Media outlets across the country and around the world are covering the so-called “alt-right” without truly explaining who they really are: white nationalists and white supremacists steeped in racism, misogyny, Islamophobia, anti-Semitism, and other forms of ugly hate.
Fortunately, the Associated Press just released standards for reporting on the “alt-right” and their activities – urging reporters to avoid using the term unless they provide ample context, or otherwise risk normalizing their extremist beliefs to a broad audience (1).
By setting these norms, the AP is making a commitment that every news outlet needs to make, now. Tell the media to stop using the term “alt-right” without context – now is the time to call out racism, white supremacy and nationalism, neo-Nazism, and misogyny for what they are in our communities.
When news outlets discuss Stephen Bannon’s appointment to the White House and his support for the “alt-right”, without mentioning his role in building Breitbart News as a platform for active white supremacy and hate speech towards immigrants, women, LGBTQI people and many others (2), the media is failing our communities and our democracy.
When news reports sanitize the beliefs of the “alt-right”, then dangerous purveyors of hate feel more powerful: free to commit acts of hate in our neighborhoods (3) and egregious acts of violence against us and our communities (4).
Add your name and hold the media accountable to tell the truth about what the “alt-right” means. Tell the media to stop normalizing white supremacy, and to stop doing PR for racists.
News outlets have a very short window to help our communities understand the roots of the new hate crimes being committed in their neighborhoods. Take action now – and spread the word.