Tuesday, September 10, 2019

How “Psychology Expert” Malcolm Gladwell Gets Every Single Claim On The Case Wrong

Posted by Peter Quennell

Ironic headline? First thing, try telling the truth?

This overview of the Gladwell series lists all posts.

Rebuttals Of 33 False Claims

This is our first quick take on Malcolm Gladwell’s depiction of the case.

As we show, Gladwell lies extensively and pretty maliciously about Italians, Italians justice and the real case.

Not one Italian in the justice system was contacted by Gladwell or his publishers Little, Brown (a subsidiary of the Hachette group) to check any of the claims made.

Gladwell’s false take has been made into a major selling point for the book - the publishers’ press release emphasizes the Knox chapter.

2. Our First Quick Rebuttals

These quick rebuttals will be expanded-on in the coming series. We’d suggest you might first read up on all the smoking guns which Gladwell missed entirely.

[1] On the night of November 1, 2007, Meredith Kercher was murdered by Rudy Guede. [The BLACK guy ALONE did it? A racist PR trope. ALL courts said the evidence proved 2 or 3 attackers. It was impossible AS DEFENSES AGREED to prove a lone attacker.]

[2] After a mountain of argumentation, speculation, and controversy, his guilt is a certainty [not his guilt ALONE].

[3] Guede was a shady character [no he wasn’t] who had been hanging around the house [he had friends downstairs] in the Italian city of Perugia, where Kercher, a college student, was living during a year abroad. [She was a high performer unlike Knox, enrolled at the main university unlike Knox, was well funded unlike Knox, and not on drugs unlike Knox.]

[4] Guede had a criminal history. [He had NONE. Only Knox & Sollecito had police records then.]

[5] He admitted to being in Kercher’s house the night of her murder—and could give only the most implausible reasons for why. [Knox and Sollecito each gave multiple alibis and contradicted one another.]

[6] The crime scene was covered in his DNA. [Covered? No it wasn’t. There was more Knox DNA.]

[7] After her body was covered [the courts all believed by Knox] he immediately fled Italy for Germany. 

[8] But Rudy Guede was not the exclusive focus of the police investigation [because Knox fingered PATRICK first] nor anything more than an afterthought [untrue] in the tsunami of media attention that followed the discovery of Kercher’s body.

[9] The focus was instead on Kercher’s roommate. [Not immediately; not till after, under no pressure, she REPEATEDLY accused Patrick of murder and admitted to being there when Meredith died.]

[10] Her name was Amanda Knox. [Seemingly solely in Perugia for drugs; she was not enrolled at the main university, and had no work permit, and little money though funding REQUIRING SUPERVISION was easily available from her Seattle university.] 

[11] She [said she] came home one morning and found blood in the bathroom.

[12] She and her boyfriend, Raffaele Sollecito, called the police [after the police had already arrived]. 

[13] The police came and found Kercher dead in her bedroom; within hours [untrue] they added Knox and Sollecito to their list of suspects [untrue; they did not even have status of WITNESSES].

[14] The crime, the police believed [untrue; this was a prosecution proffer, as the murder was believed unpremeditated] was a drug-and alcohol-fueled sex game gone awry, featuring Guede, Sollecito, and Knox. [Guede was not even known about for 2 weeks. Knox had framed Patrick and HE was locked up; she left him there for two weeks, and rightly served three years for this felony.]

[15] The three were arrested, charged, convicted, and sent to prison - with every step of the way chronicled obsessively by the tabloid press. [Which tabloid press?  Coverage was no different than numerous cases in the UK and US.]

[16] “A murder always gets people going. Bit of intrigue. Bit mystery. A whodunit,” British journalist Nick Pisa says in the documentary Amanda Knox - one of a vast library of books, academic essays, magazine articles, movies, and news shows spawned by the case. [Read our Netflix Hoax series on this. That “documentary” was created by Knox PR.]

[17] “And we have here this beautiful, picturesque hilltop town in the middle of Italy. It was a particularly gruesome murder. Throat slit, semi-naked, blood everywhere. I mean, what more do you want in a story.” [Pisa did numerous OBJECTIVE reports as we have shown.]

[18] Other signature crime stories, such as the O. J. Simpson and JonBenet Ramsey cases, are just as enthralling when you rediscover them five or ten years later. The Amanda Knox case is not. [There was a real victim here, Gladwell apparently forgets.]

[19] It is completely inexplicable in hindsight. There was never any physical evidence linking either Knox or her boyfriend to the crime. [There was a mountain of evidence, see the list of 400 points as described by the trial judge in 440 pages.] 

[20] Nor was there ever a plausible explanation [untrue; Gladwell completely misses the real sharp-elbowed, noisy, lazy, dirty, jealous Knox] for why Knox, an immature, sheltered, middle-class girl from Seattle [who was sleeping with a dangerous drug dealer] would be interested in engaging in murderous sex games with a troubled drifter [Guede was not troubled or a drifter; Gladwell sure is free with the racist remarks] she barely knew [untrue].

[21] The police investigation against her was revealed as shockingly inept. [No it wasnt, not even one item of evidence was discredited.]

[22] The analysis of the DNA evidence supposedly linking her and Sollecito to the crime was completely botched. [No it wasnt, defense observers watched ALL PROCESSING without complaint].

[23] Her prosecutor was wildly irresponsible, obsessed with fantasies about elaborate sex crimes. [Defamatory total nonsense, he has ZERO interest in fantasies and GAVE KNOX BREAKS such as the 17 Dec 2007 interview; and there were TWO prosecutors at trial and various others at appeal; at trial Manuela Comodi presented more than half of the case].

[24] Yet it took a ruling by the [infamously bent] Italian Supreme Court [Fifth Chambers] eight years after the crime, for Knox to be finally declared innocent. [Knox was not declared innocent. And it was not ITALY that spun the process out for eight years. It was mafias and families of the two perps repeatedly corrupting the courts that did that. The bent Fifth Chambers of the Supreme Court broke Italian law in dismissing hard evidence.]

[25] Even then, many otherwise intelligent, thoughtful people disagreed [otherwise intelligent? Even the Fifth Chambers said Knox was present at the scene of the crime].

[26] When Knox was freed from prison, a large angry crowd gathered in the Perugia town square to protest her release. [And Sollecito’s; they had seen a very fair trial in 2009 and knew the 2011 appeal was bent.]

[27] The Amanda Knox case makes no sense. [Exactly what cases do? Absurd point.]

[28] I could give you a point-by-point analysis of what was wrong [go right ahead if you can; but no more mindless cut-and-paste fictions from the vicious Knox PR] with the investigation of Kercher’s murder.

[29] It could easily be the length of this book [and all of it fictional, judging by this book. Both perps had large defense teams; where are THEIR complaints?]

[30] I could also refer you to some of the most comprehensive scholarly analyses [untrue] of the investigation’s legal shortcomings, such as Peter Gill’s meticulous [and seen as a hoax by numerous better experts] “Analysis and Implications of the Miscarriages of justice of Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito” in the July 2016 issue of the criminology journal Forensic Science International, which includes paragraphs like this: 

The amplified DNA product in sample B was also subjected to capillary gel electrophoresis. The electrophoretic graph showed peaks that were below the reporting threshold and allele imbalance at most loci. I counted only 6 alleles that were above the reporting threshold. The electrophoretic graph showed a partial DNA profile that was claimed to match Meredith Kercher. Consequently, sample B was border-line for interpretation.

[This is a hoax. Some 29 of 30 STRs matched, as Gill knows very well. And this was a tiny fraction of a huge body of DNA, see the Wiki’s massive spreadsheet for hundreds of swabs and tests - which defenses HURRIED PAST as did Gill.]

[31] But instead, let me give you the simplest and shortest of all possible Amanda Knox theories. Her case is about transparency. [Nonsense. This was one of the most transparent legal processes in recent history; does Gladwell even KNOW about the massive number of documents?]

[32] If you believe that the way a stranger looks and acts is a reliable clue to the way they feel - if you buy into the Friends fallacy - then you’re going to make mistakes. [Totally irrelevant. This was NOT why Knox was charged.]

[33] Amanda Knox was one of those mistakes. [And Gladwell’s pretentious book is about how WE cannot see truth?]


The Machine posted this comment under the previous post on truth reporters, it’s worth having it show here.

I’ve read Malcolm Gladwell’s chapter about Amanda Knox and it’s obvious he hasn’t read the official court reports or court transcripts, but relied partly on error-ridden reports in the media without bothering to do any fact-checking.

He repeats a couple of PR lies about Rudy Guede being a drifter and a criminal, his DNA covering the crime scene, and the police claiming Meredith was killed in a sex game gone wrong.

He’s labouring under the misapprehension that Amanda Knox was convicted because her behaviour was bizarre after the murder. He completely ignores most of the evidence against Knox and Sollecito and the Italian Supreme Court’s most damning findings against her:

Examples: she’s guilty of trying to frame an innocent man for rape and murder, it’s a proven fact she was at the cottage when Meredith was killed, she washed Meredith’s blood off in the small bathroom, she lied repeatedly to the police and the break-in at the cottage was staged.

Reposted here for the Machine.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 09/10/19 at 11:49 AM | #

This negative review just appeared on the Amazon site and focusses on Gladwell’s poor take on another case, and accuses him of “foot in mouth” meaning poor-quality research and writing.

2.0 out of 5 stars
Sadly, Gladwell places his foot in his mouth…
September 10, 2019
Format: Kindle Edition

Wow, does this book ever suffer from a severe case of foot-in-mouth disease!

I almost didn’t make it past the introduction. In my pre-publication copy, Gladwell writes, “The Sandra Bland case came in the middle of a strange interlude in American public life” and then goes on to discuss a series of cases of police violence against black people that happened around 2014.

“Strange interlude.” Really?

That phrasing suggests that this treatment was some sort of aberration in American history and that the violence only happened during the few years he references. Did Gladwell really mean to ignore America’s long history of this problem?

I don’t think so? I think he may have meant that the attention paid to police violence was unusual, but dude, choose your words much more carefully.

Later on, there are some good points made about how and why we tend to misunderstand each other.

But, again, I almost put the book down, this time while reading the chapter on the Brock Turner sexual assault case. Without going into detail, that chapter could only have been written by someone who’s buried his head in the sand over the past five years or so.

It’s tough to ignore the problematic elements of Talking to Strangers. I could definitely see the discussion of the causes of sexual assault offending some readers to the point that they abandon the book altogether. I’ve definitely enjoyed other books by the author a lot more than this one. Two stars.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 09/10/19 at 12:04 PM | #

I keep wondering what the Knox piece is even doing in the book. Has anyone esle broken the code?

Now apparently others are having problems figuring out why ANYTHING is in the book.

“Malcolm Gladwell Reaches His Tipping Point


Posted by Peter Quennell on 09/10/19 at 04:20 PM | #

Andrew Ferguson writing for “The Atlantic” is a witty witty guy. Enjoyed the link. He roasts Gladwell’s latest book as a mish-mash that boils down to “be modest and restrained when talking to strangers”.

Humans find it hard to communicate with one another. I’m still laughing at Ferguson’s line, “misadventures too numerous to count”. Although he refers to government intelligence gatherers, the phrase seems to sum up certain families’ behavior, and in the Knox case, the disasters of the media in trying to find the truth.

How can all the media overlook Knox’s DNA mixed with Meredith’s blood in 5 places in the cottage, including a bedroom outside the “murder room”? And little mummy-boy Raf’s hammertoe footprint smeared in blood on a rug?

It boggles the mind, the way the Luminol footprints of Knox, the woman’s tennis shoe print Knox’s size in visible blood, were at the scene.

A staged burglary. Well, what does that mean? It means theft was not the reason for the killing. Theft was not the reason. The woman was killed for a different reason. A staged burglary was to suggest someone from OUTSIDE the home came in and did it. The truth is the opposite. An inside job.

Raf’s DNA was on a cigarette butt in the cottage. Where he was, Knox was present. Where he went, she went. They were joined at the hip at the time of the murder. Supremes of Italy ruled more than one assailant.

Posted by Hopeful on 09/14/19 at 09:14 AM | #

Hi Hopeful

A very good first stab at an “evidence Gladwell ignored” list. The Machine will be expanding on that.

And you see full well that Gladwell was taken in by Knox 2.0. We’’ be posting on that.

GLadwell’s seriously bizarre para putting Knox up on a throne and kicking Guede on the rung below was very telling on this.

Nor was there ever a plausible explanation for why Knox, an immature, sheltered, middle-class girl from Seattle - would be interested in engaging in murderous sex games with a troubled drifter she barely knew.

Knox 1.0 as you know so well was radically different, it would be very hard to get an accurate grip on Knox 1.0 (summarised in a few words in the post) but NOT think she led the pack attack.

Murder may not have been the intent as the good prosecutor Gladwell flamed believed (and so would have settled for something less than Murder 1.0).

But only a lunatic would not believe Knox capable of a HAZING as she had already hazed students, back in Seattle, and besides was high on drugs when Meredith died.

She claimed marijuana but, first, skunk cannabis has caused psychotic spells and deaths (as in Rome just a few weeks ago?) and, second, she stank of cat-pee on the morning after (and after two claimed showers) which is an indicator of the use of cocaine.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 09/14/19 at 11:31 AM | #

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