AP Stylebook Ruling: Don't Use 'Riot,' It 'Stigmatizes Broad Swaths' of Rioters

October 1st, 2020 4:57 PM

The Associated Press Stylebook has transformed from the "mainstream" guide to news writing into a Manual of Political Correctness. In this latest installment, AP's word-painting gurus want to discourage the terms "riot" and "rioters," because it has been used to "stigmatize broad swaths" of people working for a just cause.

On Wednesday, the AP Stylebook Twitter account proclaimed a new policy: 

New guidance on AP Stylebook Online:

Use care in deciding which term best applies:
A riot is a wild or violent disturbance of the peace involving a group of people. The term riot suggests uncontrolled chaos and pandemonium. (1/5)

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, going back to the urban uprisings of the 1960s. (2/5)

"Riot" is a pejorative word, and if you're in the middle of a riot, it would feel like a negative experience...even if you don't end up in the hospital. Clearly, no one at the AP has a storefront that's been vandalized or burned out.

The Associated Progressives are so hypersensitive to the Left at this point, that using the word "riot" in a news story is actually considered more impolite than the actual rioting and property destruction. 

The lecture continued, as AP insisted Maxine Waters weasel words like "unrest," "uprising," or "revolt" are better terms: 

Unrest is a vaguer, milder and less emotional term for a condition of angry discontent and protest verging on revolt. (3/5)

Protest and demonstration refer to specific actions such as marches, sit-ins, rallies or other actions meant to register dissent. They can be legal or illegal, organized or spontaneous, peaceful or violent, and involve any number of people. (4/5)

Revolt and uprising both suggest a broader political dimension or civil upheavals, a sustained period of protests or unrest against powerful groups or governing systems. (5/5)

It's fascinating that a Stylebook would encourage "vaguer, milder" euphemisms on their favored "racial justice" protests. Because on race, AP's Stylebook cops also instruct writers "Do not use euphemisms for racist or racism when the latter terms are truly applicable...Avoid racially charged, racially motivated or racially tinged, euphemisms which convey little meaning." (Bold is mine, italics in the original.)

The only linguistic consistency here is pleasing the Left. 


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