By Sylvia Stead
The Globe and Mail
Last November, I said the term alt-right should be avoided whenever possible and if it must be used, in a quote for example, “it should always be explained in transparent and blunt terms.”
The term is deliberately misleading. It sounds harmless – almost trendy – when its real purpose is to make white nationalists, white supremacists and neo-Nazis sound less frightening. I said this is not an alternative to the right wing, as it might sound, it is “a racist movement” and “its views and positions are vile.”
My concern was followed the next day by a note from senior editors to all staff at The Globe that said: “The term alt-right refers to a collection of groups or individuals espousing racist, fascist or white-supremacist ideologies. We should avoid this term as much as possible. If we must use it, in a quote, for example, we should provide a definition of the term.”
I checked the archives and the term has been used 90 times since The Globe agreed with readers that it should not use “Orwellian Newspeak” and made-up words. This was the only use in a headline, where there is no context or explanation for the term. The articles explain what this term really means, and the headlines on recent articles refer to white supremacists or white nationalists in the march on Charlottesville and other marches.