Garson O'Toole adsgarsonotoole at GMAIL.COM
Wed May 19 16:12:01 UTC 2010

The phrase "confessed Times Square bomber" has been used in some media
outlets. The reported confession has not been evaluated in a court,
and as a non-lawyer I do not offer an exegesis on potential legal
ramifications. The phrase does appear in a New York Daily News
headline online:

Confessed Times Square bomber Faisal Shahzad's hatred stemmed from
personal failure, war on terror
BY Kevin Deutsch In Shelton, Conn. and Alison Gendar, Rocco
Parascandola and Rich Schapiro
Originally Published:Wednesday, May 5th 2010, 11:01 PM
Updated: Thursday, May 6th 2010, 4:41 AM

An opinion article in the Washington Post also uses the phrase
"confessed Times Square bomber":

How to modernize Miranda for the Age of Terror
By Charles Krauthammer
Friday, May 7, 2010

Another New York Daily News article uses the term "self-confessed
Times Square bomber":

Times Square terror scare: Change to Miranda interrogation laws may be
coming, White House says
BY David Saltonstall
Monday, May 10th 2010, 4:42 AM

In the Washington Post more recently opinion columnist Charles
Krauthammer referred to the suspect as "the Times Square bomber" after
referring to him as the "confessed Times Square bomber" earlier in the

Modernizing Miranda: A new consensus
By Charles Krauthammer
Friday, May 14, 2010
The fact that the Times Square bomber did talk after he was Mirandized
is blind luck.

The dates given above may be inaccurate because sometimes online
articles are revised without notice.

On Wed, May 19, 2010 at 10:46 AM,  <ronbutters at> wrote:
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> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       ronbutters at AOL.COM
> Subject:      Re: Legalistics
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> Dave, you are confusing two senses of "guilt." Legally, he has been accused of a crime. Legally, he is not guilty until a court says so. Newspapers report on the legal status, not the reporter's guess as to the outcome. Consistency is necessary.
> Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Bill Palmer <w_a_palmer at BELLSOUTH.NET>
> Date:         Wed, 19 May 2010 10:26:56
> Subject:      Re: [ADS-L] Legalistics
> Dave, he confessed, which I don't believe Jewell or Hatfill ever did, in
> fact I know they didn't.
> No media report that I know of suggests that his guilt is a law enforcement
> construct.
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: "Dave Wilton" <dave at WILTON.NET>
> Sent: Wednesday, May 19, 2010 9:58 AM
> Subject: Re: Legalistics
>> ---------------------- Information from the mail
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>> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
>> Poster:       Dave Wilton <dave at WILTON.NET>
>> Subject:      Re: Legalistics
>> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
>> Journalists will drop the qualifications when he has been convicted in a
>> court--whether via jury verdict or plea agreement (i.e., confession in
>> open
>> court). The qualifications are simply a protection against libel, as well
>> as
>> being technically true. Just think back to Richard Jewel and the Atlanta
>> Olympics bombing or Steven Hatfill and the Anthrax mailer as to why the
>> qualifications are necessary.
>>>There is no reason to believe he is falsely confessing.
>> Really? There are lots of nuts who confess to crimes they had nothing to
>> do
>> with. It's not that I doubt the confession in this case, but professional
>> journalists at respected media outlets get the basic facts of stories
>> wrong
>> on a daily basis (e.g., Judith Miller of the NYT or any news article on
>> linguistics you've ever read), and it's not beyond law enforcement to
>> crucify a person in the media whom they "know" to be guilty. Judging guilt
>> or innocence through the filter of the media is not a reliable way to
>> work.
>> -----Original Message-----
>> From: American Dialect Society [mailto:ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU] On Behalf
>> Of
>> Bill Palmer
>> Sent: Wednesday, May 19, 2010 5:14 AM
>> Subject: Legalistics
>> Is there a lawyer in the house? Or a journalist?
>> Faisal Shahzad has reportedly confessed to being the Times Square (almost)
>> bomber.  There is no reason to believe he is falsely confessing. Yet every
>> media source refers to him as either the Times Square bombing "suspect",
>> or
>> the "alleged" Times Square bomber.
>> At what point can we drop the qualifications, and call him what he has
>> confessed to being?
>> Bill Palmer
>> ------------------------------------------------------------
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>> The American Dialect Society -
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