Media coverage of this case played a major role in the wrongful convictions of Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito. Amanda was mistreated horribly by the media from the time of her arrest to the conclusion of the first trial. The media took hold of this story and the disparaging headlines about Amanda were endless. These headlines were seen all around the world long before any evidence was even collected. With the help of the media, prosecutor Giuliano Mignini's fictional character, the satanic ritualistic sex crazed killer, Foxy Knoxy was born. As we would all later find out, Foxy Knoxy was not a sex crazed killer after all. She was a sweet innocent eight year old soccer player. Amanda was given the nickname as a child for her sly moves on the soccer field. By the time the world found out who the real Foxy Knoxy was, it was too late. The damage was done.
As expected, the media coverage was the strongest in the US, the UK, and Italy. Meredith Kercher traveled from South London to Perugia for her studies and Amanda Knox traveled from the US. Raffaele Sollecito is an Italian citizen.
Amanda Knox became an obsession in Italy. Amanda was named one of the top newsmakers of 2008 by countless Italian news organizations, alongside U.S. President-elect Barack Obama. It was not simply the fact that Amanda was receiving media attention, it was the amount of negative attention she received. The press declared Amanda “a devil with an angel’s face”. She was called a she-devil, a diabolical person focused on sex, drugs and alcohol. Her myspace page was dissected. Photos that would be normally found on any twenty-year-old's myspace account were looked at as sexual. A picture of her laughing while handling a machine-gun in a museum during a vacation with her sister was used to show Amanda as being a violent and unstable woman.
Lead investigator Edgardo Giobbi publicly stated that his suspicions were raised just hours after the murder when he saw Amanda at the crime scene swivel her hips as she put on a pair of shoe covers. These observations were simply ridiculous. Amanda was considered guilty by the lead investigator before a single piece of evidence was even collected. The media frenzy was fueled be the prosecution's office, led by Giuliano Mignini.
There was a series of lies leaked to the media shortly after Meredith's death. These lies were leaked for the sole purpose of destroying the credibility of Amanda Knox. Raffaele was almost totally ignored. Amanda was the target of most of these leaks. The prosecution successfully used the media to assassinate the character of Amanda Knox.
Amanda never stood a chance. She was found guilty in the court of public opinion long before her trial ever began.
Judge Francesco Cananzi, a representative of the national council of magistrates, publicly had this to say: "Here in Italy trials take place on TV, rather than in court."
Amanda's lawyers have been outspoken about the abuse that Amanda has received in the media. Carlo dalla Vedova and Luciano Ghirga said Amanda had come under "incredible and misleading'' media scrutiny that they said was ''in violation of the general principles that safeguard personal information and dignity. The media has done everything in its power to create an absolutely negative portrayal of Knox''
Amanda Knox had absolutely no history of violence in her past. Amanda excelled in her studies. She was named to the University of Washington's dean's list. Amanda worked several jobs as a student to save the money needed to participate in the study-abroad program in Italy.
Why was the media so quick to turn against Amanda Knox, long before any evidence was even collected?
The truth is Amanda Knox was irresistible to the press. Her story had everything they wanted. Amanda Knox was a profitable headline. Raffaele Sollecito was virtually ignored. Why? Because Raffaele was boring. The obsession with Amanda and the lack of attention given to Raffaele, exposed the true intentions of the press. After all, Raffaele was being accused of the same crime, but every headline focused on Amanda Knox. Why? Because headlines depicting a beautiful sex crazed seductress committing murder during a drug fueled orgy sold newspapers. Raffaele simply didn't have the same appeal.
The British press was particularly cruel to Amanda. Some of the reports in the UK are even more disparaging than the Italian press. One of Amanda's biggest enemies has always been The Daily Mail. Here are just a few of the ridiculous headlines from The Daily Mail:
"Foxy Knoxy: Behind the Hollywood smile, a liar, a narcissist, and a killer"
"Foxy Knoxy “wanted to go shopping” after Meredith’s murder"
"Foxy Knoxy claims female cell mate begs her for sex “because I’m so pretty”"
"The Foxy Knoxy show: Smiling murder suspect makes grand entrance as trial begins"
This outright lie was printed after Amanda was convicted:
"Amanda Knox: I got a fair trial... I appreciate American reaction but it doesn't help me"
Amanda said nothing of the sort. She said, her legal team did a fantastic job. That was all she said. Amanda was obviously devastated by the ruling. You would never know this if you read The Daily Mail.
Of course, The Daily Mail offers tabloid journalism. The more respected journalists in the UK must have been much more professional with the coverage right? Think again. Even though The Times London had a more balanced approach, they still couldn't resist the salacious headlines. Here are some of the headlines printed by The Times:
"Amanda Knox: ''angel-faced killer with ice cold eyes''"
"Amanda Knox tells of Meredith Kercher’s ‘yucky’ death"
"Amanda Knox, ‘Foxy Knoxy’, reveals her lesbian trauma"
"Diary reveals Foxy Knoxy’s sex secrets"
They even printed this outright lie:
"Amanda Knox: I'm only a target because I'm sexy"
Amanda Knox never made that statement. Amanda received many letters of support in prison. She wrote about these letters in her diary.
"I think the same thing about this as I did before. If I were ugly would they be writing me wishing me encouragement? I don't think so. Oh, well, this is what my life is and I'll write to them and thank them for thinking of me." She adds "Jeez, I'm not even that good-looking! People are acting like I'm the prettiest thing since Helen of Troy!"
Where does the statement "I'm only a target because I'm sexy" come from? This is an extremely twisted view of Amanda's actual statement. This is typical, coming from the media.
The articles mentioned above, are just a small sampling of the abuse that Amanda endured in the media in the early stages of this case leading up to her wrongful conviction.
a website detailing the wrongful conviction of Amanda Knox & Raffaele Sollecito
Media Coverage Leading Up To Wrongful Convictions
The Architects of the Foxy Knoxy Myth
Written By Bruce Fischer
While the common wisdom is that the tabloid media played a major role in spreading lies and misinformation, the reality is that a trio of yellow journalists have been the worst offenders. Those journalists are Nick Pisa, Barbie Nadeau and Andrea Vogt. These three journalists were the chief architects of the Foxy Knoxy myth and fueled the Anti-Knox fervor working as mouthpieces for Giuliano Mignini. Thanks to this trio, disparaging headlines and salacious articles were not confined simply to common tabloids, but to well known magazines as well, such as Newsweek.
Nick Pisa, a freelance journalist from the United Kingdom who writes often for The Daily Mail, shifted his opinion in the case after the first trial, and began leaning toward innocence. Regrettably however, his change of heart is too little too late because of the damage he has already caused. in In fact, he was the first reporter to use the name “Foxy Knoxy” after browsing Amanda’s MySpace page looking for dirt. The catchy nick-name was very attractive to the media helping to fuel the myth that Amanda Knox (Foxy Knoxy) was a satanic ritualistic sex crazed killer.
Pisa’s tabloid sensibilities were loud and clear during the appeal when Amanda appeared to bow her head momentarily in court. This prompted Pisa to contact the family, looking to see if Amanda had “passed out.” As it turned out Amanda was completely fine leaving Pisa without his shocking headline.
Barbie Nadeau, who reports for the Daily Beast, does not disappoint her fans with her rapid fire tweeting from the pressroom during court hearings. In fact she earned the award for most tasteless tweet during the appeal for this gem: “Court discussing the appropriate way to cut a bra off a dead body. Where is a mannequin when you need one?”
Nadeau exhibited an obvious bitterness during the appeal----a resentment that most likely stemmed from being on the wrong side of history. At one point, Nadeau hilariously tweeted that she was actually objective, somehow forgetting the title of her horribly written book “Angel Face: The True Story of Student Killer Amanda Knox.”
During the appeal Nadeau wrote an article for the Daily Beast suggesting that Meredith Kercher’s actual killer might receive a get out of jail free card if Amanda and Raffaele were allowed to walk. To anyone who understands the forensics in this case, this line of thinking is beyond absurd as all credible evidence in this case points directly at Rudy Guede. Unfortunately, Nadeau has little choice but to go pursue the “Amanda got away with it” angle. Whether she likes it or not, Nadeau is one of the main faces of the yellow journalists who forced Amanda’s guilt down her readers’ throats, all while distorting facts, using sloppy analysis and in some cases stating outright lies.
Recently, best selling author Douglas Preston who wrote the Monster of Florence, confirmed Nadeau’s feelings for Amanda and her family when he revealed that Nadeau openly admitted that she despises Amanda’s family and she called the Friends of Amanda support group a "cult." Nadeau made these comments in the early stages, yet she continues to present herself as an objective journalist with regard to this case.
Andrea Vogt, who has written freelance pieces for Seattlepi.com and attended much of the first trial, was conveniently absent during most of the appeal.
Vogt claimed to be working on a documentary during the appeal. In an amazing and ridiculous course of events, she actually sent an email to Amanda’s family saying that they had her permission to ask to be in her documentary. Yes, you read that correctly. The family of Amanda Knox was told they could ask to be in Andrea Vogt’s documentary which is about their own daughter! Keep these ridiculous things in mind when you hear certain journalists talk about how objective they are. There has been no further mention of the documentary.
Vogt has had an intimate relationship with anti-Knox bloggers since as early as 2008, interviewing them as objective sources without disclosing that they had been blogging under fake names about their belief in Amanda’s guilt long before she ever even had a trial.
Vogt’s propensity for quoting anti-Knox bloggers as legitimate sources had not been confined to isolated incidents. Rather, she has kept up this pattern consistently for years. Very early in the case, Vogt quoted a woman named “Laura Wray” under the guise the she was an objective source, when in fact she had been blogging on the Amanda Knox hate sites as early as 2008. Additionally, Laura Wray only possesses a Bachelor’s Degree in science.
However, “Laura Wray” was not the first anti-Knox blogger Vogt would quote as an objective source. In January of 2009, before Amanda had even been tried for murder, Vogt wrote an article for the Italian publication Panorama in an article entitled “Meredith’s Murder Divides Seattle”. In the article she quoted a man named Randy Jackson, who is now the moderator of the anti-Knox hate site Perugia Murder File. Vogt quoted Jackson as if he was an objective source without revealing that he had been blogging about his belief in Amanda’s guilt for some time. That same article quoted a woman named Kris Arneson who had also been blogging on Amanda Knox hate sites quite frequently. Again, this fact was not revealed. One would assume an objective journalist would give some sort of disclosure in all these instances, but Andrea Vogt never did any such thing. Her consistent interviewing of Amanda Knox hate bloggers raises serious questions about her honesty and closeness to these sites.
The Architects Feast at the Table
During the appeal, Vogt, Nadeau and Pisa were interviewed together along with an Italian television producer, Sabina Castelfranco, for Dateline Australia. Pisa appeared blatantly uncomfortable throughout the video as Vogt and Nadeau spoke of well-known falsehoods as if they were common facts----the largest being that there was mixed blood found at the crime scene (100% not true). To Pisa’s credit, he managed to interject a little common sense when he said that the case would have never gone to trial in the UK due to a lack of evidence.
However, Pisa threw journalistic ethics out the window when he pathetically attempted to explain away his horrendous reporting on this case by placing the sole blame on the authorities in Perugia, espousing the principle that you should just write what the police tell you:
"If you're getting some information from a primary source - like a police officer, like a prosecutor - you've got to take it at face value, you've got to believe what you're being told"
Of course this logic is beyond ridiculous. If this were a journalistic standard to strive for, we wouldn’t need journalists in crime cases----rather we could just have the police write the articles themselves.
In the jaw dropping video, Vogt and Nadeau continue to promote one of the most egregious lies to be seen in this case: there was mixed blood at the crime scene. Both frequently repeat that Meredith’s blood was mixed with Amanda’s blood in several different places in the cottage. Mixed blood was never claimed by the prosecution, and no testimony was heard at trial. But Nadeau, being the advanced forensic scholar that she is wouldn't let facts get in the way, giving case followers possibly the dumbest analogy ever uttered by a reporter:
"I live in a house with three people (my two sons and my husband); I guarantee you I have never mixed blood with any of them anywhere in the house; I don't bleed where they bleed; we never bleed at the same time."
Yes, she actually said this on video. Whenever you read something this ridiculous, it is no wonder the media has gotten this case so wrong. With utterances like these, we are not exactly dealing with sophisticated minds amongst the guilt purporting journalists in this case.
The truth is Meredith's blood mixed with residual DNA that was already present in the cottage long before the murder took place. Amanda was examined by the police and no wounds were found on her body. Amanda was not bleeding, but more importantly, she was not there. Amanda’s blood never mixed with Meredith's blood anywhere at any time.
After over five years, if the architects of the Foxy Knoxy myth still cannot understand simple falsehoods like these, is it any wonder why the public has been so misinformed in this case? Readers deserve better than the tabloid principles of Nick Pisa, the illogical musings of Barbie Nadeau and the terribly sourced articles of Andrea Vogt.
Thankfully we would finally begin to see accurate reporting on a regular basis leading up to the acquittals. Nothing can repair the damage done in the early stages of this case but it is refreshing to know that the public is now seeing the truth about Amanda and Raffaele. You can view the current news coverage of the case in our Media Coverage section.