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Given recent tragic events and the lack of empathy from those in power (ahem, 45) it’s important for us to call things by their proper names. Journalists and others who work in media are called upon each day to shape language around difficult topics, and the folks at The Associated Press are pushing us to do better.

On Tuesday (August 15), in the shadow of the Charlottesville “Unite the Right” rally, The AP’s blog posted about why we need to take another look at the terms used to describe these groups, such as “alt-right,” “neo-Nazi,” “white nationalists,” and “white supremacists.”

At AP we have taken the position that the term ‘alt-right’ should be avoided because it is meant as a euphemism to disguise racist aims,” said John Daniszewski, AP’s vice president for standards. “So use it only when quoting someone or when describing what the movement says about itself.”

Daniszewski recommends that journalists use quotation marks around the term or use phrasing such as “the so-called alt-right.” He’s also made it a point within the piece to make the distinction between white nationalists, white supremacists, and neo-Nazis. Also of note: A new umbrella term has also emerged for those on the far left who resist neo-Nazis and white supremacists; “antifa” is short for “anti-fascists.”

With the president and his followers denouncing media at every turn, it’s more important than ever for journalists to tell their stories effectively and ethically. Read the full post for a primer on how to use these terms effectively and correctly.

SOURCE: The New York Times, The Associated Press


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What The Term ‘Alt-Right’ Really Means — And Why We Should Avoid Using It  was originally published on