vendredi 29 mars 2013

What's Nina Burleigh Got against Women?

I get up quite early because my clients have a nine-hour head start on me. Today I woke up to the usual flurry of work-related emails plus a message directing me to Nina Burleigh’s Time blog post devoted to the “haters” – i.e., the many people around the world who have expressed their support for the family of Meredith Kercher and who are convinced that Italy’s first instance court got things right when it convicted Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito for their role in Meredith’s brutal murder. Italy’s highest court has just overturned the acquittal and definitively upheld Knox’s conviction for the felony offense of falsely accusing an innocent man of murdering Meredith Kercher. In that false accusation, Knox placed herself at the scene of the crime.  

In her blog post, Burleigh once again misquotes an off-the-record conversation with me, though I set her straight the first time she did it and asked her to cease. She also wrongly asserts that I am a “housewife” and “former” translator.

For those who may have missed them the first time around, the two blog posts I wrote that got Nina Burleigh all riled up can be found at TJMK or here, under 2011 posts.

First, a bit of background: Burleigh spent a lot of time in her book maligning two of the best reporters covering the case, one of whom, like Burleigh, wrote a book about it. Since I wrote my review of Burleigh’s book and then pointed out that the New York Times was critical of her advocacy masquerading as journalism, time has passed. According to her online news site (, which focuses on current events in Italy, where she lives, Andrea Vogt has been working as a reporter for 20 years and writes for, among others, The Telegraph, The Guardian, The Seattle Times and The BBC. As for Barbie Latza Nadeau, in addition to her frequent reporting for Newsweek/The Daily Beast, she is also a regular contributor for CNN. Both are excellent journalists whose work speaks for itself. But what's up with Nina Burleigh? I honestly don’t know what she was thinking when she decided to belittle their accomplishments in print, not to mention her decision to misrepresent my own rather more modest ones. Is she just angry because she got this case so wrong? Is this a simple case of sour grapes from a sore loser? It probably doesn't matter in the larger scheme of things. But I would caution anyone who talks to a reporter off-the-record to beware. I have talked to many reporters off-the-record, and they have all respected this agreement, except for Nina Burleigh. In addition to breaking a promise, she misrepresented what I said.

And now that she has had her public snit, may I suggest that the focus now shift from these petty personality clashes - between Knox’s fan base and anyone who doesn’t share their views - and onto the facts? I think the tone needs to change as well: facts are best discussed rationally, calmly and respectfully.

For the record, I have nothing against women who choose to be homemakers.

I think it is important not to give this latest episode/rant more attention than it deserves, however. Ironically, in the final analysis Nina Burleigh has unwittingly done Meredith Kercher and the truth a huge favor by attacking her supporters as “haters” and, in doing so, giving our efforts a needed plug. It’s too bad that she could not resist plugging Knox’s upcoming book as well, although she only succeeds in proving the point made by the New York Times: that Ms. Burleigh is treading what she must know - as a seasoned reporter - to be a very dangerous line, that which separates journalists and advocates. She seems to have lost her way and, instead of figuring out how to get back on track, has decided to lash out at those advocating for truth in reporting. Where does that put her?

mercredi 27 mars 2013

Update: Knox and Sollecito's bizarre acquittal is overturned!

I'll be back with a post on the subject in the near future. I just wanted to say that the Kerchers are one step closer to getting the justice they deserve, which they have been waiting for with such patience and grace.

For some background, read Andrea Vogt's excellent piece here:

mardi 19 mars 2013

Steubenville: will there be a book deal or two?

I have been too busy to do much blogging lately and also kind of rethinking the whole idea of keeping a blog. I've got other projects in mind.

In case you care, Italy's Supreme Court will rule next week on the acquittal of Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito for their role in the murder of Meredith Kercher in Perugia, Italy, in November of 2007. Knox and Sollecito were convicted in the "first instance" trial and then, against the backdrop of a zero integrity, PR-driven media campaign, they were acquitted, though the calunnia conviction against Knox for falsely accusing an innocent man of the crime (placing herself at the scene) was upheld. This entire charade left a lot of people scratching their heads.

After the acquittal, which came in October 2011, both Knox and Sollecito and their various handlers got busy hammering out the book deals. Knox is much more high-profile, of course, and will be interviewed in an exclusive by Diane Sawyer in late April. I don't expect any truth-telling or hard questions; this is part of the book promotion. According to the twitter feed, Sawyer was recently in Perugia doing some background research (which amounted to asking young American women if they felt safe over there?!).

I'm reposting this blog post about Steubenville as a reminder that violence against women is distressingly common and that it will continue to be for as long as we reward perps, feel sorry for them, excuse their behavior, blame victims and so on. All the stuff we do so well.

Knox allegedly got a 4 million dollar advance for her co-written book. As for Sollecito, he faces defamation charges in Italy for some of the absolute nonsense he and his "co-writer" (read: the journalist who wrote the book for him) came up with. Even his own father felt compelled to go on television in Italy and deny the worst of it.

What a world, eh?