Subject area: CBS Network

Friday, April 02, 2010

How The Strongarm Public Relations Resulted in Most Of The Media Getting It Wrong

Posted by Peter Quennell


Click above for the full excerpt from Barbie Nadeau’s new book.

This is surely one of the worst cases of misreporting and malicious bias in all of media history. It’d be very nice (though don’t hold your breath!) if journalism schools and media owners examined the firestorm to stop it ever happening again.

Consider just the US hall of shame.

And please remember: this is the SAME media that turned a blind eye to the Micheli sentencing report on Guede, and appears to be trying hard to do the same (not one of them is translating it) to the Massei sentencing report on Knox and Sollecito.

Here is Barbie Nadeau describing how the sharp-elbowed Knox/Marriott public relations bombardment warped Americans’ take on the case.

Coverage of the crime began to diverge on the two sides of the Atlantic. From the vantage point of Perugia, it seemed as though the Knox family’s American supporters were simply choosing to ignore the facts that were coming to light in Italy….

The American press hung back, at first, objective and somewhat disbelieving that such a wholesome-seeming girl could have any connection to such a sordid foreign crime, and then, as the family stepped up its defense, increasingly divided between two camps that would become simply the innocentisti—those who believed she was blameless—and the colpevolisti, those who did not. In Perugia, these labels governed access…

Of the handful of American journalists in Perugia in late 2007 and early 2008, none got access to the Knox family without certain guarantees about positive coverage. Within months, the family decided to speak on the record primarily to the American TV networks, often in exchange for airfare and hotel bills. Most of the print press was shut out. And the TV producers learned to be very cautious about being seen with people like me, lest the Knox family should cut them off.

But as interest in the case grew, an odd assortment of American talking heads attached their reputations to Amanda’s innocence. An aggressive support group called Friends of Amanda formed in Seattle, headed by Anne Bremner, a media-savvy criminal lawyer who had cut her teeth as a tough prosecutor in Seattle’s King County Court…

Very quickly, [PR manager David] Marriott lost control of the situation. As he spoon-fed the Knox-approved message to American outlets that couldn’t afford to send correspondents to Italy, those of us on the ground in Perugia began passing his contradictory e-mails around as entertainment during the long days in the court.

[We reporters in Rome] began what would be a two-year battle against the Seattle message machine, incurring personal attacks and outright threats.

.

We rather like the Daily Beast book, for its splash of cold water on the media, and for its highly accurate accounting of the court proceedings and of the voluminous evidence the judges also describe in their report.

We also believe that although Meredith’s family did not participate, Barbie Nadeau has strong compassion for them, and a sense of real loss over Meredith.   


Wednesday, March 10, 2010

CBS Producer of Most Biased Perugia-Case Reports Pleads Guilty To An Unrelated Crime

Posted by The Machine



CBS 48 Hours producer Joe Halderman plead not guilty just a few months ago to a blackmail attempt against a popular late-night comedian.

Yesterday, as the report above shows, Joe Halderman really changed his tune.

He now pleads guilty as charged - and he is apparently very relieved to be receiving only 4 to 6 months behind bars, a fine, and community service.

Slimy ethics at play. Not to mention criminal behavior, and a nasty intent to hurt others.

Unsurprising, really, that he worked for 48 Hours.

The CBS production team of Halderman, Longhini and Ely Hulse have tried very hard for two years to sell the American public on the fiction of an innocent Amercian girl being railroaded by corrupt and incompetent foreigners.

The CBS documentaries on Perugia have been exceptionally biased and xenophobic, worse even than those of ABC, highly one-sided, pandering to the Knox family, ignoring of Meredith as the real victim, and absolutely riddled with factual errors.

In particular the CBS team went to town on Prosecutor Mignini, having Doug Preston in his predictably shrill and cowardly manner rant on at great length about him.

This has all been documented here on TJMK.

CBS have never apologized for their anti-victim bias, or their sliming of Italy and the official participants, or their misrepresenting of even the most basic of facts. And now in an example of real poetic justice, one of their lead producers is a convicted criminal, and he has to spend 4 to 6 months behind bars.

We hope that Halderman reflects on his crimes against the trusting American public while inside, as well as his bizarre crime against a CBS colleague.


Friday, October 23, 2009

Producer Of CBS Reports On The Case “Crazy, Desperate, Stupid, And/Or Unscrupulous” ?

Posted by The Machine



[click for larger image] 

Meet Joe Halderman. A CBS producer in New York. He now stands accused of blackmail.

None of the four US networks that have attempted coverage of Meredith’s case has a good record for impartial reporting, or anything remotely like a firm grasp of the prosecution evidence as actually presented.

Not one of them seems to be aware of the very careful pre-trial process or the very damning Micheli report. 

Nevertheless, the overall records of NBC, ABC and CNN seem to show some slight attempt at balance.

NBC produced two extremely good Dateline documentaries, which still represent the standard to beat. ABC has a reporter in the court in Perugia, Ann Wise, who we often quote on TJMK because her reporting is generally impartial and good.

And although CNN aired the one-sided Larry King Show last week, and the wild-eyed Jane Velez Mitchel panel discussion (now disappeared from YouTube) in which the lunatics appeared to be running the asylum, CNN did have some good reporting in the early days of the case, and we hear they will attempt to report better.

CBS undeniably is the worst of the worst. CBS has repeatedly spread bias and misinformation and slimed Italian professionals and witnesses, and for that matter Italy itself, throughout the past two years.

Here is our post on one disaster of a CBS report. And here,  here,  here,  and here are our posts on another.

Joe Halderman of CBS (above) co-produced both of them.

Several weeks ago, Joe Halderman was arrested and charged with blackmail for apparently attempting to stiff CBS comedy host David Letterman for two million dollars.

Mr Halderman, a producer for the real-life crime show 48 Hours, entered his plea as he appeared in court in Manhattan on a charge of attempted grand larceny.

Speaking earlier, Manhattan District Attorney Robert Morgenthau said that the offence, if proven, was punishable by a prison term of five to 15 years. “Our concern here is extortion and that’s what we’re focusing on,” he said.

Mr Halderman was arrested following an undercover police “sting” operation at a New York hotel, during which he was allegedly recorded setting out his blackmail demands to Letterman’s lawyer.

Now it is being reported in New York that Joe Halderman’s story is taking a really bizarre turn.

One of the last 48 Hours stories that CBS Newsman and accused David Letterman blackmailer Joe Halderman worked on - airing just one month before he allegedly launched his plot to extort the late-night host - involved a ransom scheme…

It’s a run-of-the-mill true-crime tale of murder and deception, but it features one detail that seems strange in retrospect: The sister of one of the victims, who never got her brother’s remains from the Philippines after his murder, at one point received creepy anonymous e-mails from someone claiming to have her brother’s ashes, and offering to sell them to her….

The strange thing is, in the story Halderman reported, the ransom scheme goes haywire: The man behind the e-mail ends up attracting attention to himself and gets arrested for Rios’ murder….

We came across the weird synchronicity between Halderman’s day job and his after-hours scheming while going through his old 48 Hours segments and looking for signs that they may have been produced by someone crazy, desperate, stupid, and/or unscrupulous enough to engage in blackmail.

Hmmm. Apparently Joe Halderman is crazy, desperate, stupid, and/or unscrupulous enough to mislead a large segment of the American population about the real facts of Meredith’s murder.

Real crime seems a small step from there. 

Three others who Manhattan District Attorney Robert Morgenthau might also want to keep a close eye on are CBS junior producer Sara Ely Hulse, CBS reporter Peter Van Sant, and CBS consultant detective Paul Ciolino!

All have shown themselves extremely ignorant of the basic facts of the case.

Email exchanges with the obviously obsessively pro-Knox producer Sara Ely Hulse have suggested to us that, among many other key facts of the case, she was not aware of the following:

  • Amanda Knox had a criminal record in Seattle.
  • Amanda Knox had met Rudy Guede on a number of occasions.
  • Amanda Knox was not questioned for 14 hours without an interpreter.
  • A woman’s bloody shoeprint in Knox’s size was found on a pillow in Meredith’s room.

The seemingly extremely amateurish detective Paul Ciolino was responsible for conducting the farcical experiment in Perugia in the first CBS documentary linked-to above where he could not even get the STREET right before claiming this was a railroad job from hell.

And reporter Peter Van Sant channeled some of the worst libels about Prosecutor Mignini - baseless claims about satanic sects and so on - without even being able to spell Prosecutor Mignini’s name properly!

It seems to us very odd that both Sara Ely Hulse and Paul Ciolino appear to be members of the Free Amanda Knox Facebook group. Does CBS have any guidelines at all on ethical matters or standards of reporting?

On second thoughts…. Do we REALLY have to ask?



Above: CBS reporter Peter Van Sant who repeated online unfounded libelous smears about Prosecutor Mignini



Above: Junior CBS producer Sara Ely Hulse, an obsessed Knox fan who participated in CBS’s two fiascos.



Above: CBS consultant Paul Ciolino who ran a farcical test in Perugia and also slimed prosecutor and police



Above: Indecisive CBS producer Doug Longhini who with Joe Halderman produced CBS’s two fiascos

Posted on 10/23/09 at 12:51 PM by The MachineClick here for my past posts, via link at top left.
Archived in Those officially involvedHoaxers: tools & dupesMore hoaxersHoaxers - main mediaCBS NetworkNews media & moviesMedia newsThe wider contexts
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Sunday, June 14, 2009

Italy Shrugs: Why Amanda Knox’s Testimony Seems To Have Been A Real Flop

Posted by Nicki




Posting from Milan (above) where we also have been watching Knox testify in Italian.

Here are just three of the disbelieving headlines on the testimony that have been appearing in the Italian press.

  • All of Amanda’s wrong moves (La Stampa)

  • Amanda growls but Patrick bites (Il Giornale)

  • Amanda: I am innocent. But many “I don’t remembers” start popping up (ANSA)

As many of us were expecting, Amanda’s testimony has backfired. She came across not as confident but arrogant, not as sweet but testy, not as true but a fake who has memorized a script, an actress who is playing a part but not well enough to fool the public.

It is true that the Italian media and public opinion in general have not been very benign with Knox. But not for the reasons that the American media seem to want to push.

Let’s make it clear, Amanda Knox is not on trial because Italians are unaccustomed to or even “jealous” of her freedom and lifestyle… The first time we read these “explanations” we found them quite laughable.

But for many or most Italians the initial amusement has now given way to a profound irritation. Amanda Knox’s lifestyle is shared by hundreds of thousands of Italian girls, who like partying and sex as much as she does - or even more - and they live a happy carefree life with no fear of being perceived as “bad girls.” They behave no differently from any other girl of the same age in America or in any other Western country.

Dear American media, welcome to the 21st century and to globalization!  Please put aside pseudo-romantic and passè vision of a country where all men chase American girls because Italian women are not as approachable for “cultural” reasons: Italian men are into foreign girls no more but no less than Italian girls are into foreign boys.

They generally greatly like Americans because of their great interest and curiosity for a country and its people that many Italian youngsters have only known through books or movies. Amanda Knox is not on trial because she is American and therefore too “emancipated”. She could even be from the North Pole as far as Italians are concerned.

What really matters to them is to find the truth about Meredith’s murder and to do real justice for her terrible death. Italians don’t much like Amanda primarily because they perceive her as a manipulative liar, who is suspected of having committed a heinous crime for which there is a whole stack of evidence - and they perceive this even more-so after this last week’s court hearings.
 
In addition, the US media’s seemingly endless bashing of the Italian justice system, and of the whole country, most recently by CBS and ABC, has definitely made things worse.

The Italian police are NOT known to be particularly violent - although, agreed, it may happen when they’re dealing with violent males suspects from Eastern Europe or Africa, or in the streets when they have to deal with a riot. Violence is NEVER used with white, female college students from Italy, America or elsewhere.

And Italy is a sovereign state with a great juridical tradition. Receiving condescending lectures by the media of a country where the death penalty is still applied in many states comes across as more than insulting - it is utterly ridiculous. Before you judge the “backwardness”  of the Italian justice system, you should at least first read Cesare Beccaria’s amazingly humane Of Crimes And Punishments (written in 1764) and perhaps you’ll reconsider.

If the American media just cannot understand that there are alternatives to the “American way ”, that may not be so bad after all. But they should at least show some respect for a foreign, sovereign state and its people.

If the media can’t even manage to do so - and they really want to help Amanda - the best thing to do now is to go quiet and let the Italian justice work at its pace and according to its own principles. If Amanda is only guilty of arrogance, callousness and narcissism, she will be free soon.

Dear American followers of Meredith and, for that matter, also friends of Amanda Knox. May I speak right to you, and right past the media?

There has been no character assassination, no demonization, no great wave of hate and revenge, no mad prosecutor, no Satan theory of the crime, no invented evidence, and no massive bumbling.

What there has been is a whole stack of evidence and a VERY careful process. Kernit in effect described all the evidence in his extraordinary 150 questions.

And on Friday and Saturday, Amanda Knox for better or worse chose to answer NONE of them.


Saturday, April 11, 2009

CBS Reporter’s Bizarre Claims About Prosecutor And Reporters

Posted by Skeptical Bystander





Peter Van Sant of CBS is the slightly confused-looking reporter in the images above and below.

In promoting his “48 Hours” report tonight, which by all accounts seems intent on equaling CBS’s record for worst report on the case, Mr Van Sant has come out with an interview which is an absolute classic for how not to do such things.

First, consider Mr Van Sant’s remarks about one of the prosecutors in the case. 

As for the accusation that Kercher was killed over a sex game, Van Sant cites an Italian blogger for putting that notion into the prosecutor’s mind. Van Sant said the blogger claims that she speaks to a dead priest who tells her what happened at crime scenes.

The blogger told the main prosecutor in the Knox trial, Giuliano Minnini (sic), that this was a satanic sex game and that’s how the theory started, Van Sant said.

Sliming of a prosecutor in this fashion has already been strongly protested against by Amanda Knox’s own defense team.

And the prosecutor in question, one of two (real name: Mignini), many weeks ago made clear that he had NOT listened to the Rome blogger (had locked her up in fact), is NOT especially pushing any particular theory of motive for the crime, is NOT especially central to the continued momentum of the trial - and has actually started a lawsuit against PRECISELY this kind of libel!

Second, consider Mr Van Sant’s remarks about the reporting of the case.

Among the many (actually rather neutral and non-inflammatory) journalists on the case that Mr Van Sant seems intent on sliming is of course Andrea Vogt of the Seattle PI. He all but refers to her by name and it seems rather obvious who he had in mind.

Ms Vogt is the reporter from the Pacific Northwest who is based in Bologna, Italy and who has been covering this case for the Seattle PI for over a year. Many observers have been impressed with her thorough, objective and factual reporting, particularly since the trial phase began.

Anyone who has been following the case knows how non-objective and pro-defense much of the reporting has been in the US, and how much fluffy air time has actually been arranged by the family-hired PR firm Marriott and company.

So the particular focus of Mr Van Sant’s criticism is really surprising. After claiming that Italy has the most irresponsible tabloid press on the planet and that local Seattle papers like the Times and the PI can’t afford to send reporters to Italy to cover the story, he explained that they hire “stringers”. Apparently these stringers simply translate articles from the Italian tabloids into English and, via the local newspaper circuit which publishes them, they get recycled and become legitimate news.

Mr Van Sant actually uses the terms “filtered” or “laundered”, as if he were talking about Mafia money being invested in life insurance policies.

The Seattle PI has enough problems without having to deal with this irresponsible and possibly defamatory remark. And Andrea Vogt, who to our knowledge is the only “stringer” working on this case who is filing stories for the PI, has been providing some of the best coverage of this case to US readers.

There are many good reasons for this: Ms Vogt is fluent in Italian and lives in Italy for much of the year; and she is a talented writer and an intelligent reporter. But most important, she has been making the trek from Bologna to Perugia and back, and spending Fridays and Saturdays in the courtroom for hours on end.

She recently wrote a piece on the mood in Seattle for Panorama, an Italian publication. For that article, she interviewed people in Seattle—including friends of Amanda Knox.

I would imagine that as soon as each daylong court session ends, she sits down - like the other serious reporters covering this case - and tries to turn out a fair and accurate report of the day’s event under very tight deadlines. Her reporting for the PI has been excellent and fair.

It is not only unfair, it is also dishonest to imply that Andrea Vogt is translating Italian tabloids and trying to pass it off as original reporting. If this interview with Mr Van Sant is any indication, then CBS viewers tonight may be in for an evening of fiction.

In which case, I think I’ll watch “The Greatest Story Ever Told” or “The Sound of Music” instead. Closer to reality than is CBS….



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]


Sunday, September 28, 2008

Test Your Grasp Of The Evidence: Locate The Witness’s Apartment

Posted by Peter Quennell



Overview

The Meredith case is a puzzling and very complicated one, with a talented, hard-working and very appealing girl student, Meredith Kercher, as its sad victim.

Set in an exotic old Italian university town (which normally sees no murders) in another country and under another legal system for most followers. With the main reporting in Italian.

With the victim of one nationality and the suspects of three other nationalities. With limited public information released by police and prosecutors, and with some smoke blown by the defense teams and their enablers.

Analyzing the case based on the public information available at any one time might remind you of peeling the layers of onions. A lot of onions.

The pro-evidence community now on this forum (it recently moved there) has been peeling those onions for nigh on a year now, and you can read many of their impressive achievements on their previous site here.

Here now is one example of the peeling of an onion. It concerns the evidence of a close neighbor who claims to have heard some telling sounds. Despite some attempts to harass her, the signora and her testimony emerge looking pretty credible.

Signora Nara’s House

Signora Nara (her first name) lives in an apartment somewhere above the house of the victim and one of the defendants. She thinks she heard a terrible scream - and then some running footsteps down in front of her apartment somewhere above the girls’ house.

Where her place is really matters because, if she is too far away or at the wrong angle, her evidence becomes a lot less credible.

You need all of these shots to understand her situation. The essential clue as to which one it is is hiding in plain site here.  It was Kermit on the pro-evidence forum (Kermit knows Perugia and has studied the key locations in great depth) who first spotted it, around 10 days ago.The answer is at bottom here.

First we show the shots without any captions. Try to figure out their meaning.

And then down below, we again show the SAME shots, with the relevance of each of them explained.

1. Images Without Any Clues






2. The Various Clues Hiding In Plain Sight



Below: Signora Nara’s apartment is in fact clearly visible somewhere in this shot

Below: The girls’ house cannot be seen from the basement floors of those house

Below: The roof of the girls’ house CAN be seen from apartments one flight up

Below: These are the steel stairs where Signora Nara says she heard climbing footsteps

Below: Again, these are the steel stairs where Signora Nara says she heard climbing footsteps

Below: Th main street south of her apartment; her front door is in a passage left of and parallel to this

Below: This is that parallel passage, here at its west end, emerging (left) onto the stairs by a park

Below: A CBS investigator and a translator in that passage outside Signora Nara’s front door

Below: The CBS investigator and translator again in that passage - at the ground-floor flat

Below: Her bathroom window seen from the parking facility at what is the BACK of her unit

Below: Here are two shots of Singnora Nara looking to the left and down from that bathroom window

Below: here is a shot of her on her balcony looking down and to the left - to the girls’ house

Below: Here are two shots of the roof of the girls’ house; they are from one floor above Signora Nara’s

Below: Here is the roof of the girls’ house in daylight from a similar location - not very far away

Below: And its gravel parking area where she claims she heard some of the footsteps

And The Vital Clue Is…

Below: The vital clue is this bathroom window - surrounded by an extensive mock window facade




And Therefore Her Apartment Is…



Below: The ONLY second-level apartment with a mock facade and balcony is above the trees at center here

With due appreciation to Kermit for first tackling this onion…

Posted on 09/28/08 at 04:55 AM by Peter QuennellClick here for my past posts, via link at top left.
Archived in Evidence & witnessesThe locationsOther witnessesHoaxers - main mediaCBS Network
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Thursday, September 18, 2008

Why CBS Should Report Better - Way Better - On This Case

Posted by Peter Quennell

Pizzey makes at least two mistakes in this gushy little report from Rome on CBS News

  • The short-form trial can normally result in a 1/3 reduction in the sentence - the 2/3 claim appears to be baseless.
  • Rudy Guede “admits” to having sex with the victim - better make that “claims” to have had sex, widely disbelieved.

CBS continues its abysmal track record of being one of the most factually-challenged sources on the case.

Click here for more


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