Washington Times Editor Endorses 'Gay,' Banishes Illegal 'Alien'

When Wes Pruden was the editor of The Washington Times, reporters complained to outside sources about his editing and style choices, sometimes pummeling reporter’s copy. They called it "Prudenizing." Now that former AP and Washington Post reporter John Solomon is in charge, he’s begun the "Solomonizing." Erik Wemple of Washington City Paper reports that the new boss wants the Times to join the "mainstream" in using sensitive terminology on homosexuality and illegal immigration. From the memo Wemple quotes:

All: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.

A commenter at City Paper sums up what the media establishment will say: "Isn’t it kind of scary that someone simply advocating neutral journalism (Solomon) actually sounds kinda heroic?" That underlines the "mainstream" mistake – that whatever the reigning liberal sensibilities are in our news template, often defined by minority journalist groups, are defined as "neutral." Liberals joke that the Times would put "gay marriage" in quotes, but the media mainstream is so sensitive in the other direction that they don't even want to use "partial-birth abortion" in quotes, so they tie themselves into vague and confusing pretzels about "certain late-term procedures which we don't want to describe out of our fear of being rapped on the knuckles with a ruler by Kate Michelman and Gloria Feldt."The same goes for their sensitivities about illegal immigrants. Wemple highlights his memo report with "amnesty" in quotes. That's a word that the media are almost allergic to using (including the cross-town Washington Post). See my immigration study for more on that.This memo in no way means that Solomon is turning the Times into a liberal newspaper. You'd need more than a lingo change to arrive there. But it does suggest that Solomon has his eyes on impressing the national media elite, and not just impressing the inside-the-Beltway readership of the Times.

Tim Graham
Tim Graham
Tim Graham is Executive Editor of NewsBusters and is the Media Research Center’s Director of Media Analysis