Associated Press urges journalists to drop phrases such as 'the French,' 'the college education'

Says labels are "often dehumanizing."

Updated: January 26, 2023 - 1:38pm

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The Associated Press on Thursday drew criticism for promulgating a newly proposed rule that journalists drop "the" qualifiers when reporting on large groups of people. 

"We recommend avoiding general and often dehumanizing 'the' labels such as the poor, the mentally ill, the French, the disabled, the college-educated," the AP Stylebook wrote on Twitter.

"Instead, use wording such as people with mental illnesses," the organization urged. "And use these descriptions only when clearly relevant."

The suggestion drew rebukes and mocking responses from users online, many of whom jocularly offered suggestions in line with the new rule.

"People who are French," one Twitter user said.

"People of French experience," another wrote.