“Avoid allegedly. It’s police jargon and is often used incorrectly,” recommends the Associated Press stylebook. “It can make it hard to tell who’s doing the alleging.”
A search of the AP website returns some 45,000 hits for “allegedly,” suggesting that it is sometimes not that hard to tell who is doing the alleging. An Oct. 22 AP photo caption, which remains live on its site, even suggests that Hamas “allegedly” took hostages on Oct. 7.
The Daily Beast made the same claim in a recent story about Israel freeing two hostages in Rafah, and then it thought better of its decision.
“This story has been edited to remove the word ‘allegedly’ in reference to the abduction of Fernando Simon Marman and Louis Har by Hamas militants,” an editor’s note now reads atop a Feb. 12 story. The story’s headline still hedges: “Israel says two hostages rescued during overnight mission in Rafah.”
“What was the Daily Beast worried about? That Hamas would sue them after filming themselves on GoPros abducting Israeli civilians and carting them off to Gaza?” wrote the watchdog group Canary Mission.