Reminder: ‘When Language Is Politicized, Seek Neutral Words That Foster Understanding’

The news from North Carolina about its gender identity law and from several states about laws allowing businesses to refuse service to LGBT customers make this a good time to reread our guidance on avoiding politicized, or loaded, language. It’s here.

Some key points:

– “Strive to use words and phrases that accurately deliver information without taking sides on emotional or political issues.”

– “In such cases we go with what’s accurate. And err on the side of neutrality.”

– “We also take the time to explain to our audience how certain words or phrases have taken on politically loaded meanings.”

– “Politically loaded language not only violates our commitment to be fair, but also gets in the way of telling good stories.”

Basically, beware the language and labels that any side wants us to use. We figure out for ourselves what’s the clearest thing to say.

(“Memmos;” April 15, 2016)

April 15, 2016

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