Sex, Murder and Drugs: the Amanda Knox Media Circus

Federico Zirilli/AFP/Getty Images

Did Amanda Knox kill her roommate? I have no idea, but I do know that there has been a media circus surrounding the trial since day one.

Besides for Knox’s guilty verdict and 26-year sentence in Italy, the biggest issue to come out of the trial is the media attention to the case and whether it influenced the jurors:-

  • Was Amanda Knox guilty, a victim of anti-American sentiments, a puppet caught in a war between fact and frenzy, some of that, none of all or all of that?

Many Americans have been calling the trial unfair, biased and are doubting the Italian justice system. On the other side of the pond, Italians (and other Europeans) are calling Americans ignorant, stupid and unfair for doubting another first-world nation’s justice system.

I read one headline over the weekend that says it all, “Amanda Knox: ‘She-Devil’ Or Victim Of Anti-Americanism?” What about “The New Face of Evil” as a title? Or, “Amanda Knox: guilty…but of what?

Even in the case of Knox’s ex-boyfriend, Raffaele Sollecito, who was convicted of murdering Meredith Kercher as well, the media has played a huge role in his life too.

“The television described him as a womanizer, in fact he was shy and introverted,” said Saverio Pinetti Mofetta, who has known Sollecito for 10 years, in an ABC news article.

What is so interesting about the entire media situation is the trial’s on-going theme on our soil: accidentally or on purpose, some Americans, who have been sympathetic to Knox, are denouncing a foreign justice system. Some even going as far as to say that Knox would have stood a better shot being tried in Iran.

As I’ve been reading bits on and off for the past few months about the Amanda Knox trial, I’ve often thought back to the days of the O.J. Simpson case. While, some people may have disagreed with the not-guilty verdict of that trial, very few, if any, attacked the entire American justice system all together.

Taking a similar situation and putting it on foreign land, those tables have turned.

The Seattle Pi, owned by Hearst Seattle Media, has cited this where, “national identity is putting a xenophobic twist on support for Amanda Knox. Some are even pledging to act on their distrust.”

Oli Scarff/Getty Images

Monday, December 7, after the verdict was announced on previous Friday, the family of Amanda Knox, who is convicted in Italy of murdering her British flatmate, Meredith Kercher, on November 1, 2007, alongside her Italian boyfriend, Raffaele Sollecito, announced their intention to solicit the help and intervention of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in order to overturn the guilty verdict. Not only that, but the family made an appeal on Larry King Live Monday evening as well.

The media is a powerful tool and it has been known to bend things to it’s whim. That being said, some are questioning whether or not, there is a valid argument for the release of Amanda Knox, or if we are witnessing the result of intense media coverage.

An article on the Huffington Post points out that, yes, in extreme cases in “rouge” nations such as Iran and North Korea, extreme measures have been undertaken to release American citizens wrongly accused, or harshly condemned. For example, when the US called for the release of the Iranian-American NPR journalist Roxana Saberi, earlier this year, who was charge with espionage in Iran.

“Italy is not Iran or North Korea. Ms. Knox was not convicted in under an hour during a closed-door trial, as Saberi was,” said the Huffington Post.

And that’s an interesting take on the facts of the situation as well as the frenzy surrounding the case.

  • How many things is Amanda Knox guilty of, if any at all?
  • And furthermore, who is the victim here? Are there more than one?
  • Did nicknames like ‘ Foxy Knoxy,’ ‘She Devil’ and ‘Amanda the Ripper‘ play a part in the outcome? If so, to what degree?
  • Is this a case of a cultural divide gone horribly wrong and twisted into so many different knots that it doesn’t even look the same anymore?

I’m not a lawyer or someone who can claim to be intimate with this case, but even I can see this is one complicated mess and the media did, in fact, play a huge role in it.

On a side note, Gawker, while joking, did post up a rather crude, but on the mark article, about Americans going abroad, “How Not to Get Arrested When You’re Abroad: A Foxy Knoxy-Inspired Guide.” It’s worth a read, because as someone who was a student, who did, study abroad, ignorance isn’t bliss and it’s important to, not only, do your research ahead of time, but be a smart traveler too…for your own good.

Also, ABC News has a section on their website where you can read all their articles on the entire Amanda Knox trial from the beginning, here.

The Daily Beast also had a very thought-provoking article (or well series at this point) that documented the clear divisions in information from the courtroom to  the newsrooms, here.

Of all the articles covering the story the UK Telegraph, in their comments section,  had some of the most thought provoking tidbits on what people really think, here.

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Sasha Muradali runs the ‘Little Pink Book’ . She holds a B.S. in Public Relations from the University of Florida (’07) and an M.A. in International Administration from the University of Miami(’08). She loves Twitter and all things social media, so you should find her @SashaHalima or get a copy of the ‘Little Pink Book’ delivered to your Kindle.

Copyright © 2009 Sasha H. Muradali. All Rights Reserved.

Comments

  1. “On the other side of the pond, Italians (and other Europeans) are calling Americans ignorant, stupid and unfair for doubting another first-world nation’s justice system.” Where did you read this? Can you quote an Italian Newspaper or Italians saying this?
    What is horrible is reading anti-Italian articles just because a person who has been considered guilty happens to be italian.
    And more, the Italian law sistem does not consider a person as guilty until the 3rd grade of judgment. Amanda Knox has been declared guilty at the first grade. Her lawyers are already working to prepare the request for the second grade of jursdiction. That means, another trial in one year.
    Peace,

    Lori

  2. Hi Lori,

    Thank you for your comment.

    Actually, if you click the links (they show up in green) in the article, they take you to a wide variety of articles from different papers.

    There are at least 15 different newspapers cited throughout this piece.

    That is the same for the statement that you questioned of mine; I was paraphrasing.

    As you'll see throughout my article, all direct quotes are quoted, information is cited by the green links and the same goes for some of the paraphrasing.

    My article was never intended to say whether or whether not Amanda Knox is guilty, or whether or whether or not the Italian system is good or bad.

    The intention of my article is media attention on the trial.

    Of all my videos only one is actually 'informational.' The rest are included because they provide prime examples of media attention to the case.

    ABC News, the Telegraph and a few other papers, including the online Daily Beast, have each cited that there have been issues in this case from the very beginning with the influence of the media on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean (aka the Pond.) And a large concern for for its influence on the jury.

    Amanda's nickname from her soccer team in Seattle, “Foxy Knoxy,” was taken by the media and paired up with “she devil.”

    “She Devil,” as any number of articles that I linked too, or that news.google.com can point you too, will tell you, that the nickname was coined by the a juror on the case and the Italian, then worldwide media, ran wild with it.

    “She devil” came out directly following the media's use of “foxy knoxy.”

    So does that mean an Italian juror was influence by the media and got caught up in the frenzy? Well, I don't know the answer to that.

    I believe the first video in my post points out the amount of media attention given to this case.

    I hope that clears up any misunderstandings you had about the information presented.

    Have a good evening,
    Sasha

  3. The evidence against Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito is overwhelming.

    Amanda Knox’s DNA was found on:

    1. On the double DNA knife and a number of independent forensic experts – Dr. Patrizia Stefanoni, Dr. Renato Biondo and Professor Francesca Torricelli – categorically stated that Meredith’s DNA was on the blade.

    2. Mixed with Meredith’s blood on the ledge of the basin.

    3. Mixed with Meredith’s blood on the bidet.

    4. Mixed with Meredith blood on a box of Q Tip cotton swabs.

    5. Mixed with Meredith’s blood in the hallway.

    6. Mixed with Meredith’s blood on the floor of Filomena’s room, where the break-in was staged.

    7. On Meredith’s bra according to Dr. Stefanoni AND Raffaele Sollecito’s forensic expert, Professor Vinci.

    Amanda Knox’s footprints were found set in Meredith’s blood in two places in the hallway of the new wing of the cottage. One print was exiting her own room, and one print was outside Meredith’s room, facing into the room. These bloody footprints were only revealed under luminol.

    A woman’s bloody shoeprint, which matched Amanda Knox’s foot size, was found on a pillow under Meredith’s body. The bloody shoeprint was incompatible with Meredith’s shoe size.

    Two independent imprint experts categorically excluded the possibility that the bloody footprint on the blue bathmat could belong to Rudy Guede. Lorenzo Rinaldi stated:

    “You can see clearly that this bloody footprint on the rug does not belong to Mr. Guede, but you can see that it is compatible with Sollecito.”

    The other imprint expert print expert testified that the bloody footprint on the blue bathmat matched the precise characteristics of Sollecito’s foot.

    An abundant amount of Raffaele Sollecito's DNA was found on Meredith's bra clasp. Sollecito must have applied considerable pressure to the clasp in order to have left so much DNA. The hooks on the clasp were damaged which confirms that Sollecito had gripped them tightly.

    According to Judge Massei and Judge Cristiani, Rudy Guede's visible bloody footprints lead straight out of Meredith's room and out of the house. He didn't lock Meredith's door, remove his trainers, go into Filomena's room or the bathroom that Meredith and Knox shared.

    He didn't scale the vertical wall outside Filomena's room or gain access through the window. The break-in was clearly staged. This indicates that somebody who lived at the cottage was trying to deflect attention away from themselves and give the impression that a stranger had broken in and killed Meredith.

    Guede had no reason to stage the break-in and there was no physical evidence that he went into Filomena's room or the bathroom. The scientific police found a mixture of Knox's DNA and Meredith's blood on the floor in Filomena's room. They also found irrefutable proof that Knox and Sollecito had tracked Meredith's blood into the bathroom.

    The murder dynamic implicates Knox and Sollecito.

    Barbie Nadeau wrote the following:

    “Countless forensic experts, including those who performed the autopsies on Kercher's body, have testified that more than one person killed her based on the size and location of her injuries and the fact that she didn't fight back—no hair or skin was found under her fingernails.”

    Judge Paolo Micheli claimed that Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito knew precise details about Meredith's murder that they could have only known if they were present when she was killed.

    Amanda Knox voluntarily admitted that she involved in Meredith's murder in her handwritten note to the police on 6 November 2007. She stated on at least four separate occasions that she was at the cottage when Meredith was killed. She also claimed that Sollecito was at the cottage.

    Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito both gave multiple conflicting alibis and lied repeatedly. Their lies were exposed by telephone and computer records, and by CCTV footage. Neither Knox nor Sollecito have credible alibis for the night of the murder despite three attempt each. At the trial, Sollecito refused to corroborate Knox's alibi that she was at his apartment.

    Legal expert Stefano Maffei stated the following:

    “There were 19 judges who looked at the evidence over the course of two years, faced with decisions on pre-trial detention, review of such detention, committal to trial, judgment on criminal responsibility. They all agreed, at all times, that the evidence was overwhelming.”

  4. The English translation of Judge Massei's sentencing report can be downloaded from here:

    http://www.perugiamurderfile.org/viewtopic.php?…

  5. No one will ever forget what happened to Meredith Kercher. She will always be remembered as a good college student whose life was taken from her. But, to accuse one person, who may not be guilty of the crime just so that they may convict someone for the case, seems wrong. They found the person who murdered her.

  6. No one will ever forget what happened to Meredith Kercher. She will always be remembered as a good college student whose life was taken from her. But, to accuse one person, who may not be guilty of the crime just so that they may convict someone for the case, seems wrong. They found the person who murdered her.