Monday, April 13, 2009

CBS Report Sets New Record For Trashing Of Meredith, Xenophobia, Multi-Inaccuracies, Possible Libels

Posted by Peter Quennell

[above: the CBS producer Doug Longhini]

Those who really know the case well were widely appalled at this vicious and highly misleading piece of propaganda.

A number of complaints have been registered. In the next several days, we’ll be analyzing the CBS report and the reaction at length.

Meanwhile, for those who did not see the CBS report and would like to, try clicking on the image above. It should just open and play.

And if it does not work for you, please tell us, or download and play this zipped version.

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The most interesting thing so far is the deafening silence that has followed this television tabloid. Is it due to embarrassment or indifference?

I came away feeling that the number one and perhaps only real “argument” that supporters have going for them is the farfetched attack on Mignini, which appears to be largely driven by Doug Preston’s grudge against him stemming from a totally unrelated matter. My question is whether Preston is being manipulated by Spezi, whose quarrel with Mignini is quite old by now, or whether he derives some personal benefit or satisfaction from keeping it alive.

What supporters forget it that Mignini is working hand in hand with Manuela Comodi. She is not his assistant; in fact, she is a high-powered and well-respected professional who was recently elected president of the regional magistrates association. If Mignini were to step aside - and no one has ever explained the seriousness of the charge against him in the unrelated matter or whether he even faces jail time if found guilty - the trial would continue in the able hands of Comodi. Does anyone have a rap sheet on her?

It will be interesting to see if the other mainstream networks use this latest treatment as a blueprint for how not to do things. What viewers want - at least this one - is an objective examination of the facts, with perhaps a word or two about the victim thrown in. I don’t see how anyone could have come away from this factual deprivation tank with any understanding or insight into this complex case. Everyone loses.

Posted by Skeptical Bystander on 04/14/09 at 05:39 PM | #

I think Preston is motivated by selling his book.

Nick Pisa’s appearance in the 48 Hours film is notable in that he said nothing whatever that supported or endorsed or even referred to VanSant Ciolino and Preston’s loopy claims.

Posted by bucketoftea on 04/14/09 at 08:20 PM | #

Maybe Pisa thought he was participating in an objective and balanced treatment. Or hoping that his participation would tilt it in that direction. But his comments were not enough to salvage this bloated tanker.

Posted by Skeptical Bystander on 04/14/09 at 09:19 PM | #

Wow. Just got round to watching this documentary. Agree it is horribly biased. The bit when the commentator says ‘Next time, it could be YOUR daughter’ is unbelievable! One question I would like to pose here though is the matter of the witness and the closed window. I had wondered how she could have heard what she heard, and it seems reasonable that she could only have heard it with the window open, on prima facie evidence. I thought it was an interesting re-enactment they carried out, amid all the dross. Any thoughts from anyone who knows the site? I know how things can be distorted and it would be good to hear from someone who knows the places in question. Thank you

Posted by TT on 04/14/09 at 10:55 PM | #

TT, on your question about the reenactment of what Ms Capezzali claims she heard on the night.

Take a look at Kermit’s Powerpoints (his first ever posted here) which explain things very carefully.  In essence, Paul Ciolino of CBS got it absurdly wrong back then - and the mistake is repeated in the new 48 Hours.

Ms Capezzali testified at trial that the running feet were directly below her window, on the top deck of the parking facility (20-30 feet away, one floor down and out some) and then up some very noisy steel steps to her right.

But the CBS re-enactment had had the paid kids running way down below the parking facility, on a different kind of surface (blacktop) along the road just above the house (maybe 200 feet away). And the simulation was (1) from the apartment above, so add another 10 feet and (2) behind double glazed windows. Ms Capezzali’s windows are single-glazed.

Could CBS have got the simulation back then more wrong? it is very hard to see how. And yet, so desperate were they to smear everything that moves, they just repeated their claims!

I was there of course, at night, and that area is normally VERY quiet. I posted some of my shots a couple of weeks ago on the deck and steel stairs. Take a look.  And you can see a shot of Ms Capezzali’s precise location in this post here.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 04/14/09 at 11:14 PM | #

Nick Pisa is one of the two or three British reporters that we quote the most because he is tough-minded on the case, impervious to spin, thinks the investigation and trial are fair and quite competent, and is very on the ball in getting his reports filed.

CBS via the Foreign Press Club in Rome made the 24 Hours piece available to any reporter who asked for it, so Nick Pisa would have seen it via that route if he hadn’t already see it on our site. Safe to say that Nick is wondering now how he got tied to THAT rabid anti-Mignini dog!!

More and more of the reporters seem to be growing a conviction that they have been rolled and becoming neutral. Not one reporter who is CLOSE to the case (the confused Peter Van Sant sure isn’t) sound remotely the way Mr Van Sant was sounding in that report.

By chance the confused Mr Peter Van Sant and I crossed paths in Manhattan last night. I was headed down from Colombia University, and he was certainly not on my mind. But he came out of the huge CBS complex on West 57th at 6:30 pm, and headed for his Accura MDX sports utility vehicle parked on 9th Avenue.

Mr Van Sant did not look like a happy camper! Red-faced and rattled. Maybe he, too, now joins the ranks of the de-confused. Welcome to our site, here, Pete!

Posted by Peter Quennell on 04/14/09 at 11:50 PM | #

Hi Arnold,

So far, I haven’t seen any report of the scandalous 48 Hours show on this side, and this indifference speaks volumes to me…  In the collective imagination, the FOA PR machine has done a great job in representing America at its lowest: arrogant, xenophobic and unreasonable.

Evidently the Italians have got past indignation and are bored of being lectured about the serious flaws of their judicial system and their third-world-country incompetence level. They’ve got more important thing to worry about, like the recent earthquake and the economic crisis to name a few. So, let the Perugia trial take its course, and the guilty be sentenced to the maximum penalty. This is what the general feeling is on this side of the ocean.

Posted by Nicki on 04/15/09 at 02:52 AM | #

For those of you in Europe, let me make an observation.  CBS and NBC run programs weekly that hash over crimes, usually murders, presenting both prosecution and defense sides of the story. Every so often, it will be a case where someone has been convicted and newly discovered evidence is presented to set them free.

I’m somewhat of a crime junkie and often watch them, trying to decide on the information given whether I’d vote to convict.  In all the years I have watched, I can never recall another case before the Meredith Kercher murder that any network has hired someone to review the evidence, who came on to say that the accused is innocent.  This happened with both networks!

If you are seekers of true justice for this life so tragically snuffed out, then it should not include anyone who is innocent.  Frankly from the evidence reported to date in this trial, I am not convinced of the guilt of either defendant.

For starters, their having seen the movie, Amelie, whose theme is “the joy of doing a good deed,” just before the event doesn’t strike me as the kind of media that puts one in the mood for rape and murder.  The coroner concluded that there were so many marks and wounds, some 47, that it had to be the work of two people.  Yet, last week, Marek Harcek alone was convicted in Scotland of rape/murder where over 60 were catalogued.  Where is the evidence of prior rough sex by the defendants?  Where is the evidence of bruising and cuts on the defendants caused by inflicting some 47 wounds? If a weapon, other than the knife was used, then why hasn’t there been a report of it?  Why doesn’t the knife containing dubious DNA match the blood pattern on the sheet?  Since the bloody footprint on the sheet doesn’t match the defendants, whose is it?  I could go on, but this should be enough to make the point we all should keep open minds.

Posted by Barry T on 04/16/09 at 03:36 AM | #

Barry, the only network to look at the case professionally and objectively and really in-depth has been NBC in its Dateline last December.

And nobody on that show thought anyone was being railroaded. The great experts they had on there all seemed pretty stunned by the full panorama of evidence. That is where we first began to hear about the defense’s whack-a-mole problem. 

Few people have ever argued that a murder was pre-planned, and we certainly haven’t ever reposted such a claim. And Judge Micheli explained that a clean-up was all but certain.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 04/16/09 at 06:12 AM | #
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