The Associated Press' New Rules for Media Using Misnomer 'Alt-Right'

The Associated Press has officially changed its style guide policy for the term “alt-right,” as well as defining distinctions for terms such as “white nationalist” and “white supremacist.” In an announcement on its blog Tuesday morning, John Daniszewski, the AP's vice president for standards said, “the term 'alt-right' should be avoided because it is meant as a euphemism to disguise racist aims.” 

Daniszewski believes that the term "emphasizes preserving and protecting the white race in the United States.” Instead, the AP will use the term only when the movement refers to itself, always in quotation marks, and included with its definition, “an offshoot of conservatism mixing racism, white nationalism and populism, or, more simply, a white nationalist movement.”

In lieu of the umbrella term, “such beliefs might be termed racist, white supremacist or neo-Nazi.”

Daniszewski recommends sharp precision when writing on extreme groups: “Report their actions, associations, history and positions to reveal their actual beliefs and philosophy, as well as how others see them.”

His post clarified the distinctions between white nationalists, who believe “white people are a distinct nation deserving of protection, and therefore they demand special political, legal and territorial guarantees for whites,” and white supremacists, who believe “whites are superior and therefore should dominate other races.” The AP feels it is important to understand the subtle differences and stray from the overlap and interchangeability.

It also introduced the idea of "anti-fa" or "anti-fascist," the militarized-left group dedicated to combatting white supremacy that the publication anticipates will get a great deal of attention in the coming months.

This change in policy by a mainstream stylebook is poised to influence future reporting on the "alt-right" for countless publications.


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