Associated Press clarifies after suggesting term 'the French' is 'dehumanizing'

News agency "did not intend to offend" with earlier remarks.

Published: January 27, 2023 3:00pm

Updated: January 27, 2023 3:13pm

The Associated Press on Friday scrambled to clarify remarks it made earlier this week regarding the use of "the" qualifiers after the news wire was mocked and disparaged online. 

The AP was criticized by commentators after it said this week that reporters should avoid "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," the organization said. "And use these descriptions only when clearly relevant."

After users on social media slammed the AP for suggesting that "the French" was a negative term, the news wire on Friday tweeted that its guidance had contained an "inappropriate reference to French people."

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

The AP overall urged reporters to use qualifying descriptors "only when clearly relevant and that relevance is made clear in the story."

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