Friday, October 02, 2009

Guilty, guilty, guilty!

It's the bluntest argument we have against throwing the entire copydesk overboard, and I don't want it to happen, but -- if you keep on declaring people guilty of stuff they haven't been convicted of (let alone charged with), eventually you're going to hit somebody who isn't guilty. Then you will be sued for "libel," and you will lose, and quite honestly you will not deserve a lot of sympathy.

That's what you risk when you say the people who were caught are the "robbers" (and why every journalism course you ever took, and every grizzled old editor who ever hired you, told you not to do that sort of stuff). If you're lucky, you'll just end up looking like a shill.

It takes about an extra eighteenth of a second to do cop heds right. You can protect your checkbook, and you might be protecting some actually innocent person's reputation as well. Give it a try sometime.


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