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National

Life on the List: Why Reporters Should Stop Using “Predator”

[floridaactioncommittee.org  5/22/18]

“The anonymity of the Internet has allowed predators to easily hide or misrepresent themselves.” – ABC News, August 2017

“Concerns about sexual predators have led communities in 30 U.S. states to adopt laws limiting where registered sex offenders can live.” – Reuters, November 2015

“Convicted Sexual Predator Allowed to Stay in Hotel During Cancer Treatments” – WFTV 9, May 2017

In May, the AP Stylebook changed its guidelines for how reporters should refer to people with substance abuse problems. “Avoid words like alcoholic, addict, user and abuser unless they are in quotations or names of organizations,” says the 2017 version.

For those with addictions, that change won’t just shift how they’re portrayed but how they’re treated. A piece by Zachary Siegel in Slate last month noted that even veteran clinicians were more likely to recommend punitive measures for people described as “substance abusers” and rehab-oriented treatments for those referred to as “people with substance abuse disorders.” Even when people’s conditions are the result of personal choices, reporters avoid charged labels—that’s why those with diabetes aren’t described as “sugar abusers,” Siegel says.

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Join the discussion

  1. 290 air

    Politicians should be referred to as truth predators or TP for short. Kinda like the stuff you wipe your arse with.

  2. Facts should matter

    I’m surprised the media hasn’t run with the “convicted predator” moniker yet.

    They probably will before it’s over with. Anything to ramp up the click-bait, fear mongering propaganda for ratings..

  3. j

    As long as sensationionalism sells news this will continue. News organizations can only spoon feed knowledge of the criminal justice system to the public as it suits their needs.

    Truth deniers will always fill the ranks of lawmakers such as thise trying to passmlaws to ban registrants from public places because an ignorant reading or voting public is what they rely on for the shock and awe factor of either legislation or sensationalism.

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