According to the dictionary, to presume is:
1. To act overconfidently; take liberties.
2. To take unwarranted advantage of something; go beyond the proper limits:
3. To take for granted that something is true or factual
Possibly the greatest example of the perils of presumption is the Chicago Daily Tribune, November 3, 1948. The editors, apparently wanting to scoop everybody, put the interest of the paper (scooping others) and the interest of themselves (career boost) above the interest of the public, whom the press is assumed to serve, and printed a headline about a “fact” that they knew was not a fact when they printed it. And it never became fact.
In doing so, they became the absolute symbol of the worst mistake a “news” organization can make. The photograph of Harry Truman holding the “DEWEY DEFEATS TRUMAN” headline is likely the most humiliating moment the Tribune ever experienced, and continues to experience. It is a black mark on their credibility and their heritage.
Stand by, it’s about to happen again, and I’m giving you advance notice.
It’s not the Trib this time, it’s a well-funded but poorly-regarded web page called “The Daily Beast.” The site displays every bit of the integrity and nobility of purpose that its title would have you believe. It appears to feed on sensationalism and makes its bones off of others misery. Lately it seems to be majoring on the Casey Anthony trial, the Anthony Weiner debacle and a 51 year old TV star who married a 16 year old. If you’re off to check out those stories now, quit reading here. You’re not going to “get” this article, or even care if you did.
The DB is a relatively new start-up and is desperately trying to establish itself. It needed an OJ Simpson case or similar mud in which to wallow and boost readership. It got what it wanted with the Amanda Knox case in Italy. The DB came out early and loud for Knox’s guilt. This before any guilt was established. Much like the Trib’s headline, Knox’s guilt will not ever be established, because it is not factual.
But the Beast rode the story of Knox’s guilt like a disposable horse. An innocent American girl, 20 years old was just what the DB needed. They twisted and crafted and “questioned” Knox’s statements, the prosecutor’s “evidence,” rumors, innuendo, and outright lies into a case against Knox. They literally fomented hate against her. They could use her misfortune to make their own fortune. To this end, one of their contributors, Barbie Latza Nadeau, spent “every day” in court and absolutely skinned Knox alive in the press. Amanda Knox and her boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito were convicted on the “strength” of the most heinous, contrived, secret and illegal proceedings this side of a gulag. It worked out for the beast. Knox was convicted.
But wait. Knox had appeals coming. In Italy, nearly 50% of those convicted on their initial trial are exonerated on appeal.
But this ‘unbiased’ “journalist” Nadeau then cashed-in on Knox’s tragedy with a book, which was published before Knox’s appeal even began. It is entitled, “Angel Face: The True Story of Student Killer Amanda Knox.” Everything would be coming up roses for Nadeau and the DB except for one painful, irritating fact that will not go away. Knox and her boyfriend had nothing to do with the crime, and the appeal is revealing this. The world is discovering their innocence. Bad news at beast.
The evidence is falling apart. The prosecutor and the police have been shown to have lied. The chief forensic officer at the scene perjured herself in court. The DNA evidence will soon be shown to be a farce, or worse, planted. CBS, NBC, ABC, FOX, CNN, Oggi Magazine in Italy, a Pulitzer Prize winning New York Times journalist, forensic experts, law enforcement experts, attorney’s, judges, U.S. Senators and at least 11 members of the Italian Parliament have figured this out. Many British newspapers have now come to the realization that Amanda and Raffaele are innocent. Even the British Tabloids, who led the propaganda tsunami that did so much to convict two innocent kids, are now openly suspicious of the case and the prosecutor.
Is the beast the only news outlet that hasn’t figured this one out yet? Or is this a strategy?
We should have a little sympathy for them. They are stuck between a rock and a very hard place. They didn’t just crow about Knox’s guilt, they built a business on it. They published books. They tied their wagon to that horse, and now that horse is panting and dying. They published their own “DEWEY DEFEATS TRUMAN” headline. And the world is about to wake up in the morning and find that Truman is president.
I have personally watched the changes in heart of journalists who initially believed in Knox’s guilt and reported that. Many printed or broadcast even more incendiary items than the beast did. And in each case that I’ve seen, when these journalists realized the truth, they changed their position. And they did so in writing or on the air. It was understandably embarrassing for some. But these were people for whom truth was more important than ratings.
Even Nadeau has at times tried to back away or distance herself from her stance in the press, but the title of her book, “The True Story of Amanda Knox, Student Killer” puts the axe to the roots of any claim of even-handedness this “journalist” has.
In what can only be termed a startling “all or nothing” defense, the beast is clinging to Amanda Knox’s guilt as a means to save their business and what is left of their integrity. As late as this week, Barbie referred to Amanda Knox in “The Beast” as “…the Angel Face student-killer…” No other media outlet is now referring to her conclusively as a ‘killer.’ This is all or nothing. If Knox is exonerated, her life will be saved, but the beast—if it survives--will forever bear the scars of their malignant ignorance. If Knox is found guilty, the beast wins and an innocent girl loses a significant part of her life. This latter scenario is best for the beast’s business model obviously.
This is journalistic bunker mentality. They have a chance to save themselves, but they are going “all in.” This is a game of chicken, but the facts are already known. Who now has to bank on an epic miscarriage of justice for their survival?
The beast of course. It's not a risk for them, they presume that they're right.