Last summer, regarding the censorship of civic discourse, I asked the rhetorical question, “Who Makes These Rules?” The patent answer, of course, is that the self-anointed “woke” cult feels entitled to transmogrify the language beyond all recognition in their deadly ideological vanity project of recreating human nature and perfecting human relations through the implementation of socialism and identity politics.
Our republic whose founding documents recognize and protect the God-given right to free speech has witnessed some of its most esteemed beneficiaries undermine it. For examples, the Associated Press, Reddit, and the Merriam-Webster Dictionary took it upon themselves to “redefine” words and language in the service of politics; and, as time and again we’ve seen, once these “redefinitions” happen, what follows is the censorship and the cancel culture that enforces it.
At that time, the Associated Press news service (a.k.a., the “Apparatchik Press”) was revising its purported Stylebook to “adopt and promote the preferred language and ideology of the LGBTQ movement, which is sharply at odds with Catholic teaching on transgenderism,” as reported by the Catholic News Agency. These revisions included:
Redefining “transgender” as “a person whose gender identity does not match their sex assigned at birth;”
Informing authors to replace terms such as “biological sex,” “sex change,” and “male or female hormones” (which I’ve just written – EEK!) and by substituting terms like “sex assigned at birth,” and “gender transition;”
Censoring “slurs,” which includes uttering a person’s previous name, i.e., “deadname;”
Cautioning throughout an entire section how, when discussing transgender sports, “not to ‘misgender or imply doubt’ about transgender athletes, specifically males competing in women’s sports,” and so forth.
The CNA article cited Professor Abigail Favale, “a leading Catholic expert on gender issues [who warned] that the changes disregard the inherent dignity of the human body and will have a major impact on society at large.” This University of Notre Dame’s McGrath Institute for Church Life professor frames the issue succinctly, by noting how “[the style book] feels like both catechesis and guidelines – there’s a sense in which the reader is being taught what language to use, as well as how to view the topic.”
So, what’s the current hot button “Don’t!” on the Apparatchik Press’ cancel culture checklist? Per The Daily Signal’s Elizabeth Troutman and Tyler O’Neil:
The Associated Press added an entry to its style guide directing journalists to put the term “crisis pregnancy center” in scare-quotes, and to use “anti-abortion center” instead, to convey that “the centers’ general aim is to prevent abortions…”
The AP added this entry between Nov. 20 and Nov. 27, 2022, according to The Daily Signal’s search… The guide describes the centers as “set up to divert or discourage women from having abortions” and warns writers against “potentially misleading terms” like “pregnancy resource centers or pregnancy counseling centers.” [Emphasis mine.]
In response provided to The Daily Signal, Thomas Glessner, the president of the National Institute of Family and Life Advocates, was blunt:
“It’s disgraceful that so-called journalistic professionals succumb to pro-abortion political activists to do their bidding… These centers are the backbone of the pro-life movement, serving as boots-on-the-ground representatives of a movement that cares deeply for both mom and baby. [Again,] it’s a disgrace that the media have taken such an active stance against these centers, especially at a time in our history when women really need help, acknowledgement, and someone to lean on during a difficult time.”
It is also a difficult, dangerous time for the entire Pro-Life movement.
The AP’s pregnancy center definition follows at least 80 attacks against pregnancy centers since the leak of the Supreme Court’s draft opinion overturning Roe v. Wade in early May, according to the Catholic Vote tracker. Abortion advocates have firebombed and spray-painted the centers, which provide free medical and financial support to pregnant and new mothers, with pro-abortion and anarchist messages and symbols.
This is yet another example of the Apparatchik Press’ and the entire Left’s war on the Pro-Life movement. The Left’s goal is to unilaterally “deadname” Pro-Life movement and muscle its transition in the public’s mind as hateful extremists, which the AP made clear in December when it “issued guidelines on abortion in December, prohibiting the use of ‘pro-life’ and instead advising ‘anti-abortion or abortion-rights.'”
That this war on the Pro-Life movement and crisis pregnancy centers in particular has abetted the escalation in violence against them and their supporters seems of little to no concern for the Apparatchik Press and the Left, in general. Little cogitation, let alone consternation, has occurred regarding how the arbitrary, weaponized rebranding of the Pro-Life movement has helped obfuscate the Biden administration ignoring violence against crisis pregnancy centers and other pro-life entities, while actively engaging in the persecution of the movement’s supporters. It begs the question as to how long it will be until the A.P. appends the modifiers “extremist” and “domestic terrorist” to this coercively deadnamed movement?
Doubtless, the new epithets will occur long before the Apparatchik Press’ Substancebook rebrands Planned Parenthood clinics as “taxpayer funded, pro-abortion centers.” Logic, objectivity, and fairness became déclassé after the Left decided it was not enough for abortion to be “safe, legal, and rare.” Abortion had to be promoted as a positive societal good, one on the cusp of becoming a secular sacrament. Recall, the AP’s professed rationale for their arbitrary rebranding, namely how crisis pregnancy centers are “set up to divert or discourage women from having abortions.” Evidently, a woman’s pregnancy and her child’s birth are societal injuries to be discouraged, not abortion, which is to be encouraged and protected from any dissent.
Such is the result of when woke propagandists aim to weaponize the language against its ideological opponents by deliberately blurring the (guide)line between style and substance. “Birth bad. Abortion good.” Coming to a bumper sticker near you with the seal of approval from Apparatchik Press Substancebook.
There is, of course, a better way, one that affirms the sanctity and dignity of life and the independence and objectivity of the press. But it would require an open mind… An open heart.
As the president of Susan B. Anthony Pro-Life America’s Charlotte Lozier Institute, Chuck Donovan, told The Daily Signal:
“Offer(ing) love and practical resources…[Pregnancy help centers] help everyone and their doors are open to women who seek counseling and support after all forms of pregnancy loss. It is well past time that the AP Guide’s authors visit some of the thousands of thriving centers everywhere in the U.S. and get the guide back to a standard of high-quality reportorial content and ethics.”
At the risk of transgressing the dictates of the Apparatchik Press Substancebook, I say “Amen.”
A Human Events contributor, the Hon. Thaddeus G. McCotter (M.C., Ret.) represented Michigan’s 11th Congressional district from 2003-2012, and served as Chair of the Republican House Policy Committee. Not a lobbyist, he is a frequent public speaker and moderator for public policy seminars; and a Monday co-host of the “John Batchelor Radio Show,” among sundry media appearances.
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