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How the Amanda Knox case highlights the key problem with the media press
Was Amanda Knox guilty or not guilty? Whatever the truth beholds, the Press is not helping
The case of Amanda Knox brought worldwide public attention. The abnormality and lack of hardcore evidence that surrounds the whole case instantly caught the attention of the press, who stopped at nothing to turn it into a one big publicity stunt. The accused were considered as celebrities, and the victim was forgotten. The characterization of Amanda Knox and Raffael Sollecito, two of the three accused, was depicted by the media in such a fashion that people became genuinely fascinated by them, and by their image that the press was conjuring up. Speculation over what did, or did not, occur on that dark and terrible night between the 1st and 2nd of November 2007 to Meredith Kurcher and the atmosphere around it ressembled very much a kind of "Whodunit" Soap opera.
The terrible things poor Meredith went through were virtually forgotten. The American press was overwhemingly camped in the "Free-Amanda" group, whereas the English, whose citizenship Meredith Kurchen belonged to, were not. Feuds between the American and the Italian authorities regarding the handling of the case was also something the Press didn't hesitate to jazz up - in an attempt to give the latter an even bigger name. "Foxy Knoxy", "sex game gone wrong" and "Meredith who?" are some of the newspaper headlines at the time.
The point is that what should have remained away from the public eye, or only quietly put out in the open, was actually having the completely opposite effect. The disgusting reality of what underwent at the scene of the crime was belied by a sense of great excitement to both the press and the public. The truth is that the press was finding any means to bring new evidence to the public, whether it was authentic or exagerated, for commercial purposes and the public, always on the look out for a thrilling real-life crime case, were encouraging it. In fact, they were, in strong groups, participating in the investigation by attempting, quite stupidly, to discover the truth before the experts would. Thousands of mini-Sherlock Holmes came into existence, each obsessing over finding out what really happened and drawing up countless theories along the way.
For a purely simple and logical reason, you could amount to saying that the intrusion of the press was wrong on all levels: the tormented, distraught family of Meredith Kurcher did not get the sensitivity and isolation they so badly deserved. In a time of unparallel grief, they were scrutinized with interviews and put in front of TV cameras.
However, this case highlights a much bigger problem. The press acted irresponsibly and outrageously and yet, once again, they got away with it unscathed. Their power and influence seems to only grow with criticism - and that is in deep need of change. The fundamental problem with the media is that they are so desperate to sell, and so they will stop at nothing. They are relentless, bullying, bullish and uncontrolled. Charity donations brings the best out of people but then the press are almost always bringing out the worst in them. As a no-regulation kind of guy, I usually argue we need to let industries breath and leave them to get on with it. This view of mine, however, comes with one exception: the media.
Proper state regulatory action is needed in the case of the media, without which, otherwise, the handling of cases like Amanda Knox will only happen again.