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Washington Times Ends Gay ‘Marriage’ Scare Quotes

Washington Times Ends 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.

via Memeorandum

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About James Joyner
James Joyner is the publisher of Outside the Beltway, an associate professor of security studies at the Marine Corps Command and Staff College, and a nonresident senior fellow at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. He has a PhD in political science from The University of Alabama. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter.

Comments

  1. rodney dill says:

    Just so they don’t go back to terms like ‘Extremist Conservative’ that came into more common use during Clinton 42’s term.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  2. Patrick T. McGuire says:

    2) Gay is approved for copy and preferred over homosexual, except in clinical references or references to sexual activity.

    Since ‘gay’ refers obliquely to sexual activity, how does this make any sense?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1

  3. James Joyner says:

    Since ‘gay’ refers obliquely to sexual activity, how does this make any sense?

    I think he’s saying TWT would use “gay marriage” but “homosexual sodomy” or the like. Or, basically, to use “homosexual” only in cases where the paper would use “heterosexual” in the same context.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  4. rich cucolo says:

    Many resident aliens (green card holders) do not ever intend to become immigrants. For example, an Englishman assigned by his company for a year to its New York office. So too, many illegal aliens
    have no intention of becoming immigrants. An immigrant is one who adopts his new country and leaves the old one behind.
    Alien is the Latin word for foreigner which itself comes from the Latin word for “other”. Since Roman times the word alien denotes a foreigner. The French, Spanish, Italian, and Portuguese words for foreigners mean “stranger” Will they be changing as well?
    Calling them “immigrants” does nothing to change their legal status as “unauthorized aliens” under
    Title 8 of the United States Code. (8USCA1324)
    This change is simply a cave-in to political correctness.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1

  5. McGehee says:

    “Gay” marriage is a misnomer anyway — it should be “same-sex” marriage (as my own blog’s unwritten stylebook prescribes) since if legalized there won’t be any police to make sure two persons of the same sex seeking to marry, are in fact gay.

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  6. floyd says:

    “”Sounds reasonable enough. I grew up with “illegal aliens” but it’s no longer a politically neutral term.””
    “”””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””
    True , but “illegal immigrant” never has been!

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