AP draws ridicule after suggesting 'mistress' be replaced with 'friend' or 'companion

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The Associated Press’ attempt at a politically correct definition of “mistress” led to considerable ridicule for the news outlet on Tuesday.

“Don’t use the term mistress for a woman who is in a long-term sexual relationship with, and is financially supported by, a man who is married to someone else,” its Stylebook Twitter account wrote. “Instead, use an alternative like companion, friend or lover on first reference and provide additional details later.”

From the implied sexism that the woman having the affair couldn’t financially support herself to the confusion of referring to such a person as a “friend,” the AP didn’t get a break on this one.

“Yeah, definitely use “friend,” the term the husband uses to explain himself. That’s much less sexist,” New York Magazine columnist Mark Harris wrote.

“Would ‘home-wrecking floozy’ be okay?” Matt Walsh asked.

Republican aide Joanna Rodriguez, noting the cheating scandal of Democratic North Carolina Senate candidate Cal Cunningham, wondered how it would have gone over if reporters asked about his “friends.”

Other responses were less politically correct than others.

This isn’t the first time the AP has warned against using the term. In May, it declared the word “archaic” and “sexist.”

It’s the latest example of the widely read wire service softening language in a way that angered some readers. Last month, it warned staffers in a memo against using the term “crisis” to describe the migrant surge at the border that’s overwhelmed officials.

“The current events in the news – a sharp increase in the arrival of unaccompanied minors – is a problem for border officials, a political challenge for Biden and a dire situation for many migrants who make the journey, but it does not fit the classic dictionary definition of a crisis,” the memo said.


“Therefore, we should avoid, or at least, be highly cautious, about referring to the present situation as a crisis on our own, although we may quote others using that language,” the memo continued. “If using the word ‘crisis,’ we need to ask of what and to whom.”

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