The new Associated Press style guide condemns terms like “biological sex”

By Jonathon Van Maren

Earlier this week, I noted in this space that the media’s promotion of gender ideology is eroding public trust in the press – and that this fact is almost entirely absent from discussions about the collapse of faith in the fourth estate. When stories about brawny, bearded, snaggle-toothed rapists are published with “she/her” pronouns and journalists calling the criminals “Janice,” they naturally cast doubt on the trustworthiness of other stories in the same publication. If the press is willing to lie about something so obvious, the thinking goes, what else are they lying about? 

It is cliché to mention George Orwell these days – everyone does it. But when it comes to explaining how totalitarians of all stripes manipulate language for ideological ends, it is difficult to beat 1984. “’Don’t you see that the whole aim of Newspeak is to narrow the range of thought?’ Syme, of the Ministry of Truth, tells Winston Smith. ‘In the end we shall make thoughtcrime literally impossible, because there will be no words in which to express it.’”  

It sounds very much like Syme is describing new updates to the Associated Press (AP) style guide, which sets the standard for how mainstream media uses various terminology and phraseology.

Their new guidelines on gender have again reduced the number of acceptable words and phrases with the intent of narrowing the range of acceptable thought. For example, the AP now tells journalists to avoid using phrases like “biological sex,” a concept trans activists object to, as well as the phrase “both sexes,” since the new social norm is that there is an indeterminate number of genders and biological sex does not exist.  

To further muddy the waters, the AP advises that journalists should never indicate that someone now identifying as transgender was born a girl or boy, but instead use the phrase “sex assigned at birth.” Keen readers and listeners will have already noticed that this phrase has suddenly appeared in reporting across the mainstream media – it was jarring, a couple of weeks ago, to hear a reporter on the CBC use the phrase in a newscast. The orders come from the top; the journalists obediently change their language; the discourse is thus reshaped and defined by the demands of transgender activists. 


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