Wednesday, October 5, 2011

'Daily Mail' invented story based on guilty verdict on website

The Irish Times reports on the Daily Mail's goof, illustrating the perils of describing events in a canned story before they happen. The Irish Times account:

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,, 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.
“As Knox realised 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,” the website reported.
“A few feet away, Meredith [Kercher]’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’.”
The fabricated report continued: “Following the verdict, Knox and [Raphael] 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.”
The report and invented quotes were removed once it became clear that Knox and Sollecito had in fact won their appeal.

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