Wednesday, March 29, 2023
HomeWorldTweet from AP Stylebook appears to strain taste and diplomacy with France

Tweet from AP Stylebook appears to strain taste and diplomacy with France

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PARIS: As an exercise in style, the tweet from the Associated Press Stylebook appeared to strain taste and diplomacy: “We recommend avoiding general and often dehumanising ‘the’ labels such as the poor, the mentally ill, the French, the disabled, the college educated.
At least it looked offensive to the French, or perhaps rather to people of Frenchness, or people with Gallic inclinations, or people under the influence of French civilization. The French noted that they had been placed between the “mentally ill” and the “disabled.” Certainly, the French embassy in the US reacted with indignation Thursday to AP’s tweet. It published a spoof on Twitter suggesting that it had renamed itself “the embassy of Frenchness in the US”. “We just wondered what the alternative to the French would be,” said Pascal Confavreux, the embassy spokesperson. Perhaps, as one NBC scribe suggested, “people experiencing a croque-monsieur”.
With the tweet registering 23 million views, 18,000 retweets and cascades of mockery, AP decided on Friday to reverse course. It issued a statement calling its recommendation an “inappropriate” suggestion that had “caused unintended offence”. A second AP tweet removed the reference to “the French” without explaining why writing “the college educated,” for example, could be construed as “dehumanising”. Lauren Easton, the vice- president of AP corporate communications, told the French daily Le Monde that “the reference to ‘the French,’ as well as to ‘the college educated,’ is an effort to show that labels shouldn’t be used for anyone….”


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