Thus Malcolm’s dear old Dad in sardonic mood.
A likely story
Malcolm knew the late Michael Ward in the late ’60s, early ’70s, on Havering Borough Council. Ward had a framed “pull” of the Peterborough Evening Telegraph, from the 1966 General Election, announcing that he had been won the seat on the umpteenth recount.
Alas! In that 1966 General Election Michael lost to Harmar Nicholls by three votes on the eighth recount.
The Evening Telegraph, running against a deadline, had prudently prepared two front pages. And, along with Ward’s, the paper’s dignity and decency were preserved..
An unlikely story
One or two screen-hoggers (notably Malcolm Coles) watched as the Daily Mail jumped the gun on the Amanda Knox acquittal.
Were we being generous — but let us remember this is the Daily Mail — someone misinterpreted the initial judicial ruling that Knox was guilty of libel. That earned Knox a sentence of three years, a convenient upgrade from the earlier one-year sentence, and conveniently expired. After all, it goes some way to covering the blushes of the whole Italian crime-and-punishment industry.
A cock-and-bull story
So: this went up on the Mail web-site:
Where it becomes unforgiveable is what followed:
As Knox realized the enormity of what judge Hellman was saying she sank into her chair sobbing uncontrollably while her family and friends hugged each other in tears.
A few feet away Meredith’s mother Arline, her sister Stephanie and brother Lyle, who had flown in especially for the verdict remained expressionless, staring straight ahead, glancing over just once at the distraught Knox family.
Prosecutors were delighted with the verdict and said that ‘justice has been done’ although they said on a ‘human factor it was sad two young people would be spending years in jail’.
Following the verdict Knox and Sollecito were taken out of court escorted by prison guards and into a waiting van which took her back to her cell at Capanne jail near Perugia and him to Terni jail, 60 miles away.
Both will be put on a suicide watch for the next few days as psychological assessments are made on each of them but this is usual practice for long term prisoners.
All of which is sheer invention, invented quotation, the full fiction of “colour” details.
Malcolm Coles adds that The Sun, Sky News and The Guardian all went down the same wrong turn: only the Mail, though, produced the full fictive farrago.
There’s a personal spat going on between Nick Pisa (the by-lined writer of that Mail piece) and Tim Ireland. Pisa, who it seems is not a Mail staffer, has form on this one: he was the onlie true begetter of the whole “Foxy Knoxy” meme. The official Mail line retailed to Ireland there is informative:
The quotes were obtained from various parties in the event of either a guilty or not guilty verdict.
Presumably the Mail also has a crystal ball to foretell facial expressions.
An up-dated story
Look for any of this in today’s London press, and you will be severely disappointed. Dog does not nip at dog.
THE DAILY Mail fabricated a news report on the end of the Amanda Knox trial.
Within seconds of the judge starting to announce the verdict, broadcast live on satellite television, the newspaper’s website, dailymail.co.uk, published a report headlined “Guilty: Amanda Knox looks stunned as appeal against murder conviction is rejected”.
But the newspaper went further than just having two reports ready to hand, each based on one of two possible outcomes – Knox’s appeal being rejected or upheld – and publishing the wrong one in error.
By opting for the appeal being rejected, the paper published a wholly invented account of what happened next.
… a few British publications made the error of publishing the news that Knox was guilty moments before she was set free.
The Daily Mail declared her guilt in a story complete with descriptions of how Knox appeared when she heard the verdict: “Amanda Knox looked stunned this evening after she dramatically lost her prison appeal against her murder conviction.”
Joel Gunter, at jouralism.co.uk, is able to finish his account of the shambles with another most telling and shaming one-liner:
Associated Newspapers, publisher of the Daily Mail, had not responded to a request for comment at the time of writing.