Against Allegedly

Diana Moskovitz, Deadspin, Nov 06, 2017
Commentary by Stephen Downes
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In addition to meanings, words have connotations. This is what the word makes you think over and above what the word actually says. My favourite, from decades of journalistic misuse, is "claimed". Compare "He said he was abducted" and "He claimed he was abducted". The use of 'claimed' injects doubt and scepticism into the sentence without ever changing the fact it describes. This article is about the use of the word 'allegedly'. It's the same sort of thing. Your average newspaper or news broadcast is filled with dozens, maybe hundreds, of these words every day. It may report facts, but it is telling you what you should believe. Unless you are aware of this impact, you have no way to defend against it. That's why children should learn critical literacy before they are taught 'facts'.

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