Headsup: The first 8 episodes of the RAI/HBO production "My Brilliant Friend" about a supreme alpha-girl and her "moon" of a best friend airing in 60-plus countries are proving amazingly endearing. So many colorful elements of evolving post WWII Italy on display. Yes, some violence too, but peanuts compared to say New York in that era. A real must-see.

Series Terrible reporting

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Another Seattle Post-Intelligencer Blog Bites Newspaper In Tail

Posted by Peter Quennell




Click above to read what appeared on a Seattle Post-Intelligencer blog before it was yanked.

Biff! Bam! Pow! Take that, rival Seattle Times! So. Are the monkeys now driving the train at Hearst’s Seattle PI ?!

Seattle’s excellent TechFlash website had this to say about the yanked post.

Ah, the wonders of newspaper rivalries in the age of online media.

Regina Hackett, the Seattle Post-Intelligencer’s art critic, cast a critical eye on her departing counterpart, Sheila Farr of The Seattle Times, in a blistering blog post Monday afternoon on the P-I’s site. By this morning, the post had disappeared.

It was the kind of commentary that probably wouldn’t have made it into a traditional print edition. But as blogging spreads through the mainstream media, one result is a reduction in the editorial layers between journalist and audience.

Hmmm. “But as blogging spreads through the mainstream media, one result is a reduction in the editorial layers between journalist and audience.” 

So. You think that the editor of the Seattle PI, David McCumber, might finally have noticed that he could use a few more editorial layers?!

Hearst must be wondering about the monkeys layer. They could use less of that.

Posted on 12/30/08 at 11:16 AM by Peter QuennellClick here & then top left for all my posts;
Right-column links: News media & moviesTerrible reportingMedia newsThe wider contextsSeattle context
Permalink for this postTell-a-FriendComments here (9)

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Perhaps Associated Press Should Try Reporting The Odds?!

Posted by Peter Quennell

Click for larger images. Online polls on whether Amanda Knox will be found guilty. 

Gulp! The odds now [above] have become even more ominous than the odds one year ago [below]. 

Polling is by avid news followers. Probably only a small minority follow Meredith’s case specifically and seek to distort those polls

Obviously the PR campaign is doing a terrific job (!) Obviously the Associated Press is right to take it so seriously (!)

Posted on 12/24/08 at 02:00 PM by Peter QuennellClick here & then top left for all my posts;
Right-column links: Hoaxes Knox & team20 No-PR hoaxHoaxers: media groupsAssoc PressNews media & moviesTerrible reportingThe wider contextsN America context
Permalink for this postTell-a-FriendComments here (1)

Slanted Associated Press Paroting Of Knox PR Campaign Release Achieves Over 800 Google Hits

Posted by Peter Quennell


Click above for Marta Falconi’s rather slanted AP report.

At time of posting it appears on at least 800 news websites. It opens with these paragraphs sympathetic to Knox’s Christmas plight:

The family of an American student accused of killing her British roommate says she is heading into her second Christmas in jail disappointed at a trial delay but “holding up pretty well under the circumstances”.

Knox is planning to attend an in-jail Christmas Day Mass, the family said in a recent statement emailed to The Associated Press.

Visitors are not allowed to bring in wrapped presents, but Knox’s parents are trying to get her “warm sheets, slippers, cold weather underwear, wool socks and a sweater.”

Trial delay? Of course the trial might have happened very much faster if (1) the defendants had not told several differing stories, (2) the crime scene had not been extensively rearranged to make it look like a sole-perpetrator crime, and (3) more and more witnesses had not kept coming forward.

But the AP story does not mention any of this.

It instead implies that the Italian slowness is unfair. But luckily, our plucky heroine “is holding up pretty well under the circumstances.”

Then we get this single sentence - one suggesting cold indifference - on the Christmas plight of Meredith Kercher’s sad, bereft family.

For their part, Kercher’s family will be spending their second Christmas without Meredith.

Finally, to their slight credit, the Associated Press conclude with the prosecutor’s scenario of the crime.

Prosecutors allege that Kercher was killed during what began as a sex game, with Sollecito holding her by the shoulders from behind while Knox touched her with the point of a knife. They say Guede tried to sexually assault Kercher, and then Knox fatally stabbed her in the throat.

Prosecutors say Knox’s DNA was found on the handle of a knife that might have been used in the slaying, while Kercher’s DNA was found on the blade.

For that slight attempt at corrective balance, we reckon Falconi’s story rates an E grade rather than an F.

The AP is notorious for parroting press releases rather than for doing any real digging. American newspapers are relying on it more and more as they cut back on their own reporting operations..

It is the main source for news and analysis of Meredith’s case for most American newspapers. The case reporting has been spasmodic and indifferent at best. To its credit, the New York Times has not usually published the AP releases.

The Associated Press would welcome your feedback on the story here. So would the 800-plus newspaper sites that carried the story.

They do pay for AP’s reporting, of course.


Sunday, December 21, 2008

Honest, Accurate TV Coverage Has Been HIGHLY Overdue

Posted by The Machine



[Above: Anne Bremner blows smoke]

NBC have shown the other American television networks how to make an objective documentary about the case.

I know that a lot of work went into making the NBC Dateline programmes with over 40 hours of tape shot for both stories. I hope the the likes of CBS News and ABC News now follow suit.

And that they always - always - remember this: Meredith Kercher’s murder was exceptionally brutal and sadistic. Specifically:

  • She was sexually assaulted and viciously teased with a knife for many minutes before the final stab.
  • And after the torture, she died a slow and intensely painful death, clutching her neck with both hands.
  • She might still have been saved - but a conscious decision was made that she wouldn’t be.
  • And this was then followed by two days of apparent glee on the part of the two defendants.

The news channels have to get their coverage right from now on. The case is precedent-setting in several ways, and far too important for the media to play fast and loose with the facts.

Hints of anti-Italy xenophobia have abounded in the American commentary. Such abysmal coverage would never have happened if this was an all-American case - the real victim would be there front and center, not a defendant with a notably odd history.

The parents of the prime suspect should not be allowed to dictate the content of the documentaries and news reports. The media have a duty to report objectively and not be used as vehicles for the Amanda Knox PR campaign. Some of the documentaries on the case have been essentially free advertisements for Amanda’s PR company.

I hope any future documentaries don’t include an interview with Curt Knox talking with great authority about Amanda’s interrogation despite the fact he wasn’t actually present. Amanda’s lawyer has already stated for the record that Amanda wasn’t hit by the police, so Curt can’t repeat that false allegation.

Juju Chang of ABC won’t be able to repeat the wild claim that the double DNA knife has been essentially ruled out after Patrizia Stefanoni confirmed that Meredith’s DNA is on the blade of the knife and Judge Paolo Micheli accepted it as evidence.

Rudy Guede was convicted of the sexual assault of Meredith, which means that the deeply offensive and untrue claim that there was no evidence of sexual assault can’t be repeated.

Instead of Anne Bremner analysing the wrong crime scene and ranting about Italian incompetence in a desperate attempt to discredit the investigation, the documentary makers should interview somebody who is actually an expert in forensic investigations.

Renato Biondo would be the best person to interview. He provided independent confirmation that the forensic investigation was carried out correctly, following international protocol. The only person guilty of incompetence was Anne Bremner.

It is always highlighted in documentaries that Amanda’s confession was thrown out by the Italian Supreme Court. However, they never mention that one of Amanda’s statements in which she admits to being at the cottage when Meredith was murdered was not thrown out by the Italian Supreme Court.

Her note to the police on 6 November is almost identical in content to the statements that were not admitted as evidence.

And Amanda Knox was not given the nickname Foxy Knoxy by the European press. It was a nickname she used herself on her MySpace page.

It’s wrong that inconvenient and incriminating facts are airbrushed out of these programmes. There has been a deliberate attempt to mislead and manipulate the general public.

The media should always have an ethical commitment to the truth, and they should never forget that it was Meredith who was the real victim of this terrible crime.

Unfortunately, this hasn’t always been the case. Well done, NBC, for breaking the mould.

Now CBS News, ABC News, and other television networks owe it to Meredith and her poor family to get it right, the next time they cover the case.


Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Ominous Happenings At Hearst, Seattle PI’s Parent Company

Posted by Peter Quennell



Above and below, the attractive Seattle PI building, on Seattle’s wonderful waterfront.


And here are two shots (scroll down for the second) of owner Hearst’s attractive Manhattan headquarters.

We remain pretty intrigued by the Seattle PI. We can’t seem to see that it’s serving either Seattle’s or Hearst’s best interests right now.

The PI runs some of the very best stories on the Perugia case in the United States, filed by its cool, dispassionate reporter in Rome.

It also runs on its website what one reader called “the most dishonest blog in America” which is notorious for its fact-challenged one-sidedness and for fronting a secret book deal on the case.

And it has run no in-depth reporting at all on the Seattle angles of the case. 

Back here we mentioned the seemingly shaky economics of the paper, and the recent quite extraordinary drop in its readership.

Papers sold dropped by about 8 percent, in a period where the national drop was less than four (mostly related to the economic cycle), and where some media companies even saw real readership gains.

Our contacts in Manhattan’s great journalism schools seem to think the media industry’s best way forward for survival and growth is class journalism. Dig deeper, and avoid the vicarious thrills of, for example, blogs with an agenda

Our contacts regard the international Perugia case as a truly huge story. An absolute heaven-sent opportunity for the Seattle-based papers.

And they reckon that serious and imaginative handling of that story and its many intriguing Seattle angles could have dug the Seattle PI right out of its hole. And attracted a whole row of Pulitzer prizes.

Ball dropped. In a very serious and possibly life-threatening way.

So what is happening at Hearst’s HQ in Manhattan that relates to this?

Well, Hearst is privately owned, by a Hearst-family foundation, and they control most of the director seats on the board. They are said to be VERY unhappy with group performance.

Six months ago the CEO was forced out. And now there is a report that the interim CEO doesn’t meet with the family’s approval either. 

Expected outcome?

A new Hearst CEO who is expected to be be very hungry for more circulation and more Pulitzer prizes at Hearst’s seriously under-performing papers.

Such as, of course, the Seattle Post-Intelligencer.

Time to get serious, guys…


Posted on 12/17/08 at 11:43 AM by Peter QuennellClick here & then top left for all my posts;
Right-column links: News media & moviesTerrible reportingMedia newsThe wider contextsSeattle contextMore hoaxers
Permalink for this postTell-a-FriendComments here (2)

Friday, December 12, 2008

Considerable Outrage In Italy Over Death Profiteering

Posted by Peter Quennell


Richard Owen of the Times reports.

A film starring Amanda Knox, the American student awaiting trial for the murder of Meredith Kercher, has caused a political row, with rightwing politicians claiming the Perugia prison where Ms Knox is held is “like a holiday camp”.

Pietro Laffranco, a Parliamentary deputy in the ruling centre-right coalition led by Silvio Berlusconi, said he was tabling a question in Parliament to the Minister of Justice to demand an explanation over “this extremely serious incident”.

Follow the Italian press coverage for any length of time, and you will soon realize one thing.  Meredith is an intensely loved and very-much-missed person, to many, many Italians.

She hungered to be there, worked hard to get there, spoke very good Italian, knew much of the politics and culture, and just loved being in Perugia with its fine School for Foreigners.

And with her Mediterranean beauty, her kind consideration for others, her chaste behavior, and her zeal for hard work, she seems very, very easy for Italian moms and dads to identify with as one of their own.

So not surprisingly, the public outrage over the prison movie reflected in today’s Italian press is considerable, and it seems likely to create real repercussions.

The movie itself is unlikely to ever see the light of day. Those involved have been seriously thrown on the defensive, and they are likely to see career repercussions. The rules may be tightened for defendants and prisoners interacting with the media. The leniency that some feel Umbria shows to its prisoners may become less-so.

And Amanda Knox (who, to be fair, did not initiate this exposure, and should have been warned by her lawyers and family) may find herself more secluded if she is eventually found guilty.

In sum, this looks like a humane and perhaps overdue tilt in the system and the media toward Meredith, the silent victim in this case. And toward all silent victims like her.

Posted on 12/12/08 at 10:37 AM by Peter QuennellClick here & then top left for all my posts;
Right-column links: News media & moviesTerrible reportingAmanda Knox
Permalink for this postTell-a-FriendComments here (3)

Friday, November 28, 2008

A Reader Draws A Contrast In Sites Following The Case; Mean Perugia Shock Blog Disappoints

Posted by Peter Quennell





TJMK versus Perugia Shock, compared. Below, a reader’s comment, lifted from yesterday’s post.

It reflects emails from readers who seem frustrated at the Perugia Shock website. Many followers of the case, we included, remain deeply grateful for its excellent and dispassionate early reporting on the case.

Since then, its tone seems less certain. It appears to be frustrated at being held more at arms-length now by some of those really in the know on the case.

Seems a pity. We really still need that earlier kind of on-the-spot reporting.

To the Administrators of this site, and the bloggers here,

I found your website through an article that was published at The Croydon Guardian Newspaper. Ever since then, I’ve been regularly visting this site, reading the highly informative articles, and which have helped me settle my mind on what I think happened the night of 01.11.2007 to the poor victim.

I was always (and continue to be) intrigued by the professionalism, and sound manner in which these articles were written, and the investigation behind them was conducted.

A few days ago, I read something here about a website called Perugia Shock. I thought I’d give it a go (you know, get both sides of the story and hear other voices). I misleadingly believed that that the quality of blogs at the Perugia Shock website would be somewhat equivalent to this website. I was greatly disappointed!

I’ve since made only two blog postings there and been reading what the bloggers have to say. I was truly ‘shocked’ (more than the Perugia Murder itself) by the language, anger, spite and venom that dominated a lot of the bloggers postings there. I have therefore made my third and last posting there and sworn never to visit that site again in risk of wasting my time & breath.

To this effect, I would like to congratulate both the administrators and the bloggers here for their wonderful, calm, professional, polite, and very informative views - what a difference this marks, in comparison to the ‘Perugia Shock’ type of discussions! I am glad I found this website first.

Please continue the excellent work!

Socrates42

Posted on 11/28/08 at 08:36 AM by Peter QuennellClick here & then top left for all my posts;
Right-column links: Hoaxers from 2007Knox-Mellas teamSollecito teamFrancesco SforzaNews media & moviesTerrible reporting
Permalink for this postTell-a-FriendComments here (2)

Friday, November 21, 2008

Hearst’s Seattle Post-Intelligencer: Now On The Defensive?

Posted by Peter Quennell

Seattle tip: The newsroom seems to despise the blog “reporting” described below and to think it is hurting the paper. If incorrect, newsroom, and you really do love it, please feel free to correct it.


[click for larger images]

Above at the right is Seattle PI editor David McCumber. Seems like a nice guy, with a distinguished career.

Yesterday we received a rather tart email from a staff-member. The tone made us curious. It seemed a little defensive. So we have taken a closer look.

We’ve already posted here on the paper and the case. We noted then that the paper is part of New York’s privately-owned Hearst empire. Our header box on the post noted this:

Normally, the Hearst papers are famous for CHAMPIONING victims’ rights and memories. Not for abusing them, in a defense blog they host.

We gave the paper an F grade for that performance. And an A grade for the excellent post-Guede-trial reporting indicated here.

The Seattle PI’s circulation has taken quite a dive this year. The paper has seen a drop of 7.8 percent in papers sold, to just 117,572 in October.

Its one competitor, the Seattle Times, also privately owned, saw a similar percentage drop, to 198,741 in October.

However, the Times sells a lot more newspapers, and it seems fundamentally stronger. 

Since 1983, the P-I and The Seattle Times have been run under a “Joint Operating Agreement” (JOA) whereby advertising, production, marketing, and circulation are run for both papers by the Seattle Times Co. They maintain separate news and editorial departments. The papers publish a combined Sunday edition, although the Times handles the majority of the editorial content while the P-I only provides a small editorial/opinions section.

If only one Seattle newspaper is left standing in the long run, which one might that be?

And might the Seattle PI be vulnerable, by way of that blog? It seems possible that its own legal people now think that it might be.

The so-called “reader’s blog” to which we have recently drawn attention is actually copyrighted. It has just bred a book deal, without consultation with the Kerchers. And it runs with some very high-impact paid advertising, flashing right alongside.

The paper seems to shrug the blog off as none of their business. Lawyers in New York here seem to doubt this attempted separation would carry far.

The blog was much criticized by readers in its early days, for seemingly being unable to mention the victim’s name. It’s attempting a lot of catch-up now, which seems to be fooling no-one.

It also has a bizarre history of ridiculing the prosecutor. Not something we’d have thought helpful to the ill-served Amanda Knox, now sitting in jail, awaiting his case against her.

And the blog has seen repeated waves of purges of comments in the past. HTML captures of the blog prior to these purges (there are many such captures) suggest the point of them is to eliminate any dissenting opinion or correction of wrong facts.

And perhaps to give a wrong impression of the blog’s viewpoint to any first-time readers. Or of the increasingly convincing state of the evidence.

The Seattle Post Intelligencer seems to host THE ONE NEWSPAPER SITE IN THE WORLD to carry comments deeply hostile toward the Kerchers themselves.

Not by the blogger, true. But they were long allowed to stand, and their right to stand was defended.

In the past several days, however, they have suddenly disappeared. And the google search below now no longer produces results.

Hmmm. Is yet another of the website’s many comment purges going on here? And this time, a legally-inspired purge?

Covering your tails, finally, are you Seattle PI? Legally, it makes very good sense. But another F grade for now.

One day we might upgrade you. But it’s the reporting we want to see change. And the blog toast.

Posted on 11/21/08 at 08:54 AM by Peter QuennellClick here & then top left for all my posts;
Right-column links: News media & moviesTerrible reportingThe wider contextsSeattle contextMore hoaxers
Permalink for this postTell-a-FriendComments here (23)

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Candace Dempsey’s Grief-For-Profit Industry Is Not So Busy, Today, Perhaps…

Posted by Peter Quennell

Hard to believe the sordid money-grubbing “friends” industry is not now bothering even the defendants’ families. Hard to believe the wannabe author is today on the same terms with the Knoxes and the Mellases as two days ago.

Hard to believe the Kercher family will allow her within many miles of themselves now, if they can possibly help it. Hard to believe she will still have a free hand to roam around Perugia, and to “objectively” report on the trial.

Hard to believe any putative insider contacts will not go quiet now, and keep her at very extreme arms’ length. Hard to believe the fiasco of the book-deal is not seriously bothering Penguin, and chilling some other book deals.

Yes. Perhaps we have won one here. For Meredith. And for the Kerchers.

Posted on 11/18/08 at 11:13 AM by Peter QuennellClick here & then top left for all my posts;
Right-column links: Hoaxers from 2007Knox-Mellas teamMore hoaxersNews media & moviesTerrible reporting
Permalink for this postTell-a-FriendComments here (12)

Monday, November 17, 2008

Malicious Candace Dempsey Fictions: How COULD You Stuart Agency? How COULD You Berkley Books?

Posted by Peter Quennell




A book by one of the worst of the PR shills. The dishonest and incompetent Candace Dempsey. Click above for the announcement. In part:

Seattle reporter Candace Dempsey’s MURDER IN ITALY: The Story Behind the Murder of Meredith Kercher, the Case Against Amanda Knox, and the Strange World of an Italian College Town, a gripping account of the notorious 2007 murder of a British exchange student in Perugia, Italy, and the American girl accused of the crime, to Shannon Jamieson Vazquez at Berkley, for publication shortly after the trial concludes, by Andrew Stuart at The Stuart Agency

We seriously doubt that this will be nice news for the much-grieving family of Meredith Kercher.

Andrew Stuart of the Stuart Agency and Leslie Gelbman of Berkley Books might like to check out this post. And this one.

Seems a sordid tale of anti-victim bias there. The Stuart Agency and Berkley Books both have very fine reputations.

We hope Andrew and Leslie are kind enough now to consult with the Kerchers.

Posted on 11/17/08 at 09:49 AM by Peter QuennellClick here & then top left for all my posts;
Right-column links: Hoaxers from 2007More hoaxersNews media & moviesTerrible reporting
Permalink for this postTell-a-FriendComments here (31)

Friday, November 14, 2008

Yet Another Smear Campaign By Candace Dempsey On Hearst’s For-Profit Defense Blog

Posted by Peter Quennell




This infamous area of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer has a long history of trashing the prosecutor and witnesses.

And seemingly intent on trashing anyone seeking justice in the Meredith Kercher case. Even trashing the victim herself.

Now it comes up with another sneering story about the Kercher-case prosecutor, Mr Mignini, in a minor scrape on a totally unrelated case.

Paid advertisements run conspicuously alongside the piece.

Giuliano Mignini is the kind of hard-driving, results-getting, really-caring prosecutor most victims would die for. That is, if they were actually still alive.

Meredith’s interests could not be served better. He just put Guede away, for a stiff 30 years.

Only a tiny minority of readers seem to go along with that callous blog writer. Most who seek fairness seem to simply get deleted.

And it seems to be doing the defendants no good at all. These were the first two comments to appear under the piece.

I honestly have no idea of what this blog article is about as regards the Kercher case.

Mignini authorised a wire-tap in that other case. The correctness of that authorisation has been called into question.

What does that have to do with the Perugia case?

I agree with [the comment above] on this one. I tend to think that the whole Monster of Florence story has been very unhelpful to the defense of Amanda Knox, because it has sidetracked many of her supporters into following a completely irrelevant story.

What would have been more useful, from Amanda’s point of view, would have been if those same supporters had spent the same time and energy looking at the evidence in the Meredith Kercher case, and in building a credible defense for Amanda Knox.

Posted on 11/14/08 at 07:36 PM by Peter QuennellClick here & then top left for all my posts;
Right-column links: Hoaxers from 2007More hoaxersNews media & moviesTerrible reportingThe wider contextsSeattle context
Permalink for this postTell-a-FriendComments here (5)

Monday, October 27, 2008

Peter Popham Of The UK “Independent” Sure Has Drunk The Knox PR Kool-Aid

Posted by Peter Quennell




Popham’s Bias Against Italy

Among the European papers The Independent is really standing out now for its coverage of the Kercher case.

A long list of wrong and omitted facts. And a great deal of biased editorial comment masquerading as straight reporting. All the work of Peter Popham, the Independent’s Rome reporter.

Check out some of Popham’s Rome Notebook pieces, in which he comes across as contemptuous of Italy and all things Italian.

If Popham has actually published anything sympathetic to Italy in his time there, we are unable to spot it.   The Italian police and justice system seem particular targets of his scorn.

Ignored: Mountain of Evidence

By mid-year 2008 the main accumulation of evidence was complete and extremely extensive. It had already been reviewed twice by the Supreme Court and found to be strong.

A flavor of it was available to any reporter who bothered to attend the many preliminary hearings in 2008 summarised here.  To our knowledge, the lazy, opinionated and slapdash reporter Peter Popham never did.

Popham Again Channels Knox PR

Here now is Popham’s latest garbling of the real case. We put what is obvious bias in bold.

See our corrections below.

Peter Popham: A chance to redeem Italian justice

Rome Notebook: When he gives his verdict, Judge Paolo Micheli has the opportunity to redeem the reputation of Italian justice somewhat

If the prosecutors in the Meredith Kercher murder case had wanted to give the world a demonstration of what is wrong with Italian justice, they could hardly have done a better job.

Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito have been in jail since last November….  The evidence? [only] household tiffs between Amanda and Meredith in the flat they shared. Amanda supposedly invited undesirable men back to the house. Raffaele wrote in his diary that he sought “extreme experiences” (he had apparently been a virgin till meeting Amanda a fortnight before.) Yet the girls cohabited well enough…

After allegedly killing their friend, did they flee? Not at all. Next morning they called the police, and hung around to give statements. In the absence of other suspects, prosecutors accused them of murder with an African friend. Unfortunately for the prosecutors, Patrick Lumumba had never even set foot in Mez’s flat and eventually they had to let him go.

Two weeks after the murder, scientists found bloody fingerprints on a cushion under Mez’s body which belonged to a drug dealer and serial house-breaker called Rudy Guede, who had gone on the run right after the murder. The crime, it seemed, was solved – but prosecutors clung to their original theorem, merely substituting one African for another.

When he gives his verdict, Judge Paolo Micheli has the opportunity to redeem the reputation of Italian justice somewhat. Though if he sends Guede to jail for life and frees the other two, the cries of “racist” and “American dupe” will doubtless be raucous.

Our corrections of Popham

1. The evidence is merely household tiffs? Really? What of the small mountain of damning witness testimony, luminol and other forensic evidence, and eyewitness accounts? Why does Popham make zero mention of that?

2. Hung around and called the police? Actually, the Postal Police turned up of their own accord and seemingly interrupted a rearrangement of the crime scene in progress.

3. Sollecito’s calls to the Perugia Central Police Station seem to have been made only in frantic catch-up mode - some minutes later.

4. The police messed up over Patrick Lumumba? Actually, he was fingered by a self-proclaimed eyewitness: Amanda Knox. Strongly. And not just once; several times. For which criminal slander, of course, both the prosecutor and Patrick Lumumba are now suing… Knox!

5. Rudy Guede is “a drug dealer and serial house-breaker”? Really? Is there ANY proof of that? Popham is happy to decry racist stereotypes and yet propagates them himself.

Still, it is interesting to know that Knox deflowered Sollecito. We can thank Popham for that mental image…


Friday, October 24, 2008

Powerpoints #1: A Witness Trashed By Paul Ciolino For CBS In Fact Looks Very Credible

Posted by Kermit





Click here if you have Powerpoint or the Powerpoint Viewer program loaded. If not here is the Viewer download.

The CBS Network is right now at Number One in the American TV network audience wars.

CBS is one of the very best parts of the Viacom brand. It has come to be so liked, watched and respected in the US in part because it has long been dominant in the area of fine investigative reporting.

So why has CBS’s 48 Hours coverage of the Meredith Kercher case been so uniformly appalling? So biased, so emotional, so full of hyperbole and so FACTUALLY FLAT-OUT WRONG?

We frankly don’t know. But we continue our series examining past CBS reporting of the case, and revealing it for the almost consistent junk it has been.

[ADDED: CBS HAS REMOVED THE VIDEO, POSSIBLY BECAUSE IT MADE WILD CLAIMS AGAINST THE POLICE WHICH COULD SEE CBS IN COURT]


Thursday, October 23, 2008

Jan Goodwin In MarieClaire Magazine Shows Extraordinary Bias

Posted by The Machine

[click for larger images]

I’ve just read perhaps the most shockingly biased article yet about the case.

It is by Jan Goodwin and appears in the magazine Marie Clare. Here’s the opening paragraph:

Studying abroad should have been a grand adventure. Instead, Amanda Knox has spent a year in jail, accused by a corrupt legal system of murdering her roommate.

For starters, the journalist makes the wild and unsubstantiated accusation that the Italian legal system is corrupt.

Amanda has been sitting in prison for a year now, while the Italian press dissects her past and her behavior, framing her as a sex-crazed ugly American who didn’t properly mourn the death of her roommate. Did she kill her, or is Amanda but the latest in a long line of women deemed guilty in the court of public opinion for acting in ways that subvert the script? Be it the U.K.’s Kate McCann or Australia’s Lindy Chamberlain, both of whom were judged harshly in the disappearances of their daughters, a woman’s demeanor and the way she grieves is sometimes her greatest crime.

Have the Italian press really spent a year dissecting Amanda’s past and her behaviour? I certainly haven’t seen one reference to Amanda being an “sex-crazed ugly American” in the Italian press and I’ve been reading the Italian articles for months.

Jan Goodwin seems very confused.

Amanda is sitting in jail, not because she has been found guilty in the court of public opinion for acting in ways that subvert the script, her demeanor or the ways she grieved, and Amanda showed no grief whatsoever over Meredith’s death, but because the evidence against her is overwhelming.

The judges at the Italian Supreme Court told Amanda: “The clues against you are serious.” The judge at the preliminary hearings in the case, Claudia Metteini, also noted that there were “serious clues of guilt”.

Jan Goodwin’s article goes onto to say:

On the morning of November 2, everything changed. As she remembers it, Amanda returned home from a night at Raffaele’s and found a few drops of blood in her bathroom and the door to Meredith’s bedroom locked.

Jan Goodwin should have researched her story more carefully. If she had seen the photograph of the blue bathmat in the bathroom, she would know that it wasn’t “a few drops of blood”, but actually a bloody footprint. It’s apparent that Jan Goodwin really knows very little about the case:

They broke into Meredith’s bedroom and discovered her lying in a pool of blood, half-naked, her windpipe crushed in an attempted strangulation and her throat partially slashed.

There were three knife wounds on Meredith’s neck. Two lesser wounds, but the final one was delivered with such brutal force, it left a huge, gaping hole in Meredith’s neck. There was nothing partial about it. Whoever inflicted the fatal wound wanted to kill Meredith.

Jan Goodwin’s article seems deliberately misleading to give the impression that there isn’t much evidence against Amanda and Raffaele:

Three days after the murder, the senior police investigator on the case sought out Amanda and Raffaele to question them. When he discovered them casually eating in a pizza restaurant, he grew suspicious. Soon after, they were arrested. “That was how it started,” says Paul Ciolino, an American forensic examiner who was the primary investigative adviser for the Innocence Project, which has helped exonerate more than 215 prisoners jailed in the U.S.

No, the police were actually suspicious of Amanda and Raffaele because they both lied to the postal police from the very first time they spoke to them.

Example: they told the postal police they had phoned the police and were waiting for them. Raffaele admitted in his witness on 5 and 6 November they hadn’t actually phoned the police before the postal police turned up unexpectedly:

I tried to force the door but couldn’t, and at that point I decided to call my sister for advice because she is a Carabinieri officer. She told me to dial 112 (the Italian emergency number) but at that moment the postal police arrived.” He added: “In my former statement I told you a load of rubbish because I believed Amanda’s version of what happened and did not think about the inconsistencies.

CCTV footage shows the postal police arriving at the cottage at 12.35 on 2 November. Raffaele phoned the police at 12.51 and 12.54.

[Quoting Paul Ciolino again]  “I was stunned that this was why he suspected Amanda and her boyfriend were involved in the crime,” he says. “These two kids, never in trouble, classic middle-class college students — it’s ludicrous that they were implicated.”

Amanda Knox was arrested for hosting a party that got seriously out of hand with students high on drink and drugs and throwing rocks into the road, forcing cars to swerve.

The students then threw rocks at the windows of neighbours who had called the police. The situation was so bad that police reinforcements had to be called. Amanda was fined $269 (£135) at the Municipal Court after the incident - Crime No: 071830624.

Amanda’s friend Madison Paxton makes the following comment: “The papers have called her a drugged-up skank, and that’s just incredibly untrue. She respects her body; she doesn’t like to party too much.”

I think Amanda’s neighbours would wholeheartedly disagree that Amanda doesn’t like to party too much. Amanda herself made the claim that she had smoked so much cannabis she (conveniently) couldn’t remember much about what happened on the night of the murder. She doesn’t sound like somebody who doesn’t like to party too much.

In grade school, Amanda’s soccer teammates nicknamed her “Foxy Knoxy” because she would crouch down like a fox on the playing field. European tabloids picked up on the name, calling her “Foxy Knoxy: a sex-mad American party girl.

European newspapers, including the quality newspapers, called Amanda by the nickname she called herself. She would have known at the age of 20 that the word “foxy” has sexual connotations. Amanda made a conscious choice to use a nickname with sexual connotations. The newspapers were simply using the nickname that she used.

After her arrest, Amanda was detained by the police and interrogated for 14 hours.

Actually, Amanda was being questioned as a witness, and the claim that her interrogation lasted 14 hours has widely been demonstrated to be untrue.

I’m struggling to find a single correct fact in this next paragraph:

Since then, the police investigation has been chaotic and bumbling. Take the alleged murder weapon, a cooking knife that belonged to Raffaele. Amanda’s DNA was found on the handle — not surprising, since she used it for cooking — and officials said Meredith’s DNA had been found on the blade. But new DNA evidence released shows that after 183 attempts to match the material on the knife to Meredith’s DNA, there is only a 1 percent chance that it is hers, making it unlikely that the knife is, in fact, the murder weapon.

At a recent hearing, Renato Biondo, from the forensic police, said, “We are confirming the reliability of the information collected from the scene of the crime and at the same time, the professionalism and excellence of our work.” Paolo Micheli wanted independent confirmation that the forensic scientists had followed all the correct procedures and their findings were completely accurate. Renato Biondo provided this confirmation unequivocably.

The crime scene wasn’t “violated”. The possibility of Meredith’s bra clasp being contaminated was excluded by Patrizia Stefanoni, and she also confirmed that Meredith’s DNA was on the blade and Amanda’s DNA was on handle of the knife that was hidden in a shoe box at Raffaele’s apartment.

The defence lawyers were putting on brave faces, but that hearing proved a truly disastrous day for Amanda and Raffaele. Raffaele had been placed in Meredith’s room, removing her bra, and Amanda’s DNA was on the knife that was almost certainly used to kill Meredith.

A knife that had been intentionally cleaned. A knife that was placed on Meredith’s bed sheet and that left a bloody trace on it. A knife that matches the wound on Meredith’s neck.

The claim that there is only 1 percent chance of the DNA on the blade belonging to Meredith is not surprisingly not attributed to anybody, let alone an independent forensic expert.

The following statement is outrageous and deeply offensive to the victim herself:

There is also no indication that Meredith was subjected to sexual violence..

This is a claim that has been frequently made by Amanda’s Knox supporters.

To suggest that there was consensual sexual activity between Meredith and Rudy defies belief. Meredith did not consent to any of the unspeakable horrors that were inflicted upon her that night.

Jan Goodwin follows a well-rehearsed and overused script when outlining the case for Amanda’s “innocence”:

Miraculously, Amanda did finally get a break when the Italian supreme court tossed out the results of her interrogation this past spring on the grounds that she had not been provided with a lawyer or interpreter.

Miraculously?!

What Amanda Knox’s supporters invariably forget to mention is that one of Amanda’s statements in which she admits to being at the cottage on the night of the murder was not “tossed” out by the Italian Supreme Court. Her letter to the police is almost identical in content to the statements that were not admitted as evidence. This incriminating letter was admitted as evidence.

Jan Goodwin should have written a balanced and objective article, not an anti-victim piece, and done some actual reading and research. She has instead written for MarieClaire what is essentially a free advertisement for the Free Amanda Knox Campaign.

She could have asked pertinent questions, such as why did Amanda deliberately and repeatedly lied to the police, or why did Amanda and Raffaele give not only conflicting witness statements, but also completely different accounts of where they were and what they were doing on the night of the murder.

But Jan Goodwin seemingly didn’t. And presumably MarieClaire’s editor paid her, regardless.

Posted on 10/23/08 at 09:00 AM by The MachineClick here & then top left for all my posts;
Right-column links: Hoaxers from 2007Paul CiolinoMore hoaxersHoaxers: media groupsCBS NetworkInnocence ProjectNews media & moviesTerrible reporting
Permalink for this postTell-a-FriendComments here (3)

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Candace Dempsey’s Hearst-Hosted Defense Blog Abuses The Real Victim Here

Posted by Skeptical Bystander


[Shots here are of Seattle Post-Intelligencer’s owner Hearst Media’s building in Manhattan[


When an article about a controversial subject manages to tick everyone off, this might mean the author has achieved a certain level of neutrality!

Rachel Donadio’s brief article in the NY Times recapping the main developments in the Meredith Kercher murder case, is neutral, using this yardstick.

  • For people who have already decided Amanda Knox is guilty, Donadio left out important details needed to expose the case against Knox.

  • And for people who have already decided on Knox’s innocence, Donadio committed the unpardonable sin of allowing Francesco Maresca, the Kercher family’s increasingly vocal legal counsel, to voice this opinion: “The important thing is they were all there,” he said. “All three are responsible.”

In at least one critical respect, the Italian criminal justice system may be better than its US counterpart. In Italy, the family of the VICTIM has the right to legal representation. This seems to perplexe many in the Knox defense camp.

But anyone who has survived the murder of a loved one will understand why it is so important. They will also understand why comments of the kind being posted on Candace Dempsey’s defense blog hosted by Heart’s Seattle Post-Intelligencer are so reprehensible, and why they must be called out as such.

Kelly13, the first poster to weigh in, notes that Maresca has been increasingly vocal about Knox’s involvement and that he recently expressed dismay at the Supreme Court’s decision to throw out Knox’s oral confession. So far, at least, Kelly13 is factual and limits his remarks to Maresca.

But then he goes to work on the Kerchers:

Despite their carefully crafted direct statements expressing a desire for justice, clearly the Kerchers have made up their minds and they don’t strike me as nice or objective people. I wonder if they have created legal liability for themselves, certainly Mr. Maresca can be sued for this unproven claim made against Amanda.

It is hard to pass judgment on “people” who have only spoken to the press twice (that I know of) and who have read brief prepared statements each time. But what struck me as really strange about this comment was how inaccurate and mean it sounded.

Then I remembered where I had read similar sentiments… on the same Dempsey defense blog, about six months ago, by the same poster too. He is a self-proclaimed faith-based activist who says he lobbies for US citizens jailed abroad. Earlier, he noted blithely that the Kerchers needed to “set aside” their grief and jump on the free AK bandwagon.

A few of the few posters on Dempsey’s site tried to explain why his most recent comments were unacceptable, but with Dempsey they were wasting their time.

In reply to those who disagreed, Kelly13 said he knew

...folks who have been through even worse and they had the backbone to stand up against obvious injustice. The least the Kerchers could do is just stay silent and keep their lawyer under control. To fail to do so undermines Amanda’s right to fairness, contributes to her unjust confinement, and shifts focus away from the tragedy that is Meredith. It’s very hard, but in the interest of justice and fairness their lawyer needs to shut up, and only they can affect that.

End of subject for him. He begins his next paragraph: “Moving on…”

These comments were still standing today. I note this only because Candace Dempsey has gained huge notoriety mainly for her heavy thumb on the delete button for posts that go against her bias.

Maresca’s current view of the case will ultimately be proven right or wrong. The family has filed a civil suit for damages against whomever is found guilty, which means that it and its counsel now have access to the 10,000 pages of material submitted by the prosecutor. Maresca’s opinion just might reflect his deep conviction, based on an examination of the evidence.

Furthermore, the Kerchers silence might also be due to their belief that justice is taking its course. They owe nothing, not one thing, to Amanda Knox, Raffaele Sollecito or Rudy Guede.

Conversely, those with a vested interest in the outcome of this case for any of the three suspects owe it to the Kerchers to keep these thoughts to themselves. It is appalling to read on Dempsey’s blog that Kelly13 hopes the Kerchers will ultimately find themselves at the other end of a lawsuit.

It is so appalling under the circumstances that it is physically revolting. Especially considering how utterly restrained the Kerchers have been with respect to the media and how relatively restrained their lawyer has been. In fact, it is incredible to even have to say this. Kelly13, where were you when brains and hearts were being passed out?

In any case, Maresca’s words in the NY Times will have no impact on Judge Micheli, who is presiding over the pre-trial hearing. Micheli, who already knows what Maresca thinks, is also doing his job — which is to examine the evidence, hear the challenges, and decide whether or not to press charges.

Maresca may be a thorn in the side of those who have already decided that at least two of the suspects are innocent, but he plays a vital role for the Kercher family. For just about any surviving victim of a murdered person who has been through the criminal justice process, this is a no-brainer.

The comments about the Kercher family on Hearst’s defense blog make me incredibly sad for this family which has shown remarkable restraint and dignity for almost one year.

Back in January, speaking to Meredith’s hometown paper the Croydon Guardian, Maresca noted: “Meredith’s parents continue to suffer enormously and they faithfully await news of every hearing as they are doing so today. Their objective is to reach the truth of their daughter’s murder out of respect for her memory.”

The surviving Kerchers also deserve a little respect, even in the blogosphere, where anyone can say anything. It doesn’t matter what you think about who did what and why.

Shame on you, Candace Dempsey, for this scurrilous anti-victim blog, and shame on Hearst for hosting it too.


Posted on 10/02/08 at 09:35 AM by Skeptical BystanderClick here & then top left for all my posts;
Right-column links: News media & moviesTerrible reportingThe wider contextsSeattle contextMore hoaxers
Permalink for this postTell-a-FriendComments here (16)

Page 7 of 8 pages « First  <  5 6 7 8 >