Diary of the Fearless Truth Seekers: The Week in Tabloids – The ‘Special Relationship’

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The British tabloids, and the Daily Mail in particular got to indulge in one of their favourite, and least pleasant, pastimes last week- the vilification of women.

The Mail seems to think that what its largely female readership want is to see attractive young women demonised. Sadly they are probably onto something.

Sometimes you know that what they really want to do is just feature pictures of smiling girls with ‘whores’ crudely drawn over them in crayon.

This time they decided to pick on someone who is just starting to turn her life around after what anyone would consider deeply unpleasant circumstances.

In 2007 a twenty-year old American student went to jail in Italy where she would remain for four years for the murder of a 21 year old woman. A motiveless murder with no solid forensic evidence incriminating her. Well, Knox’s motives that the prosecution had suggested in the trial were ‘satanic ritual orgy’, ‘cult sacrifice’, ‘sex game gone wrong’, and a ‘marijuana-fuelled rage’.

Presumably using the plots from bad movies is a legitimate Italian legal technique.

The jailed woman was of course Amanda Knox, and the murdered woman was Meredith Kercher. Now we weren’t in the room when Miss Kercher had her life cut horrifically short. Like any crime in which we weren’t weren’t directly involved, we only have court decisions to go on. We therefore can only conclude that Miss Knox is innocent as she has not been proven guilty. The presumption of innocence goes back centuries and is demonstrably the fairest and most successful criminal law system used by mankind thus far.

Given this assumption, you might be forgiven for thinking that Amanda Knox therefore deserves some sympathy. The British tabloids didn’t seem to think so. Tuesday’s Daily Mail front page headline was

WEEPING FOXY IS FREED TO MAKE A FORTUNE

This is on the day she has found out she is free. Imagine what the headline would have been if she was laughing?

It seems that regardless of what Miss Knox may be innocent of, she is guilty of being attractive and American. Writers are therefore free to project whatever femme fatale fantasies on to her that they choose. Little has changed since the days of King Edward VIII and Mrs Simpson. In fact so determined were The Mail to demonise her that Thursday’s article on page 7 repeated the accusation

Knox ready to cash in

Was the headline of an article that made no reference beyond pure implication of Miss Knox being  ‘ready to cash in’.

There was also a mini-article headlined

Judge: Amanda may know the ‘real truth’

It’s worth printing Judge Claudio Pratillo Hellman’s statement in full because it’s the weirdest legal argument since.. well since ‘marijuana-fuelled rage’.

The truth was created in the trial. But the real truth could be different. They (Knox and Raffaele Sollecito) could be responsible, but the proof isn’t there. So, maybe they know but as far as the jury go, they didn’t.

Thanks for that.

It wasn’t just The Mail of course, but the general concensus was that any relief Amanda Knox showed for being free (as opposed to the rampant reporting of it) was some kind of direct insult of Meredith Kercher’s family. The insult though is that the tabloids decided that the real story isn’t actually the pursuit of the ‘real truth’.

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