Why say ‘riot’ when you can be vague and sensitive instead, AP Stylebook urges in newest Orwellian guidelines

Nebojsa Malic

is a Serbian-American journalist, blogger and translator, who wrote a regular column for Antiwar.com from 2000 to 2015, and is now senior writer at RT. Follow him on Twitter @NebojsaMalic

The Associated Press Stylebook and Briefing on Media Law, as its full name goes, has effectively dictated the tone of English-language outlets around the world since it first appeared in 1953. It is also required reference material in journalism schools.

So when it embraces vagueness over precision and worrying about “suggestions” and “subtly conveying” things over plain meaning, that rings especially Orwellian – in both the ‘1984’ sense of censoring speech and thought and regarding the corruption of language the author lamented in his famous 1946 essay ‘Politics and the English language.’


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