Revealing guidelines from the Society of Professional Journalists

Crafting language in an effort to reconfigure attitudes

Ah, diversity.

Here are just a few of the guidelines. How nice to know that white supremacists and “radical anti-abortionists” are grouped in with Islamic terrorists. Oops! That’s a black-balled phrase.

– When writing about terrorism, remember to include white supremacist, radical anti-abortionists and other groups with a history of such activity.

– Use photos and features to demystify veils, turbans and other cultural articles and customs.

– Avoid using word combinations such as “Islamic terrorist” or “Muslim extremist” that are misleading because they link whole religions to criminal activity. Be specific: Alternate choices, depending on context, include “Al Qaeda terrorists” or, to describe the broad range of groups involved in Islamic politics, “political Islamists.” Do not use religious characterizations as shorthand when geographic, political, socioeconomic or other distinctions might be more accurate.

– Avoid using terms such as “jihad” unless you are certain of their precise meaning and include the context when they are used in quotations. The basic meaning of “jihad” is to exert oneself for the good of Islam and to better oneself.

– Avoid the phrase “illegal” immigrants.

And not to leave us wondering how to address the issue of same-sex unions, we have additional guidelines provided by the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Society, which has sculpted the issue within the print and electronic media to conform to their standards. Their stylebook supplement is available here.

And, they have thoughtfully included a summertime Pride Primer.

7 Responses to Revealing guidelines from the Society of Professional Journalists

  1. Villanova says:

    This certainly answers the questions raised in the preceding post. Good work! If there were ever any doubts about the way the news media works, this clears them up. It’s all there in black and white.
    (Can I say that?)

  2. John Q. Public says:

    This is my favorite among all of these offensive “guidelines:”

    “When writing about terrorism, remember to include white supremacist, radical anti-abortionists and other groups with a history of such activity.”

  3. Thomas says:

    Brings to mind the old line:
    “My mother thinks I play piano in a brothel. I don’t have the heart to tell her I’m a reporter.”

  4. Janelle says:

    Wierd as it sounds, this is another compliment to Ronald Reagan. His leadership pushed back Orwell’s 1984 back nearly a quarter century.

    Don’t ever call journalism a profession again, unless you are putting it in the same category as “the oldest profession.” Come to think of it, they are about the same these days.

  5. Mr. Conservative says:

    I trust most used car salesmen over the average reporter… Experience has taught me who is more “trustworthy”…

  6. Carrie Mason says:

    A copy of these leftist guidelines for writers has got be in every reporters cube at the Az Republic.

  7. […] Red AZ has previously written about the revealing guidelines from the Society of Professional Journalists and the policy of using words to change […]