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The up-Knoxius media
by Thanos Kalamidas
2009-12-06 10:34:47
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Two incidents with perhaps hours difference between them make me really wandering in what short of cannibal times we are living. A court in Italy decided that the 22 year-old student, Amanda Knox and her 25 year-old ex-boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito found guilty for the murder of another student, 21 year-old Kercher and sentenced to 26 and 25 years in prison respectfully. The same time it is only a year since the ugly murder of a seventeen year-old by a policeman in the streets of Athens and everybody seems to getting ready for a new series of riots and damages in the centre of the city.

In both cases the cannibalism started unfortunately from the media and once more makes you wander what is the real role of the media ion our life and how far they can go to sell a bit more. it is like a cliché every time a criminal is arrested their families and neighbours to fill the television screens with their surprise on how wonderful neighbour they were, on how good parents and how careful citizens but this is not dismissing the fact that a crime was committed and they found guilty. Actually science, especially forensic since as television has proved the last few years, has gone so far that nothing escapes, not Miss Knox.

Her attorneys used every single trick by the book, presenting Miss Knox as the all American sweet girl who went abroad to widen her education and naively got caught in the middle of a situation full of foreigners. Sadly the American media chose to follow the attorneys’ game enriched with photos, videos and a family naturally shocked of the events and ignoring the sequences their actions would cause. So hours after the announcement of the sentence the media started appearing with head lines like: The family of Amanda Knox was furious today that an Italian court convicted her of murder and said the judge, who was part of the jury and read the verdict, couldn't look them in the eye.

I have to admit that I was more in shock reading this headline than I was about the whole case. In just a headline I could see more crimes and unfortunately checking later the comments readers had added in the article see how inappropriate the media had treated the case and the outcome. Justice is blind and the accused is sentenced according the crime and the prove and not because of the sweet face and that the member of the jury didn’t look at Miss Knox’s eyes doesn’t make her innocent; most likely the man felt nervous in front of all those cameras and the attention.

It is natural that Miss Knox’s family feels that it was unfair because they cannot see beyond the little girl they nursed and hold since she was a baby and no parent would like to see his or her kid going to prison for such a hideous crime. And it is natural for these parents to try to find something to hold on even if it is an illusion, even if it is carrying them to dangerous paths like blaming the Italian justice for incompetence. But the crime of the media is obvious when you check on the comments. Nobody says if Miss Knox is guilty or not, what all of them say is that everybody in this world hates Americans and that all Italians are in the mafia!

First of all if there was any doubt that Miss Knox was guilty the American embassy and the American government would have interfere as they have done hundreds of times before, in tens of countries even close allies. Apparently this is an obligation for every government and the Italians would have done exactly the same for an Italian citizen accused wrongly in USA. Then her accomplice, the Italian ex-boyfriend is not mentioned anywhere, or is he by definition guilty and drag the innocent girl into the crime because been Italian he is by birth member of the mafia and a criminal?

Can you see how many thin lines a headline can cross and how many it has crossed bringing for one more time in the public the American prejudice and xenophobia? The funny thing is that the Italians have always been one of the most American friendly nations is Europe. And the Italian Americans are a big part of what is called USA in every part of the American society including science, literature and politics. But I’m afraid what Miss Knox proved is that for the average American, the Italian-Americans are nothing more than spaghetti, pizza and mafia. How sad for a nation that likes to think that it is the champion against prejudice and discrimination.

But in the beginning I mentioned another incident. This weekend is one year since the unfortunate incident in the centre of Athens where a policeman killed a young boy who accidentally found himself in the place where demonstrations and riots where taking place. Apparently in this case the investigation and the court are not still over and the decision will come sometime in the beginning of next year. Exactly a year from the events and since last week all the Greek media, television, newspapers, magazines and online media talk about an awaiting war with young people breaking everything in the centre of Athens and Molotov cocktails flying all around. There was even one making wild guesses for the number of dead.

Since now I’m writing this nothing serious has happened in Athens but everybody is waiting for something to start and the way the media has built up the whole situation with often reports and war style headlines it will take only a spark for the fire to start. Hoping that nothing will happen? Well I’m not sure since all of them seem to work for it. Even the opposition is hoping for something to happen so they can say that it was not their fault or their incompetence – don’t forget that the incident was one of the reasons for the fall of the conservative government - but it can happen to anybody! Amazing and all that with a seventeen year-old boy dead!

That’s why I mentioned cannibalism in the beginning. I’m not trying to flatten the two cases, there is nothing similar about them but the way the media are dealing with them is an insult to humanity and our democracies and I don’t know what will happen in the future but something has to change about this cannibalism from the media.

P.S. from the other side of the Atlantic it seems that the verdict of the Italian court brought some solace to the victims family.


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Emanuel Paparella2009-12-06 13:44:10
Indeed, its it’s reality show time with party crashing at the White House on the same level as murder and the denigrating of a whole culture passing as legitimate news blissfully unaware that it is in fact a travesty of journalism. For example, Vanity Fair magazine featured an article by American reporter Judy Bachrach that explored the contradictions in the above mentioned case in Perugia made into a tabloid event by the media, and cited the opinion of an Italian judge that the country's legal system "stems from the Inquisition and also from medieval law." On 18 October 2009, Bachrach appeared on a broadcast of CNN's Larry King Live featuring Knox's parents, where she claimed that in Italy "the ordinary person is considered guilty until proven innocent. Italy's laws are direct descendants of the Inquisition". So with a large biased brush one indicts and trivializes a country’s judicial system which goes back to Roman Law, the Catholic Church’s two thousand year’s history, the whole one thousand years of Medieval civilization, and indeed the whole religious experience of humankind going back to the beginning of civilization; all in the name of a modern politically correctness and an “enlightened” modern stance. No doubt about it: corruptio optima pessima.

Thanos2009-12-06 20:47:05
Is unbelievable the role of the media to this prejudice. The odd thing is that the Europeans are often blame for anti-american attitude!!!

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