As of February 2018, the scope of the term "alt-right" is still in flux. The Associated Press advises its journalists to not use the term without providing an internal definition, due to its vagueness. The Anti-Defamation League states that "alt-right" is a "vague term actually encompass[ing] a range of people on the extreme right who reject mainstream conservatism in favor of forms of conservatism that embrace implicit or explicit racism or white supremacy". Conservative writer Ben Shapiro claims that the American Left has attempted "to lump in the Right with the alt-right by accepting a broader, false definition of the alt-right that could include traditional conservatism", but other conservatives have advocated for a broader definition. For instance, Allum Bokhari and Milo Yiannopoulos of Breitbart News described the alt-right in March 2016 as "an amorphous movement [...] some—mostly Establishment types—insist it's little more than a vehicle for the worst dregs of human society: anti-Semites, white supremacists, and other members of the Stormfront set". On the other hand, the Southern Poverty Law Center states that "[t]he Alt-Right is intimately connected [to] American Identitarianism, a version of an ideology popular in Europe that emphasizes cultural and racial homogeneity within different countries" and also notes that multiple alt-right leaders, including Richard B. Spencer, embrace explicit antisemitism.
In 2016, the Associated Press described the "alt-right" label as "currently embraced by some white supremacists and white nationalists" that "may exist primarily as a public-relations device to make its supporters' actual beliefs less clear and more acceptable to a broader audience". The Associated Press said that it has previously called such beliefs "racist, neo-Nazi or white supremacist".