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The Associated Press Thoroughly Beclowns Itself With Stylebook Change on the Word ‘The’

The Associated Press Thoroughly Beclowns Itself With Stylebook Change on the Word ‘The’

“We recommend avoiding general and often dehumanizing ‘the’ labels such as the poor, the mentally ill, the French, the disabled, the college-educated. Instead, use wording such as people with mental illnesses.”

Just like many dictionary publishers, the Associated Press Stylebook has increasingly become a tool used by far-left types in newsrooms to promote dangerous, agenda-driven word policing, which in turn has better enabled them to control (and further advance) woke agendas and narratives while fostering a forced GroupThink atmosphere.

One of the more notable examples was how the Stylebook declared in October 2020—in the aftermath of the widespread Antifa/BLM-led rioting that took place in Democrat-run cities—that news outlets should not refer to riots as riots. They’ve also issued guidance on the use of “pregnant people” in stories, and have banned the term “illegal immigrants” in articles about illegal immigrants.

But in one of the most epic self-owns in media history, the AP Stylebook had to kinda sorta walk back their recommendation on discontinuing the use of the word “the” in certain instances because of one very glaring example in their original and since-deleted tweet that didn’t quite fit:

We recommend avoiding general and often dehumanizing “the” labels such as the poor, the mentally ill, the French, the disabled, the college-educated. Instead, use wording such as people with mental illnesses. And use these descriptions only when clearly relevant.

Here’s a screengrab of the original tweet:

Hilariously, in a follow-up tweet, the Associated Press corrected its Stylebook, pointing out that including “the French” was “inappropriate”:

In their updated tweet, “the French” was taken out though “the college-educated” was left in for reasons only known to the AP:

The Stylebook Twitter account also posted a follow-up noting they didn’t mean to offend, but still strangely endorsed the general idea from the original tweet regarding “the”:

Naturally, the AP was relentlessly mocked, including by the French Embassy here in the U.S.:

Twitter CEO Elon Musk also got in on the act:

As did the Babylon Bee:

Also, Google would like a word:

Others called out the AP for their admission of sorts that they were dehumanizing the unvaccinated in their prior reports:

Also, does their new rule apply to “the rich”?

In a New York Times write-up on the AP’s “the” guidance, their Paris bureau chief Roger Cohen couldn’t resist getting in a few digs:

How “the French” constitutes a “label” left many French people mystified. It is simply who they are. Paula Froke, the editor of the A.P. stylebook, did not respond to a request for comment.


Jeremy McLellan, a comedian, tweeted that “My favorite movie is The Connection with Frenchness,” a reference to “The French Connection.” It appears unlikely that “pass the fries with a touch of Frenchness” would go down well.

Certainly, no French diplomat has ever complained that being called an envoy of “the French” was somehow dehumanizing. In fact, the French rather like being stereotyped as the French, if that is the issue. They undergo Frenchness with considerable relish.

Dear Associated Press, when even your comrades at the New York Times are unimpressed, you know you’ve lost the argument.

— Stacey Matthews has also written under the pseudonym “Sister Toldjah” and can be reached via Twitter. —


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I was trying to figure out how to fix “The A-holes at The Associated Press wrote …..” and all I could come up with is “Associated Press persons identified as A-Holes wrote ……”.

Ohio State University hardest hit…

    NotCoach in reply to bobtuba. | January 28, 2023 at 6:54 pm

    As a U of M fan that was what popped into my head first as well! All them OSU fans and alumni had no idea they were dehumanizing themselves!

So do we now label “The Associated Press” as “Associated people who pretend to be journalists?”

BierceAmbrose | January 28, 2023 at 7:10 pm

We have a work-around as our Like a God prezzy showed us (and yet there are those who will not hear): “there are those (who are, perhaps, French.)”

“There are those” is meant to be de-humanizing, unlike the simple definite article referring to *a* discernable group that you’re already talking about. “There are those” characterizes and separates — “others” as the kids say these days — without having to do it out loud. Good talker, that one.

The Administration Press knows all this; knew it before they started. One wonders: what, then was the point?

The Gentle Grizzly | January 28, 2023 at 7:25 pm

I am so old I remember word policing taking away the perfectly good word janitor and making it custodian, and Negro became whatever the tribal chieftain black leader of the week told us ot was supposed to be.

“Instead, use wording such as people with mental illnesses., you know, like the drive-by-media for example”

This is nothing new, it’s part of something the PC language police have been pushing since at least the 1980s, that I remember. It’s exactly the same idea as the move against “mummy” that we spoke about a few days ago, and I pointed out in that thread what the idea is. This is a case where the left have taken an essentially valid point, but they run with it to ever-more-absurd extremes.

The essential point is not wrong. It’s something writers should bear in mind. But note that the AP gives it as a very general guideline or suggestion, not a ukase. Which is how it should be. The PC language police, however, are very into ukases, so they’re likely to take this up and make it mandatory where they can.

By the way, the French embassy’s response was just wrong. The original AP suggestion had no objection to “the French embassy”, just as it has no objection to “the disabled reactor”, or even “the blind singer”. The suggestion was to replace the complete phrase “the French” (not “the French X”) with “French people”. An embassy is not a person, the French one is French, and there is only one of it, so “the French embassy” is completely correct even under the AP suggestion.

    I am too old to learn new phrasing and pronouns. I want my Mummy ……

      Milhouse in reply to jb4. | January 28, 2023 at 11:49 pm

      I’m not too old, I just don’t see why I should. When people make suggestions like this I take them on board and give them due consideration, but when they presume to dictate how I use the language I dig my heels in and refuse.

      Concise in reply to jb4. | January 29, 2023 at 12:35 pm

      You mean your “mummified person”

And yes, “the rich”, and “the unvaccinated” are exactly what this AP suggestion is aiming at. Guess whom the AP style guide is directed at? Not the general public. It is directed specifically at its own writers. It tells them how their employer wants them to write for it. It may well be that someone noticed “the rich” and “the unvaccinated” and thought they were poorly chosen, so they sent out this memo to ask writers to think twice about such language.

In what context would you not choose to insult The French.

From the NYTimes write-up:
“…They undergo Frenchness with considerable relish.”

Hold the relish, pass the French’s

BTW french fries have nothing to do with the French.

These idiots take themselves so seriously and actually believe their idiocy brings people closer. That’s what is scary. So out of touch yet so certain they know best and so ready to impose on rights of others. No thanks!

What an article.

At this point. we know the workers at places like the AP are just useful idiots – and corrupt useful idiots, happy to sell their country out.

Their handlers order them to keep chipping away — something not happening in China or Russia.

Suburban Farm Guy | January 29, 2023 at 8:58 am

You’ll be surprised you’re doing the French Mistake, Voilá!

“Writing French people, French citizens, etc., is good. But “the” terms for any people can sound dehumanizing and imply a monolith rather than diverse individuals.”

This sanctimonious and pompous bit of advice coming from racist and race-obsessed Leftists/Dumb-o-crats wh0 are staunchly committed to corrosively and unnecessarily referencing a person’s skin pigmentation, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, and other tribal traits in every statement and screed that they make.

“The” media have jumped a long-bodied chiefly marine fish with a cartilaginous skeleton.

Maybe in the near future we’ll only be permitted to communicate like Zeno did — by wiggling his little finger.

How is “French people are (X)” (or “the mentally ill are (X)”) any less offensive than “The French are (X)” (or “mentally ill persons are (X)”)? These are, after all, styles of writing. They mean exactly the same thing. Classes or categories are still being used to define certain persons, and then some characteristic is applied to them as a group. If offense is to be found, it’s the in the general categorization of groups as if all the members of the group can be thus categorized, something any intelligent person understands isn’t usually (if not ever) true. The categorization isn’t done because it is literally comprehensive, it’s made because it’s convenient, and the listener or reader understands it’s not meant to be literal.

If such terminology is offensive, the AP is merely suggesting how one should write to be less obviously offensive, while still actually being offensive.

American Human | January 30, 2023 at 1:36 pm

“It was intended that when Newspeak had been adopted once and for all, and Oldspeak forotten, a heretical thought should be literally unthinkable, at least so far as thought is dependent on words.”

George Orwell, 1984.