Sunday, October 02, 2011

Million Dollar Campaign And American Media Come Under Intense Ridicule By An Influential Italian

Posted by Tiziano





Vittorio Zucconi is the US editor of the major daily La Republicca and lives in Washington. He has more influence over Italian perceptions of America than any other. This is translated from the Italian.

A few hours from the verdict, America is in a trance over Baby Amanda - she is the girl from the golden west, an innocent victim of the wicked witches of the east, the ones wearing the robes of the Perugian judges - now awaiting the happy ending that everyone is expecting, which legions of correspondents and American TV cameras talk about and recount, as if the fate of the west depended upon her release from prison on appeal or on the confirmation of the guilty verdict

By Vittorio Zucconi per la Repubblica

She is the “Girl from the Golden West”, the innocent victim of the wicked witches of the east, the ones who wear the robes of the judges from Perugia. It is a melodrama, sung, played and staged for an American audience which relishes it and avidly follows it like a soap opera or one of those legal thrillers which have made the fortune of of authors like Grisham, Turow and before them Earl Stanley Gardner.

Amanda like Puccini’s Minnie, is the snow-white, naive, extremely innocent girl imprisoned on the wild frontier of the Italian justice system, now awaiting the happy ending which everyone expects, which legions of correspondents and TV cameras tell of and which are preparing to recount as if the fate of the West depended on her release form prison on appeal or on the confirmation of her guilty verdict. And which networks like the ABC are already selling for $7.99 to be downloaded to I-pads and tablets.

Such a show of strength, such a shelling out of money on the part of “news organisations”, all now very careful down to the last cent in bad times, about a legal case the like of which has probably not been seen on the other side of the Atlantic since the trial of historic importance of Adolf Eichmann.

Yes, the monster of the SS, the brain and the accountant of the Jewish genocide. Live satellite coverage is expected for the imminent sentence to be pronounced by the Appeal Court and daily services will broadcast, especially those for the morning shows, those desperate housewives, for mothers who have children anxious to escape from the boredom of suburbia, the same old routine of high school parties to fly far away for new experiences, as Amanda dreamed.

The one whom the British tabloid press straight away stained with the nick-name given to her by her soccer team friends, in the football she played as a little girl: Foxy Knoxy, in which foxy means agile, cunning, escaping tackles and not for that “foxy” which, as in Fellini’s Amarcord evokes the arts of an enchantress and insatiable desires. Because while the USA was barracking for Knox, the English cousins were against her.

As well, other than those irresistible ingredients thrown into the cauldron of the morbidity which gains circulation and titillates the worst in every consumer of garbage TV with bombs and horror reconstructions, sex, blood, satanism, the woman with sacrificial lamb and the butcher, in the fury of the American media who throw themselves against this “court peopled with provincial lawyers” (still Rolling Stones which dedicated an extremely lengthy inquest) there is a great repressed and secret desire for vengeance.

There is the repressed rage against that Europe which is always ready with finger raised to accuse American justice of monstrous errors, of inexplicable acquittals (the O J Simpson case), of “puritanical” persecution as is said precisely on our shores, (Clinton crucified for oral sex), of horrible shows, like the arrest and the world-wide shame of Strauss Khan, or the details of the “panties cover-up” - inside or outside? - of the victim of Willy Kennedy Smith, raped on the beach of the Kennedy villa in Florida.

American justice which triumphantly boasts that it is the best in the world, but refuses to recognise that it has sent, and still sends, innocent people defended by useless bar-room lawyers to be executed.

Now swallow this, you supercilious and presumptuous Italians and Europeans. The frenzy of the specials about Amanda is pursued by the satellite nets which have to recuperate their expenses.

CNN, once the authoritative queen of the satellite, yesterday showed a long special on the four years of torments and injustice, with Amanda on show on the site, with her face in the shadow, her fresh-face and prison profile, the “girl next door”, quite different from the she-devil, the satanic female painted by the “baroque” closing arguments (here is another expression which appears in all the reports on the prosecutor, next to “mediaeval”, all that is missing are the Borgias and Machiavelli.)

On the site her face figures in double format in respect to the pallid and sinister image of the jihadist Anwar al-Awaki, killed yesterday, one of the infinite number of aspiring candidates for the succession of Osama Bin Laden. The number of listeners and hits motivates CNN: Amanda is in first place and is beating the terrible terrorists, as well as news on the economy and the stock market, disastrous again.

We are possibly on the way to a second recession, but there is no match, in the ratings, for that travesty, that parody of justice, put in place against the girl from the golden west, martyred in Perugia.

It is a thought that will print books, burn DVDs, work video-recorders to see once more the specials of CNN, Fox, ABC, CBS, MSNBC, local broadcasters, which have exalted as a hero,  the blogger from Perugia who was sceptical from the first day. And the first network which succeeds in obtaining - or buying - the truth from Amanda, the “accidental murderer” who was dreaming of the view of Umbrian cypresses and who saw the prison bars of Italian justice, will be transported to the stars.

‘Is it true that you are always dreaming of sex?” the prison guards would ask the girl, according to her diaries, also printed greedily by Time. True, false, it doesn’t matter. Amanda is a victim, a woman, a little girl, and the verdict has already been issued here. An America, year in year out accused of being an executioner by anti-Americanism, even when its own symbols are collapsing, can finally call itself, this time, the victim. Today, here, we are all Amanda.Knox.




Comments

Beautifully written, lucid piece on the theatrical aspects of this trial and the constructedness of its representations in American media.

Thank you so much, Tiziano, for translating this piece.

Posted by Vivianna on 10/02/11 at 08:05 PM | #

Hi Vivianna. The elegant literate tone is very much a feature of Italian commentary in the big papers and on TV.

Mr Zucconi reads like Beppe Severgnini of Corriere Della Sera in his commentary on American reactions soon after the original verdict in December 2009. Well worth re-reading.

http://truejustice.org/ee/index.php?/tjmk/comments/most_important_italian_paper_balks_at_the_attempts_in_us_at_intimidation/

Posted by Peter Quennell on 10/02/11 at 08:35 PM | #

Wow, talk about spin. I just watched CBS news say that the DNA evidence has been “THROWN OUT.” Maybe I missed something, but has the DNA evidence officially been thrown out?

If not, there are 2 choices: 1) CBS news is that inept and reckless, and/or, 2) They don’t fear any reprisals and have no compunction throwing out misinformation for the sake of swaying a large audience of people.

Who handed down the order to say, “THROWN OUT?” That would come from on high, as any news writer worth his or her salt would tread carefully in saying such. And was the Knox PR firm Gogerty Marriott integral in the use of that phrase?

Amazing. Remember when Operah got herself in hot water over remarks over beef and the following law suit? She won by admitting she wasn’t that smart and had no real responsibility for being accurate. Can CBS News do the same?

Posted by Anthony on 10/02/11 at 10:29 PM | #

A small correction to the last sentence: the word “here”, that is in America, is omitted.

Last sentence should read Today, here, we are all Amanda Knox.

Posted by Tiziano on 10/02/11 at 10:43 PM | #

Wow, talk about spin. I just watched CBS news say that the DNA evidence has been “THROWN OUT.” Maybe I missed something, but has the DNA evidence officially been thrown out?

If not, there are 2 choices: 1) CBS news is that inept and reckless, and/or, 2) They don’t fear any reprisals and have no compunction throwing out misinformation for the sake of swaying a large audience of people.

Who handed down the order to say, “THROWN OUT?” That would come from on high, as any news writer worth his or her salt would tread carefully in saying such. And was the Knox PR firm Gogerty Marriott integral in the use of that phrase?

Amazing. Remember when Operah got herself in hot water over remarks over beef and the following law suit? She won by admitting she wasn’t that smart and had no real responsibility for being accurate. Can CBS News do the same?

Posted by Anthony on 10/02/11 at 10:53 PM | #

Thanks a lot Tiziano. Correction made. I still dont quite get that final point. Anyone?

Posted by Peter Quennell on 10/02/11 at 10:53 PM | #

@Anthony

I read the same thing in the Slate article by Katie Crouch (She said the DNA evidence was ‘eradicated’) and in other US sources.  I wonder where they got that from?

Posted by jamesepowell on 10/02/11 at 10:57 PM | #

@tiziano: Thanks for the translation. The last paragraph seems to mean that Americans feel unjustly accused by the rest of the world and Amanda Knox is a symbol of that. It is a bit of an oversimplication but a nice essay nonetheless.

@Anthony: There are so many zombie lies in this case. Nothing has been thrown out yet, despite the recommendations of the ivory tower C-V duo. The bra clasp DNA is helpful in the context in which it was found. I wasn’t sure until recently what to make of the double DNA knife, but I now believe it was used to cut something of Meredith’s—her key tag perhaps—rather than as the actual murder weapon. Even if you don’t believe that Meredith’s DNA is on the blade it is helpful because it elicited some highly suspicous explanations from Knox and Sollecito.

Posted by brmull on 10/02/11 at 11:25 PM | #

Hello Pete, and thanks for the correction.

I agree with brmull, that Zucconi is referring to Knox “mania” as symbolic of what he seems to see as American feelings of insecurity and resentment in relation to the old world, with Americans perceiving a European attitude of superiority to the new world.  I cannot comment on this, as an Australian.

Perhaps this perceived insecurity could be compared to what used to be called the “cultural cringe” in Australia.  This was the attitude, prevalent in the 1950s & 1960s, that everything of cultural value resided in the UK, with a resultant undervaluing of Australian art and culture.

Posted by Tiziano on 10/03/11 at 12:19 AM | #

Not all Americans think like what you see in the media.  Some actually have a little intelligence and/or have read the reports and this website.  Some do believe she is guilty.  However, most just listen to brief news reports, or read brief summary articles on CNN or CBS and make their opinions from that.  I"m sure the Knox-Mellas clan convinced CBS that the DNA evidence had been “thrown-out”.  I mean, does CBS actually have someone in the courtroom who speaks Italian, and if not, how do they get their information?  From what I heard, the Knox clan gives interviews to them every morning so of course present things in favor of innocence.  Unfortunately there is this kind of ‘stick up for your own countryman (woman) thing’ going on right now - Americans vs Italians.

Posted by believing on 10/03/11 at 01:16 AM | #

Just checked CBS news and saw up on the top the link to “Amanda Knox: Personal Photos”.  Sickening.  Like that is important to see again, to sway our thinking that she is an innocent girl.

“Mignini claimed DNA evidence backed him up. Tabloid headlines made Knox out to be a she-devil. Knox and her Italian boyfriend, Raffaele Sollecito, were convicted of murder in 2009. But this past summer, during their appeal trial, the prosecution’s case unraveled.

“It’s impossible to list the DNA evidence, the hair evidence, the fingerprint evidence that puts Amanda Knox in the room because it doesn’t exist,” according to Burleigh.

An independent scientific panel concluded the DNA evidence was unreliable. Tomorrow, Amanda Knox will give a statement in court proclaiming her innocence. Many observers believe she could be set free by the end of the day.” 

Burleigh wrote a book about the case, obviously believing in innocence.  Not sure her qualifications beyond that.

This is what is going on at the most prestigious university in America, Harvard.  Not all college students are just studying, that is for sure.  I’m sure this 21 year old was a brilliant beautiful student too. Not that drug dealers deserve much sympathy but they were obviously buying from him and then decided to rob and kill him afterwards.  Pleasant.

http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-504083_162-20113988-504083.html?tag=contentMain;contentBody

Or how about this lovely guy?  A minister no less.  I wonder what happened after the crystal meth took hold?  Overdose?  When there was blood all over the place? 

A lot of evil goes on in this world due to drug-taking.

Posted by believing on 10/03/11 at 01:28 AM | #

http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-504083_162-20113392-504083.html?tag=re1.channel

Posted by believing on 10/03/11 at 01:29 AM | #

I wouldn’t be surprised if CBS has already cast Knox for the next season of Survivor.

Posted by brmull on 10/03/11 at 01:54 AM | #

Can somebody provide a link to the information from the experts who claimed the bra clasp and/or knife testing was both unreliable and should be thrown out of evidence?  I can’t find anything but the tabloids on that.  I still do not understand how a clear match of Sollecito’s Y chromosone on the clasp could be disregarded even if it were found 46 days later and even if the clasp is now rusted and cannot be retested.  How could it have gotten there even by contamination or other people handling the clasp?  I guess people really do think the police took Rafa’s saliva and planted it on the clasp after the fact? Or what?

Posted by believing on 10/03/11 at 11:15 AM | #

believing,

CNN reported that the experts testified the two items should be “inadmissible”. Some local media picked up the story. I can’t find this in the Italian media. An error in translation of “unreliable” perhaps? Maybe someone else knows for sure.

Posted by brmull on 10/03/11 at 12:55 PM | #

I have just read this now, two years later, and find it interesting and valid still.
As an English person I am amazed to read of ‘Americans perceiving a European attitude of superiority to the new world’.
I have never encountered this, either in England or Italy, (where my father worked for 20 years. )
On the contrary,then, the Italians generally held the Americans in high regard, and were well aware of the advantages to themselves of learning the American language and habits, or modus operandi. The Americans were deemed to be superior to the English too.  Whether this is still the case (from the 1980s) I don’t know.

Perhaps this AK case has become In a sense symbolic of the changing status and relationship of USA : to Europe, in the new century?

Posted by SeekingUnderstanding on 05/21/13 at 05:31 PM | #


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