Washington Times Ends Gay ‘Marriage’ Scare Quotes
Erik Wemple reports that new Washington Times editor John Sullivan has ended the use of scare quotes for everyday words. He sent out this All Staff email:
Here are some recent updates to TWT style.
1) Clinton will be the headline word for Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton.
2) Gay is approved for copy and preferred over homosexual, except in clinical references or references to sexual activity.
3) The quotation marks will come off gay marriage (preferred over homosexual marriage).
4) Moderate is approved, but centrist is still allowed.
5) We will use illegal immigrants, not illegal aliens.
Sounds reasonable enough. I grew up with “illegal aliens” but it’s no longer a politically neutral term.
As to the shift from homosexual ‘marriage’ to gay marriage, John Aravosis thinks the first change just as important as the removal of scare quotes:
These aren’t small changes. As someone who has fought the journalistic use of the word “homosexual” for years – and a lot of gay groups have – I can tell you that these things matter (and aren’t easy to get changed). Solomon appears to be trying to shift the paper from yellow journalism to actual journalism, at least a bit.
I discussed the “heavyhanded silliness” of the old WaTi practice back in 2005 here and here back when I still took the paper seriously. A year earlier, I wonder why the press didn’t use scare quotes when discussing ‘holy’ cities.