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Author Topic: The Press and the Use of the word "Alleged" in regards to crime...  (Read 919 times)

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Offline TheyDontKnowIBurnTopic starter

Just a little thought here.

People get genuinely offended when they see the word "alleged" used by the media to describe a suspect in a crime that is still being tried...

Which I genuinely don't get. At all. If you detach at an emotional level and look at it from a rational one, the American (mostly where I'm noticing the offense coming from) system is supposed to be a system where people are innocent until proven guilty in a court of law. Sure it doesn't always work out for the best (that is genuinely unfortunate, and yet a topic for another time), but it isn't a bad idea, due largely to the fact that EVERY human that can communicate possesses the capacity to lie about their actions, or about actions done against them.

So wouldn't it be unethical for an unbiased press to present a damning decree against someone who has not been found guilty, by presuming them guilty before all evidentiary process is exhausted? Public opinion can be very, very damning, especially on a local scale, so surely it is inappropriate for any media outlet claiming unbiased reporting to leave out the word "alleged", wouldn't it be?

I just want some other thoughts, because maybe I'm wrong in my thought processes (and I am willing to entertain that notion given my human tendencies for being wrong occasionally), but it just doesn't make a ton of sense to me on a rational level when people get offended about media outlets not casting a definitive damnation against people who are not declared guilty yet.

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Re: The Press and the Use of the word "Alleged" in regards to crime...
« Reply #1 on: April 06, 2016, 05:16:04 PM »
Innocent until proven Guilty. Hence why the person 'Allegedly' committed the crime.

Offline Far eyes

Re: The Press and the Use of the word "Alleged" in regards to crime...
« Reply #2 on: April 06, 2016, 05:18:52 PM »
Quote
unbiased press

That gave me a chuckle, and made me feel deeply cynical at the same time.

The kind of people who get mad at "alleged" are the same kinds who love simple problems with simple solutions. Everything is black and white and if you are not with us you are against us, its not even that uncommon or in any way special to the US. Its just currently suffering a big bout of it i guess. Its political system is also kind of like this Democrats or Republicans, if you dont choose the enemy wins! *Read in a 50s propaganda film voice*



 
« Last Edit: April 06, 2016, 05:20:06 PM by Far eyes »

Offline Blythe

Re: The Press and the Use of the word "Alleged" in regards to crime...
« Reply #3 on: April 06, 2016, 05:21:34 PM »
I'm in agreement with using the word "alleged." The US criminal justice system is supposed to assume "Innocent until proven guilty," and I do think it's unethical to portray someone as a criminal if they've only been charged but haven't gone to court or sentenced.

Personally, I wish they'd go farther than just using the word "alleged." I frankly wish they'd include a line in there mentioning where in the court process a person is and talk more in-depth about evidence, maybe take time to interview the person being charged if they're open to it. Too often articles skim over a lot of information and heavily slant or bias the reader into thinking someone is guilty by presenting limited information even when the word "alleged" is in use, in my opinion.

Offline TheyDontKnowIBurnTopic starter

Re: The Press and the Use of the word "Alleged" in regards to crime...
« Reply #4 on: April 06, 2016, 05:24:20 PM »
Innocent until proven Guilty. Hence why the person 'Allegedly' committed the crime.

That's essentially what I was thinking... That's supposed to be a pretty important aspect of the legal system, but people seem to get whole-heartedly offended when it's applied.

That gave me a chuckle, and made me feel deeply cynical at the same time.

The kind of people who get mad at "alleged" are the same kinds who love simple problems with simple solutions. Everything is black and white and if you are not with us you are against us, its not even that uncommon or in any way special to the US. Its just currently suffering a big bout of it i guess. Its political system is also kind of like this Democrats or Republicans, if you dont choose the enemy wins! *Read in a 50s propaganda film voice*



 

I only speak of the US because that's where I see it happening and because I haven't really experienced anything from other countries, so I felt it inappropriate to broadly generalize what another country's people do or don't do with no experience.

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Re: The Press and the Use of the word "Alleged" in regards to crime...
« Reply #5 on: April 06, 2016, 05:25:37 PM »
These days libel and defamation don't seem to mean much in the media but one fundamental value remains true.  The accused, until judged guilty by a jury or in some cases a judge, is not a criminal in that case.  To say the person is guilty before the verdict abrogates not only that person's rights but the rights of everyone accused of a crime until and unless found guilty. 

Outside of the courtroom your ability to prove your innocence is hampered by the decision that you have done something wrong before you have a chance to defend yourself. 

Offline TheyDontKnowIBurnTopic starter

Re: The Press and the Use of the word "Alleged" in regards to crime...
« Reply #6 on: April 06, 2016, 05:32:49 PM »
All the responses thus far (an admittedly small sample to be sure) seem to use the same logic I have. So I'm maybe wondering if the offensive nature of the word "alleged" can simply be attributed to the natural emotional response to something traumatic or upsetting. Maybe I'm simply expecting that all people be TOO rational.

Perhaps it's unfair of me to expect no emotional discourse in things of this nature. But in a perfect world, I do still maintain that rationality should be maintained in a matter of law.

Offline TheyDontKnowIBurnTopic starter

Re: The Press and the Use of the word "Alleged" in regards to crime...
« Reply #7 on: April 06, 2016, 05:35:25 PM »
I'm in agreement with using the word "alleged." The US criminal justice system is supposed to assume "Innocent until proven guilty," and I do think it's unethical to portray someone as a criminal if they've only been charged but haven't gone to court or sentenced.

Personally, I wish they'd go farther than just using the word "alleged." I frankly wish they'd include a line in there mentioning where in the court process a person is and talk more in-depth about evidence, maybe take time to interview the person being charged if they're open to it. Too often articles skim over a lot of information and heavily slant or bias the reader into thinking someone is guilty by presenting limited information even when the word "alleged" is in use, in my opinion.

I agree to an extent. I think if the person accused is willing to do an interview with the understanding that they won't be paid for that interview, then yes, by all means.

But I really don't think that it's appropriate to let someone monetize a crime or tragedy (whether they did it or not) anymore than they already are monetized.

Offline Blythe

Re: The Press and the Use of the word "Alleged" in regards to crime...
« Reply #8 on: April 06, 2016, 05:51:15 PM »
I agree to an extent. I think if the person accused is willing to do an interview with the understanding that they won't be paid for that interview, then yes, by all means.

But I really don't think that it's appropriate to let someone monetize a crime or tragedy (whether they did it or not) anymore than they already are monetized.

I understand your viewpoint here, and I think I can safely agree with it. *nod*

Offline Far eyes

Re: The Press and the Use of the word "Alleged" in regards to crime...
« Reply #9 on: April 06, 2016, 06:04:33 PM »
There lawyer would very likely advise against it.

Offline TheyDontKnowIBurnTopic starter

Re: The Press and the Use of the word "Alleged" in regards to crime...
« Reply #10 on: April 06, 2016, 06:08:58 PM »
There lawyer would very likely advise against it.

Perhaps. But ultimately it is their choice. And if they say something to incriminate themselves, I can only hope it leads to a true outcome. I'd hate to see a person seal their own fate and the verdict still be wrong.

Offline Aethereal

Re: The Press and the Use of the word "Alleged" in regards to crime...
« Reply #11 on: April 06, 2016, 09:54:47 PM »
      I'm inclined to think what a few before me, that the people who cry out over it have already condemned the person in their minds, and hence them still being only an "alleged" or "potential" criminal is not what they'd like to see. Emotion takes over and they want that person lynched *now*.
     Which is a bad thing, and the "alleged" should stay there. Innocent until proven guilty. Having been involved in a case as suspect (let alone being falsely convicted, which also happens, since the system is not infallible) tarnishes innocents' reputation far too much as it is...