Politico chief political correspondent Tim Alberta is urging other journalists to refrain from characterizing any Republican who supports President Trump‘s ongoing efforts to challenge the results of the 2020 presidential election as a “conservative.”
A growing number of GOP lawmakers are pledging to contest President-elect Joe Biden‘s Electoral College victory ahead of Wednesday’s joint session of Congress, at least until an “emergency 10-day audit” is conducted in order to look into allegations of voter fraud and irregularities.
On Sunday, Alberta stressed to his media colleagues on Twitter that just because such lawmakers would describe themselves as “conservative,” that doesn’t mean journalists should.
“Words matter. It’s past time we reformed our political terminology. We should not—for the rest of their careers—refer to any of these Republican E.C. objectors as ‘conservatives,'” Alberta began. “They are radicals. They are extremists. There is nothing conservative about subverting democracy.”
“I’m serious,” Alberta doubled down. “Writers and broadcasters need to think critically about how to describe people like Ted Cruz and Jim Jordan without defaulting to ‘conservative.’ When in doubt, use ‘far-right.’ I’m open to other ideas. But calling any of this ‘conservative’ is profoundly misleading.”
Alberta’s suggestion appears to have found support among other journalists, including Washington Post media columnist Margaret Sullivan, who on Monday wrote a piece making a similar argument about the “radical right.”
“In applying this innocuous-sounding description, the reality-based media does the public a terrible disservice. Instead of calling out the truth, it normalizes; it softens the dangerous edges,” Sullivan explained. “Too much of the reality-based media has gone along for the ride, worried about accusations of leftist bias, wanting desperately to be seen as neutral, unwilling to be clear about how lopsided these sides are … We should take one small but symbolic step toward repairing the damage by using the right words to describe it. It would be a start.”
Fox News had reached out to Alberta for comment.