Saturday, November 27, 2021

NY Times Drops Term ‘Alt-Right’ Unless Story Points Out Group’s ‘Racist’ Positions

*The New York Times put its editorial staff on notice – no one is to use the term “alt-right” again unless the story also informs readers that the group is a “racist far-right fringe movement that embraces an ideology of white nationalism.”

NYT Standards editor Phil Corbett sent a memo to staffers on Friday detailed the decision, according to The Wrap.

“A number of people inside and outside the newsroom have asked about the term ‘alt-right.’ Some have argued that the phrase should not be used at all; they see it as a euphemism that disguises the movement’s racism,” Corbett wrote. “After discussing the issue with several knowledgeable reporters and editors, I don’t think banning the term is the best approach.”

He continued: “Let’s avoid using ‘alt-right’ in isolation, without an explanation (which means it will rarely be appropriate in headlines). We don’t need to adopt one-size-fits-all boilerplate, but any description can touch on some key elements, based on our own reporting about the ‘alt-right’… It’s a racist, far-right fringe movement that embraces an ideology of white nationalism and is anti-immigrant, anti-Semitic and anti-feminist.”

The Associated Press recently made a similar decision, referring to alt-right as “a name currently embraced by some white supremacists and white nationalists to refer to themselves and their ideology, which emphasizes preserving and protecting the white race in the United States in addition to, or over, other traditional conservative positions such as limited government, low taxes and strict law-and-order.”

The AP said, “The movement has been described as a mix of racism, white nationalism and populism” and warned staffers to “avoid using the term generically and without definition.” The AP also noted that in the past, it called similar beliefs “racist, neo-Nazi or white supremacist.”

The Times told its reporters they “can also make it clear that this is the term adopted by the movement itself — by putting it in quotes on first reference, or with a phrase like ‘so-called alt-right’ or ‘who describe themselves as ‘alt-right.’ As always, it’s best to be specific and provide details in describing the views of individuals and groups, rather than relying solely on shorthand labels.”

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