Senator Larry Craig & "allegedly"

Many of the articles that I’ve read about the good Senator’s plight still use the term “allegedly.” I know they may be using this term to cover their butts, but since he did plead guilty, can’t they drop the “allegedly”? Can newspapers really be in much legal jeopardy stating that he’s guilty when he plead guilty?

A lot of them are worded as “arrested for allegedly doing something”, which I guess is true even after he pleads.

He didn’t plead guilty to “soliciting sex” or “tapping his foot” or whatever specific act the story may be mentioning. He pleaded guilty to, what, disorderly conduct was it? Whether that distinction requires the use of “allegedly,” it’s just as easy to include it as not just in case.

It’s almost impossible to libel a public figure. The chance that a Senator could win a lawsuit against a newspaper for reporting the actions contained in a police report is less than zero.

So why use allegedly? Probably the same reason people stop at a stop sign at night when no cars are coming. If you do an action every single time the opportunity arises it becomes a good habit. Then, rather than picking and choosing when you do it, you’ll be sure to do it when it’s important.

He did also say that he pled guilty in order to make the problem go away, not because he actually did something. If this is true, then he is only alleged to have done anything wrong.

Though, he also said he didn’t tell his family or colleagues because he was ashamed of “this failure”. “WHAT failure? You didn’t do anything, right?!”


How do you figure?

Because of the rule announced in Times v. Sullivan, requiring actual malice for a public figure.

To elaborate, the public figure not only has to prove your report is false, but also has to prove that you knew the report was false and ran it anyway. That second requirement is very hard to prove.

That’s what he says now (not under oath).

But what he said in court, under oath, and in a signed statement was:

See his court plea

So his story seems to have changed a bit since this became public!

Hmm, that would mean that he LIED under oath.

Isn’t that what Clinton was officially accused of?


What is interesting about this is the piranha-like behavior of the politicians. I’ve read that piranhas get along well together when they are all healthy and able to defend themselves, but when one is injured (or incapacitated by a hook in its mouth) the others will attack and bite chunks out of the injured one. Reading the reactions of fellow politicians made me think of the analogy.

Personally, I think he told the truth under oath (when he admitted guilt), but is lying now, during his press conferences.

Usually when someone is convicted, the media take it as fact that the person did what they were convicted of. So they will say, “Mass murderer so-and-so…” This despite that a trial often isn’t about scientific proof–it’s just what 12 people believe. Some people get put in prison for years before DNA evidence shows they didn’t kill the victim. But during those years, the media will label that person a murderer.

In the case of Sen. Craig, it seems to me that if he pleaded guilty, they might as well use the same standard.

But still, it reminds me of how newspapers frontload their leading sentences. Ex: "Senator X beat his eight-year-old child, sexually harassed his office staff, got drunk while on the Senate floor, and used federal funds to pay for a vacation in the Bahamas,…

…a recently fired aide said yesterday."