Media: Stop Using "Alt-Right" Without Context

Media Outlets

Numerous media outlets have covered the so-called “alt-right” without truly explaining who they really are: white nationalists and white supremacists with ideology rooted in racism, misogyny, anti-Semitism, Islamophobia, and xenophobia.

Fortunately the Associated Press just released standards for reporting on the “alt-right” -- urging reporters to avoid using the term without context, thereby normalizing extremist beliefs to a broader audience. By setting these norms, the AP is demonstrating the commitment that all news outlets in our country should make.

Tell the media to stop using the term “alt-right” without context. Call out racism, white nationalism, neo-Nazism, white supremacy and misogyny for what they are.
Petition by
Movement Alliance Project
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

To: Media Outlets
From: [Your Name]

To the members of the media:

Stop doing PR for racists.

“Alt-right” is a term white nationalists and white supremacists use to obscure their overtly racist, anti-Semitic, xenophobic and misogynist agenda. The Associated Press just released a set of standards for reporting on the so-called “alt-right” — urging reporters to “avoid using the term generically and without definition [because it] may exist primarily as a public-relations device to make its supporters’ actual beliefs less clear and more acceptable to a broader audience.” (1)

As an organization that sets standards and norms for journalistic practices throughout the industry, the AP is taking a step in the right direction.

All media outlets need to stop using the term “alt-right” without context. Call out racism, white nationalism, neo-Nazism, white supremacy and misogyny for what they are.

Using the term “alt-right” without context helps normalize extremist groups, creating an environment where increased levels of dehumanization, harassment and violence against Muslims, people of color, women and LGBTQI folks become daily occurrences.

People’s lives are at risk as members of the incoming Trump administration are calling for mass deportation of undocumented people, a ban on Muslims entering the country (2), and suppression of the Black vote (3). The media must hold the administration and white supremacist groups accountable for their actions and stop doing PR for racists.

We need journalists to remain steadfast. News outlets must name white nationalism and white supremacy when they see it — to do otherwise is to mainstream hate as it’s being invited into the White House. The AP has taken the lead and set the standard for the industry — now all news outlets need to follow suit.

News outlets have a very short window to help our communities understand the roots of the new hate crimes being committed in their neighborhoods.

When local television and radio stations, papers and blogs call violent words or acts of white supremacy "alt-right", they make it more possible for the hateful ideas white supremacists espouse to spread.

Don’t do PR for racists (4). Media outlets: call the “alt-right” what it is: white nationalism.

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(1) https://blog.ap.org/behind-the-news/writing-about-the-alt-right
(2) http://www.vox.com/world/2016/11/28/13716038/alt-right-policy-platform-trump
(3) http://talkingpointsmemo.com/livewire/steve-bannon-writing-partner-says-not-such-bad-thing-limit-black-vote
(4) https://thinkprogress.org/thinkprogress-alt-right-policy-b04fd141d8d4#.hc451s57c