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Rantz: Seattle Times ‘inclusive’ group bans ‘justice system,’ ‘inmate’ for social justice

The Seattle Times building. (Linda Thomas)

The Seattle Times banned the use of “criminal justice system,” “inmate,” and other words and terms deemed problematic. The changes were made to its style guide by the inclusive style committee.

Staff members were told that a total of eight words and phrases would be banned from print in the left-wing newspaper. In its place? Inclusive, politically correct options that present, in many cases, a left-wing worldview.

The changes were made via an internal email on April 5 to the entire newsroom, obtained by the Jason Rantz Show on KTTH.

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Stop writing “criminal justice system”

All the replaced terms or words center on a criminal justice theme. The preceding sentence would be edited out of the Seattle Times for violating its new style guide.

The term “criminal justice system” will no longer find its way into print moving forward. According to the inclusive style committee, the term isn’t accurate.

“Do not use; it does not always deliver justice. ‘Legal system’ is often a good substitute,” according to the memo sent by Assistant Metro Editor Diana Samuels.

The memo does not define what the committee means by “justice.” It merely implies that when the inclusive style committee does not like a trial’s outcome, justice has not been served.

But if justice isn’t served in the justice system, and an injustice has been allowed to occur, can you truly call it a “legal system”?

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Person of incarcerated status

The inclusive style committee doesn’t want writers using “inmate, prisoner, convict, felon, [or] offender” anymore. They’re apparently too limiting in the depiction of rapists or murderers.

“Avoid those terms, which reduce a person’s identity to one aspect,” the memo reads.

Alternatives offered are “incarcerated people” or “a jailed person.” But both phrases quite literally mean the same thing as the banned words. An “incarcerated person” is still someone identified primarily as someone who is a prisoner. You don’t learn more about the person.

These terms, like saying “person experiencing homelessness” instead of “homeless,” are merely ways to give the appearance of being thoughtful. It’s neither thoughtful nor more accurate. It’s just wordy.

Stop treating officers fairly

The most disturbing phrase being banned from the Seattle Times is the use of “officer-involved shootings.” This is a standard way for news outlets to explain an officer used his or her firearm.

The majority of the guidance centers on breaking news and being able to accurately describe a scene. But the inclusive style guide uses curious language to discuss the issue.

It bizarrely claims the phrase “takes responsibility away from the police, suggesting that they just happened to be around when a person was shot.”

For starters, it does no such thing. It means an officer was involved in a shooting. It’s so easy that even a staff writer at the Times should be able to figure it out.

But more importantly, the committee frames this as if they’re upset that police aren’t immediately blamed for a shooting. The vast majority of officer-involved shootings in Seattle are justified, even if activists and staffers at the Times find them problematic.

“Instead, we should directly say what happened – ‘Police officers shot and killed a man,’ ‘Police fired shots at a person but did not strike them,'” the memo reads.

Banning a phrase they rarely use

The final phrase banned from the Seattle Times is “excited delirium.” The paper only used it four times last year in local news, according to a search of their website.

A likely reason behind the ban is that it was used in the Derek Chauvin trial in the death of George Floyd. During testimony, a witness who trains new officers said they’re taught ways to recognize signs of excited delirium. She said it could be triggered by drug use.

Though scientists believe it is real, albeit not well-understood, the inclusive style committee doesn’t want to give it any credence. Instead, they want to ensure it’s not used by police to explain away their use of force. At the Seattle Times, police should never get a pass for use of force. In fact, at the Seattle Times, the “thin blue line” flag is called a symbol of white supremacy.

“Avoid this term. If it’s necessary to quote authorities who are using it, explain that it is a term sometimes used by police to justify force but is described as ‘pseudoscience’ by critics,” the memo reads.

Their reasoning matches a Washington Post editorial that calls the term a way “to shield officers from accountability.” Other activists call it “medicalized racism,” which explains why the Seattle Times is banning it from use. It’s the woke position for them to take.

Did you like this opinion piece? Then listen to the Jason Rantz Show weekday afternoons from 3-6 p.m. on KTTH 770 AM (or HD Radio 97.3 FM HD-Channel 3). Subscribe to the podcast here. Follow @JasonRantz  on  Twitter,  Instagram, and Parler and like me on Facebook

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