The alleged universe in which we allegedly exist
The Boston Globe article you cited says: “Hasan, 39, allegedly opened fire on fellow soldiers Nov. 5 at the Texas base, killing 13 and wounding 32 others.”
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I know it is not in the spirit of Great Lent to say this, but I’ll say it: many journalists are idiots. Hasan didn’t “allegedly” open fire on several dozen people in plain view. When you shoot several dozen people in front of perhaps hundreds of witnesses, that is not “allegedly,” just because he hasn’t yet been convicted in court. Had he done something in the middle of the night without anyone seeing it, that would be allegedly.
If we had to wait for a court decision before we could positively say anything, 99.9999999999999 percent of our daily experience would be “alleged,” which is absurd. Would the same journalist say that the New Orleans Saints allegedly won the 2010 Superbowl? Or that the U.S. allegedly fought the Vietnam War? Courts had nothing to say on either of the two events, so how could we possibly know the truth?
Truth is unknowable when you’re a liberal, isn’t it?
Rick U. writes:
You can’t call journalists “idiots” when the liberal court system has turned tort law on its ear. They are merely playing by the “rules” the liberal society has placed on them.
The use of the term “alleged” is not required in all cases. Rather, people take that legal rule and apply it promiscuously where it’s not needed. In the present case, Hasan will not even be tried in a civil court with a jury of civilians who must be rigorously protected from being biased by media reports, but before a military tribunal. There is no need for ordinary people and journalists speaking of the massacre to call it “alleged.” When they do so, they’re just going over the top with the “correct” formulation. Which is the way liberalism works. Its principles get comprehensively applied to every area of life, without exception.
D. in Seattle writes:
I noticed Rick U.’s comment, disagreeing with my qualification of many journalists as idiots. I have to disagree with him in this case.
If this were some white collar crime, e.g. the Enron case where the CEO and Chairman were accused of conspiring to inflate earnings and defraud the shareholders, using “alleged” to describe their fraudulent behavior before they were convicted in court would have been appropriate. They denied they did it, and the witnesses against them got a special deal from the prosecutor, so there was plausible deniability.
But in the Hasan case, he shot dozens of people in front of hundreds of witnesses. What is there to deny? What was Boston Globe thinking? Maybe something along these lines:
“We are Boston Globe, owned by NYT, a multi-billion dollar corporation. Despite our capability to lawyer up, we are afraid that, if we don’t call Hasan “alleged shooter”, he is going to sue us for defamation and we are going to lose in court.”
If that’s what they thought, they have already submitted to Islam.
Another example along these lines. Osama bin Laden publicly took credit for the 9/11 attack. The whole world—including liberal American news media—refers to bin Laden as the leader of the organization that carried out the 9/11 attack. They don’t call him the “alleged” leader of that organization.
Posted by Lawrence Auster at February 24, 2010 04:51 PM | Send
Now let’s suppose that the U.S. captured bin Laden and, under the Obama-Holder approach, charged him as a criminal instead of as an enemy. Suddenly the Boston Globe would start to refer to bin Laden as the “alleged” leader of the 9/11 attack. Purely as a result of the change of procedure, the media would submit to this absurdity.
As you pointed out in your first comment, there is no act to which the “alleged” analysis could not apply. Germany “allegedly” sank the Lusitania. Japan “allegedly” attacked Pearl Harbor. Muhammad Atta “allegedly” hijacked a plane and flew it into the North Tower of the World Trade Center.