The Crisis of Political Correctness in Western Media Space

DOI: 10.20542/0131-2227-2019-63-7-102-110

T. Rovinskaya (,
Primakov National Research Institute of World Economy and International Relations, Russian Academy of Sciences (IMEMO), 23, Profsoyuznaya Str., Moscow, 117997, Russian Federation

Abstract. The article deals with issues related to the evident crisis of the ideology of political correctness in reference to the media landscape of Western countries (including the mass media, public sphere and Internet). The author addresses the roots of the phenomenon, the history of its genesis in the Western world, analyzes its specifics and flaws in terms of the modern information society. The use of the politically correct language is discussed in connection with its sociopolitical impact. Special emphasis is placed on ambiguity and inconsistency of the phenomenon, which inevitably raise social and political controversy. On the one hand, there is a vivid contradiction between the freedom of speech as a key democratic principle and the requirements of political correctness that strictly limit this kind of freedom. On the other hand, the initially well-meaning practice against any kind of discrimination (as the political correctness was meant to be) easily turns into a doubletalk and manipulation technology (which is widely used in media and politics today). Such duality underlies the crisis of the ideology of political correctness coming into sharp focus exactly in the media field. This situation is potentially dangerous, is fraught with radicalization of society and eradication of democratic values. Despite the prevalence of political correctness in Western countries, there is also the inner ideological and political opposition to it (mostly represented by the right and far-right forces). The author comes to a conclusion there are only two possible ways out of this situation: either the ideology of political correctness outlives and transforms into something new, or the freedom of speech principle is wholly discredited hence ruining the core of democracy and giving way to a permanent controversy between politically charged media and independent public Internet as citizens’ tribune (which is customary for more authoritarian societies in the information era).

Keywords: political correctness, politically correct, politically incorrect, ideology, “cultural Marxism”, media space, discrimination, minorities, freedom of speech, doubletalk


1. Sharapova I., Kobenko Yu. Istoriya vozniknoveniya ponyatiya “political correctness” [The Story behind the Term “Political Correctness”]. Vestnik TGPU, 2014, no. 10 (151), pp. 46-50. Available at: (accessed 13.08.2018).

2. Encyclopedia Britannica. Available at: (accessed 12.08.2018).

3. Ionin L.G. Politkorrektnost’ i “obshchestvo men’shinstv” [Political Correctness and Society of Minorities]. Sotsiologiya, 2010, no. 3, pp. 89-102. Available at: (accessed 20.08.2018).

4. DeCrow K. How William Safire Changed My Life. Syracuse University Magazine, 2017, vol. 34, no. 1. Available at: (accessed 08.08.2018).

5. Politological Dictionary — Reference Book. National Encyclopedic Service (In Russ.) Available at: (accessed 08.08.2018).

6. British & World English. Available at: (accessed 08.08.2018).

7. Longman. Available at: (accessed 08.08.2018).

8. The Great Updated Political Encyclopedia. National Encyclopedic Service (In Russ.) Available at: (accessed 08.08.2018).

9. Compiled Dictionary of Foreign Words in the Russian Language (In Russ.)] Available at: http://www.вокабула.рф/словари/сборный-словарь-иностранных-слов-русского-языка/политическая-корректность (accessed 13.08.2018).

10. Dictionary of Modern Slang of Russian Politicians and Journalists. National Encyclopedic Service (In Russ.) Available at: (accessed 08.08.2018).

11. Ter-Minasova S.G. Yazyk i mezhkul’turnaya kommunikatsiya [Language and Intercultural Communication]. Moscow, Slovo, 2000. 264 p.

12. Tolstaya T. Politicheskaya korrektnost’ [Political Correctness] Available at: (accessed 09.10.2018).

13. O’Neill B. A Critique of Politically Correct Language. The Independent Review, 2011, vol. 16, no. 2, pp. 279-291. Available at: (accessed 09.10.2018).

14. Why Trump’s War on “Political Correctness” Is Good News for Hate Speech. Vanity Fair, 09.08.2016. Available at: (accessed 30.08.2018).

15. Svab P. Trump Speaks to Gen Z, Millennials: We Believe in Free Speech, Even If Politically Incorrect. The Epoch Times, 27.06.2018. Available at: (accessed 30.08.2018).

16. Pilkington E. Donald Trump: Ban All Muslims Entering US. The Guardian, 08.12.2015. Available at: (accessed 30.08.2018).

17. Kopan T. What Donald Trump Has Said about Mexico and Vice Versa. CNN Politics, 31.08.2016. Available at: (accessed 30.08.2018).

18. Vitali A., Hunt K., Thorp F. Trump Referred to Haiti and African Countries as ‘Shithole’ Countries. NBC News, 12.01.2018. Available at: (accessed 30.08.2018).

19. Donald Trump Makes Offensive Comments about Women. BBC News, 08.10.2016. Available at: (accessed 30.08.2018).

20. Cross D. Take it from a Lawyer with a Disability: Trump’s Paralympics Comments Were Offensive. USA Today, 11.05.2018. Available at: (accessed 30.08.2018).

21. Neuerer D. AfD-Politiker fordert „Schutzanlagen“ gegen Migranten. Handelsblatt, 08.09.2015. Available at: (accessed 31.08.2018).

22. Eddy M. German Far Right and Counterprotesters Clash in Chemnitz. The New York Times, 28.08.2018. Available at: (accessed 31.08.2018).

23. Gastfreundschaft lässt sich nicht verordnen. Zeit Online, 03.10.2018. Available at: (accessed 06.10.2018).

24. Flüchtling schreibt an Merkel: “Für mich sind Sie eine Heldin!” Stern, 02.10.2018. Available at: (accessed 06.10.2018).

25. Arzt erklärt, warum er Asylbewerber nicht mehr behandelt. Bild, 15.05.2018. Available at: (accessed 06.10.2018).

26. Flüchtlinge schlagen Polizei in die Flucht. Bundesdeutsche Zeitung, 06.10.2018. Available at: (accessed 06.10.2018).

27. Kriminelle Migranten: Jahrelang unter dem Deckel gehalten. Bayern Kurier, 19.01.2016. Available at: (accessed 06.12.2018).

28. Grau A. Die Erfindung der Willkommenskultur. Cicero, 24.07.2018. Available at: (accessed 06.10.2018).

29. Scharfe Rhetorik gegen Einwanderer: „Nationen werden aufhören zu existieren“: Orban hält Radikal-Rede über Ende Europas. Focus Online, 19.02.2018. Available at: (accessed 31.08.2018).

30. Hadar R. Trump Adviser: Russia, China, North Korea and Iran Could Meddle in US Midterms. Abcnews, 19.08.2018. Available at: (accessed 03.09.2018).

31. Donath K.-H. Alle lieben Putin-Land. Tagesspiegel, 13.07.2018. Available at:!5521644/ (accessed 03.09.2018).

32. Blake A. Vladimir Putin’s Goal Was to Destabilize the United States. He’s Succeeding. The Washington Post, 04.08.2018. Available at: (accessed 03.09.2018).

33. Collon M. ¿Hay que odiar a Rusia o reflexionar? Rebelion, 19.07.2018. Available at: (accessed 03.09.2018).

34. Tang D. American Defence Secrets Lost to Chinese ‘Student Spies’. The Times, 09.08.2018. Available at: (accessed 03.09.2018).

35. Kuzmani S. Zu dumm zum Lügen. Spiegel Online, 18.07.2018. Available at: (accessed 03.09.2018).

36. Andersson T. Trump och vädret är större hot än ’ryssen’. Aftonbladet, 18.07.2018. Available at: (accessed 03.09.2018).

37. Panteleev B.N. Mezhdunarodnye standarty pravoprimeneniya i metodika razvitiya kul’turnoi chutkosti [International Legal Enforcement Standarts and Cultural Delicacy Development Methodology]. Vestnik ekonomiki, prava i sotsiologii, 2009, no. 4, рр. 106-110. Available at: (accessed 03.09.2018).

38. Berwick A. 2083 — A European Declaration of Independence. London, 2011. Available at: (accessed 03.10.2018).

Registered in System SCIENCE INDEX

For citation:
Rovinskaya T. The Crisis of Political Correctness in Western Media Space. World Eсonomy and International Relations, 2019, vol. 63, no. 7, pp. 102-110.

Comments (0)

No comments

Add comment






Dear authors! Please note that in the VAK List of peer-reviewed scientific journals, in which the main scientific results of dissertations for the degree of candidate and doctor of sciences should be published for the “MEMO Journal” the following specialties are recorded:
economic sciences:
5.2.5. World Economy.
5.2.1. Economic Theory
5.2.3. Regional and Branch Economics
political sciences:
5.5.4. International Relations
5.5.1. History and Theory of Politics
5.5.2. Political Institutions, Processes, Technologies


Current Issue
2024, vol. 68, No. 6
Topical Themes of the Issue:
  • The “Pivot to Asia”: AUKUS in the Perception of American Politicum
  • The Collapse of the European Collective Security System
  • Public Investment and Sustainability of World Economy
  • Sub-Saharan Africa: Trends, Proportions and Factors of Development
Submit an Article
The Editorial Board invites authors to write analytical articles on the following topics:
  • changes in the processes of globalization in modern conditions
  • formation of the new world order
  • shifts in civilization at the stage of transition to a digital society

The editors are also interested in publishing synthesis articles / scientific reviews revealing the main trends in the development of certain regions of the world - Latin America, Africa, South Asia, etc.