I travel extensively and find it puzzling that so many newspapers include unknown data as a frequent footnote to countless traffic accident stories. An example: “It is unknown if alcohol or drugs were a factor.”
This misleading statement is so overused by the media that a Google search of it rendered thousands of hits. If drugs or alcohol are indeed known to have been a factor, by all means, report it confidently. However, if it is truly unknown, then why state it at all? Why plant a baseless thought in our minds and provoke unwanted conjecture and speculation?
How about, “It is unknown if tire pressure and brake pad thickness were a factor in the crash.” This is quite relevant unknown information and yet it is seldom, if ever, included in the narrative.
Reputable newspapers should report only fact-based details and leave harmful implied assumptions to the tabloids.