Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Allegations

I understand assuming someone is innocent before guilt is proven, and it's a principle I support heartily.

That said, it's weird to hear NPR reporters refer to the "alleged gun man" at Fort Hood. I mean, there were hundreds of witnesses. He was not framed. He conceivably be found not guilty by reason of insanity, but he would still be the gun man at Fort Hood who shot people.

I suppose the reason it seems weird is that in situations like this, the gun man is usually shot dead and they just refer to him as "the gun man" without any qualifications.

4 comments:

pc said...

I've noticed this in other similar situations as well. They are always 'alleged' if they are alive and prior to the judicial process even if there were lots of witnesses. I always thought this was some kind of legal protection for the news reporting entity.

jc said...

I have no problem with "alleged killer" in most cases, and in fact I'm kind of suspicious of overzealous prosecution. It's just that in these sorts of cases, it's pretty obvious who did it. I understand the media caution, but it just sounds rote and formulaic to my ears.

pc said...

Apparently you're not the only one asking this question, as noted in Slate's Explainer.

http://www.slate.com/id/2235470/

jc said...

I saw that!