We’ve commented before on the fetish that many reporters and editors have for the word “alleged.” I’m starting to think, though, that when it comes to terrorists, our newspapers now reserve judgment on the very reality of the concept. Thus this headline from the Associated Press: Alleged terrorist in Ohio gets 20 years in prison.
A person can’t be sentenced to 20 years in prison until he’s been convicted of a crime, so isn’t it time to drop the “alleged” and call him a terrorist? It’s actually worse than that, since the AP’s story says that the would-be terrorist, Christopher Paul, “pleaded guilty in June to one count of conspiracy to use a weapon of mass destruction in terrorist attacks.” So the “allegation” that he was a terrorist comes from the terrorist himself–still not good enough, apparently, for the AP.
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