The classic way of a reporter’s saying that he or she is skeptical of something is to write that “it is believed…” Sometimes this is carried to the extreme, as in a Thanksgiving Day editorial in The Boston Globe, about the 400th anniversary of the Mayflower Compact, a written agreement by the Pilgrims aboard the ship Mayflower, anchored in Provincetown on Cape Cod.
The editorial says, “…Provincetown — where the ship and its pilgrims are believed to have actually first landed, not Plymouth…”
Believed to have first landed? Good grief! Do the Globe editors doubt it? There are written accounts describing the Pilgims’ landing on Cape Cod, explorations, discovery of fresh water, encounters with Indians, theft of Indians’ corn. President Theodore Roosevelt laid the cornerstone for the Pilgrim Monument in Provincetown, and it was dedicated in 1910 by President Taft. Were they conned into “believing” the Pilgrims landed there? What else does The Globe want? Pilgrims’ Photographs? Videos? Cell-phone recordings?
Oh, well, it’s Thanksgiving, and I give thanks that Boston is still a two newspaper town.