As John Daniszewski, AP’s vice president for standards, puts it, AP has decided to “tackle” the term “alt-right”–alternative name, “alternative right.” But before addressing questions of use, the term must be defined, and Daniszewski’s definition is a beautiful example of dispassionate language that gets its point across.
[The alt-right] emphasizes preserving and protecting the white race in the United States in addition to, or over, other traditional conservative positions such as limited government, low taxes and strict law-and-order.
The movement criticizes “multiculturalism” and more rights for non-whites, women, Jews, Muslims, gays, immigrants and other minorities. Its members reject the American democratic ideal that all should have equality under the law regardless of creed, gender, ethnic origin or race.
But on to matters of usage. AP’s guidelines are essentially designed to prevent normalization of a white nationalist movement. Here’s Daniszewski in his own words again, because they are so spot on, writing that the “alt-right” (this is how you do it), “may exist primarily as a public-relations device to make its supporters’ actual beliefs less clear and more acceptable to a broader audience.”
Helpfully, Daniszewski offers some old-school descriptors for those beliefs: “racist, neo-Nazi or white supremacist.”
The proper way to do it, AP-style, is to put the term in quotes while concurrently calling it like it is: “‘an offshoot of conservatism mixing racism, white nationalism and populism,'” or, more simply, ‘a white nationalist movement.'”