A no-no on the latest Associated Press list of proper political terms, phrases and definitions designed for journalists is not to use Tea Party but to lowercase it to tea party in referring to “the populist movement,” yet it’s okay to capitalize Tea Party Express because it is a formally-named group, observes Grumpy Editor.
The U.S. Elections Style Guide, compiled by AP, is geared to assist in coverage of the 2012 national elections.
It spotlights correct terminology while mentioning some clichés to avoid.
Use of Obamacare, for example, is frowned on. AP points out Obamacare is the “informal term for the Affordable Care Act...often used by Republicans, so avoid it unless quoting someone.”
First lady, AP explains, is not an official title, so it should be spelled lowercase, unless starting a sentence.
Among other AP guidance:
Election Day is capitalized, while election night goes lowercase.
Political affiliation, indicating the party of a candidate or an officeholder, “is essential in any election or issue story.”
Don’t describe a political race as close “unless polls show it is and you reference polls.”
And no need to be cute with the phrase “pressing the flesh.”
AP says “shaking hands is preferred.”
See more here.