Why Care2 Will No Longer Use the Term ‘Alt-Right’
You have likely heard the term “alt right” more frequently in the past few months. Maybe you assumed the words were simply describing some super conservative right-wing politicians. But if you have been paying attention to the group behind “alt-right,” you will know the term is nothing more than a rebranding for white supremacists.
Who Are The “Alt-Right“?
The Southern Poverty Law Center describes the “alt-right” as the following:
“a set of far-right ideologies, groups and individuals whose core belief is that ‘white identity’ is under attack by multicultural forces using ‘political correctness’ and ‘social justice’ to undermine white people and ‘their’ civilization. Characterized by heavy use of social media and online memes, Alt-Righters eschew ‘establishment’ conservatism, skew young, and embrace white ethno-nationalism as a fundamental value.”
The credit for being clever enough to popularize “alt-right” instead of using the terms “neo-Nazi” or “fascist” goes to Richard Spencer (seen above), who is head of the white supremacist National Policy Institute. As Spencer has even stated himself, the core of alt-right ideology is the preservation of “white identity.”
He coined the term, and thanks to his marketing campaign, leading conservative politicians can work closely with neo-Nazis while avoiding accusations of racism.
In fact, it’s been so successful that Steven Bannon, a top adviser to Mr. Trump, boasts that he turned Breitbart News into “a platform for the alt-right“ but at the same time he denies any connection to white nationalist movements.
Many mainstream media outlets such as the New York Times and CNN have freely adopted the “alt right” term. A case in point comes from a The New York Times piece published on November 20th: “Alt-Right Exults in Donald Trump‘s Election With a Nazi-Era Salute.” The article itself is a brilliant exposition of the rise of the neo-Nazi movement headed by Richard Spencer, but it repeatedly accepts the term “alt-right,” provided by Spencer and his followers, without question.
In a hopeful move, the Associated Press recently clarified that the term is merely a “public relations device” for racist beliefs. The AP style guidelines, which are adopted by many news outlets across the country, now advise writers to consider the following when writing about the “alt right” movement:
“Avoid using the term generically and without definition, however, because it is not well known and the term may exist primarily as a public-relations device to make its supporters’ actual beliefs less clear and more acceptable to a broader audience. In the past we have called such beliefs racist, neo-Nazi or white supremacist.”
Care2 Will No Longer Use This Term
The job of journalists is to describe the world with accuracy. When the media uses the term “alt-right,” it obscures the truth and normalizes white supremacy.
This is why we at Care2 are committed to not using this term going forward. When we describe a neo-Nazi movement that believes the U.S. should be governed by and for white people, we will state so explicitly.
As ThinkProgress put it:
“The point here is not to call people names, but simply to describe them as they are. We won’t do racists’ public relations work for them. Nor should other news outlets.”
If you agree that the media must start telling the truth, please sign our petition calling on the New York Times Editorial Board to take the lead by desisting from using “alt-right” and “white nationalist” in place of Neo-Nazi, White Supremacist or fascist.
Photo Credit: Screenshot from YouTube video