New York Times Won’t Use Term ‘Alt-Right’ Without Describing as ‘Racist, Far-Right Fringe Movement’

“Let’s avoid using ‘alt-right’ in isolation, without an explanation,” standards editor Phil Corbett says in memo to staff

The New York Times has informed its editorial staff that the term “alt-right” should not be used unless the story also inform readers that the group “embraces white nationalism and a range of racist and anti-immigrant positions.”

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

“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 also told reporters that it “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.”

Last Friday, actor and director Michael Rapaport rejected the phrase, saying members of the movement are more accurately described as “racist pricks,” “Nazi c—suckers” and “scumbags.”

“We’re not giving you that name. We’re not giving you the gentrified name, which is really just a racist f-k. A black, Jew, Asian-hating mother f–er. We’re not calling you the alt-right, the nationalists. We’re not giving you this gentrified name,” Rapaport said on Friday’s edition of the “I am Rapaport Stereo Podcast.”

Richard B. Spencer, the leading ideologue of the alt-right movement, delivered a speech last month in Washington D.C. in which he quoted Nazi propaganda and argued that America belongs to white people.

President-elect Donald Trump recently rejected the beliefs of alt-right movement, telling the New York Times, “I disavow the group.”