The Associated Press on bad-word patrol:
The Associated Press has nixed "homophobia," "ethnic cleansing," and a number of other terms from its Style Book in recent months.
The online Style Book now says that "-phobia," "an irrational, uncontrollable fear, often a form of mental illness" should not be used "in political or social contexts," including "homophobia" and "Islamophobia." It also calls "ethnic cleansing" a "euphemism," and says the AP "does not use 'ethnic cleansing' on its own. It must be enclosed in quotes, attributed and explained."
"Ethnic cleansing is a euphemism for pretty violent activities, a phobia is a psychiatric or medical term for a severe mental disorder. Those terms have been used quite a bit in the past, and we don't feel that's quite accurate," AP Deputy Standards Editor Dave Minthorn told POLITICO.
With all due respect, the fact that AP has removed a word from it's Style Book doesn't mean if will be removed from our public vocabulary if people find it useful. I generally agree with AP that phrases have problems. "Ethnic cleansing" suggests something far less bloody and violent than what is going on. "Homophobia" is too strong a term and doesn't allow for mere dislike of or disagreement with the gay agenda.
But both terms have commonly understood meanings, thus allowing us to have a conversation without constant pauses to make sure the conversation is really about what we think it is. Their use has grown organically, and their death can only come the same way.