AP Under Attack for Removing Islamophobia, Homophobia from Stylebook

Daniel Greenfield, a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the Freedom Center, is a New York writer focusing on radical Islam. He is completing a book on the international challenges America faces in the 21st century.


First the Associated Press announced that it would continue using “Illegal Alien” instead of “Undocumented American”, “Accidental Border Crosser” or “Beautiful Dreamer” on the grounds that it was well… technically accurate.

Now the AP is throwing out Homophobia and Islamophobia on the grounds that they are inaccurate and conflate prejudice with mental illness. And that has led to outrage hysteria from the usual organs of the left who like sticking to their politicized words once they’ve made enough people aware of them.

“Ethnic cleansing is a euphemism for pretty violent activities, a phobia is a psychiatric or medical term for a severe mental disorder. Those terms have been used quite a bit in the past, and we don’t feel that’s quite accurate,” AP Deputy Standards Editor Dave Minthorn said.

Again, that is accurate, despite the progressive response that adding phobia as a suffix allows it to mean a completely different thing.

The Associated Press is not taking a conservative position here, but we have reached such a point of cultural decay that fact-based positions that derive their grounds from reason and proof are already innately conservative. Or as George Orwell put it, “We have now sunk to a depth at which restatement of the obvious is the first duty of intelligent men.”

The left’s counterattack on behalf of homophobia is already irrational, even from the standpoint of their own interests, because it communicates mental problems when the goal is to communicate bigotry.

Slate argues that homophobia is just like arachnophobia. The argument is wrong on a number of levels. The most simple level where it’s wrong is that the subject under discussion is not even fear. It’s dislike. The Guardian and several other media outlets have churned out pieces arguing that dislike of homosexuality is primarily motivated by fear. But that’s an opinion and the very argument testifies to a news media that is hardly able to distinguish fact-based reporting from opinion-mongering.

Finally there is something Orwellian about describing political or religious views in terms usually employed for mental illness. It skips past discussing what people believe or do to claiming intimate knowledge of their motives and passing judgement on their sanity. It’s reasonable for the AP to opt out of such heavily politicized and inaccurate language that claims to report on the state of mental health, rather than the state of events.

  • http://oldschooltwentysix.blogspot.com/ oldschooltwentysix

    Yes, it seems that one cannot see something different without being viewed as delusional.

    • objectivefactsmatter

      "Yes, it seems that one cannot see something different without being viewed as delusional."

      If you see the facts differently than what they are, for example if you imagine truth to be false, or lies to be true, then yes, you are delusional.

      You can have your own favorite colors, but you can't have your own false facts claimed as "true" or "your view" without being challenged as delusional and wrong.

      What is your favorite color? That question can be safely answered without any concerns about your delusions. Therefore you can "see something different without being viewed as delusional" but there are limits of course, assuming logic and objective facts matter.

  • Mary Sue

    The only "fear" that could possibly be contained within "homophobia" would more likely be "suprisebuttsecksphobia".

  • Ghostwriter

    This seems awfully silly to me.

    • objectivefactsmatter

      It's both silly and serious.

  • http://twitter.com/Kenrick66 @Kenrick66

    "Finally there is something Orwellian about describing political or religious views in terms usually employed for mental illness." When Party Leader O'Brien had Winston Smith on the torture rack, he kept telling him that he was "sick" and needed to be cured. Winston Smith's "mental illness" was his healthy epistemology and metaphysics which were the foundation of his fact-based observation that 2+2 = 4. O'Brien finally convinced him that 2+2 could equal 4, 8, or zero, anything the Party wished. Smith was finally "cured" and set free to await a bullet in his skull. Politcally correct language was created by the Left and its egalitarian allies and has been allowed to infect everyone's mental health.

  • Chiggles

    And let's face it: nobody's afraid of homos.

    • Mike in VA

      I don't know of anyone who is afraid of Islam, either.

      • Chiggles

        Only the people who use the word "Islamophobia."

  • Mike in VA

    Good on the AP for removing "Islamophobia" from its stylebook. The term is so absurd, imprecise and gratuitously misapplied that it doesn't really mean a thing. To paraphrase Orwell, sloppy language leads to sloppy thinking.

  • Patscholar

    I congratulate the AP for taking this stance. A breath of reason in a mad and dangerous world. I disagree that dislike of Muslims or homosexuality is bigoted, however. It is based upon information as toa 1400 year history of murder, pillage and conquering of Christians, Hindus, Zorastorians, Jews, etc. One can oppopse homosexual practices but not the homosexual and that is not bigoted either but based upon thousands of years of traditional wisdom, the fact that male homosexuality leads to dozens of severe and ugly diseases, constituting a public health crisis, knowledge of what the homosexual life style does to too many of its practitioners who suffer from anxiety, depression, drug abuse, other psychological problems due to their sexual practices.

  • Jonathan Ward

    I agree with the AP’s decision and wish all major media outlets would follow suit. The common use by the media today of branding those with dissenting points of view as being mentally disturbed needs to stop.

  • http://twitter.com/shloimo @shloimo

    phobia it's only related to something that potentially carry a particular danger…
    so if you have phobia to person who acclaim that he is about to kill you, G-d forbid
    in this case it's understood, so why i have not to afraid of murderer cause everyone wants to live?
    so to have islamophobia, for example, it's logically and mentally correct
    but if person have judaism phobia, i can ask why, cause where's a danger from such a holy nation?

  • http://twitter.com/shloimo @shloimo

    in our days corruptions and lies among politics reached very high levels (and went beyond of any logic)

  • objectivefactsmatter

    "The Associated Press is not taking a conservative position here, but we have reached such a point of cultural decay that fact-based positions that derive their grounds from reason and proof are already innately conservative."

    Exactly. That's what makes me technically "conservative" by rejecting all of the lies.

  • objectivefactsmatter

    "…the AP is throwing out Homophobia and Islamophobia on the grounds that they are inaccurate and conflate prejudice with mental illness."

    Another small mark of progress.

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  • RoguePatriot6

    I thought a phobia was an irrational fear.
    Fear from what's currently going on in the world with Islam and our current administration flirting with its ringleaders is anything but irrational.

  • Glorfindel

    "Islamophobia" is a term of abuse invented by the Organization of Islamic Cooperation to characterize as a phobia (ie, an irrational fear or hatred) what is actually a sane, justified and morally correct response to the evil that is Islam.