Our guidance is to use climate change doubters or those who reject mainstream climate science and to avoid the use of skeptics or deniers.” 

Not all of the mainstream media uses the AP Stylebook, some publications like The New York Times have their own style guides. But they are very similar substantively. 

So what can we do about this problem, instead of just complaining? I am coming up with my own style guide for journalists on the right, that will include talking points and more. Instead of “election denier” and “the big lie” we will use “election fraud denier.” Instead of “no evidence of voter fraud,” we will use “cheaters.” As George Orwell showed in 1984, those who control the language control the culture. ESR

Rachel Alexander and her brother Andrew are co-Editors of Intellectual Conservative . She has been published in the American Spectator, Townhall.com, Fox News, NewsMax, Accuracy in Media, The Americano, ParcBench, Enter Stage Right and other publications.

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