Letter from the i editor: Why these cases?


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The Independent Online

So, everyone who emailed agreed with our decision not to run the photograph of Michael Jackson lying dead.

However, Andree McDade (p18), and others, criticised i for the image of Amanda Knox we ran this week, with what seemed to be a halo (of lights) behind her head. It appeared after the Italian prosecutor had called her a “she-devil”, and her defence lawyer responded by describing her, perhaps unhelpfully, as more of a “Jessica Rabbit”.

What makes such cases lead the news? There are at least four from the past two i editions alone: Knox’s appeal, the Conrad Murray trial, the extradition of Shrien Dewani, and the ongoing travails of Dominique Strauss-Kahn. Yet there are many more cases one might find at least as engrossing that simply do not garner media attention.

So why these cases? Each has an element of the extraordinary and the glamorous about it: the world’s top entertainer’s death on the verge of his comeback; a potential French President, brought low by a chambermaid; the beautiful bride murdered on honeymoon – allegedly by her new husband; and Amanda Knox. Why her? It’s partly the “sex game” mystery surrounding poor Meredith Kercher’s death, but we all know the real reason: Knox is pretty. Killers are not supposed to look like her. Nor, obviously, should an innocent woman be judged guilty just because she is pretty.

The victim, Kercher, has been forgotten amid the hubbub. So, my thoughts are with her family in Perugia this weekend, awaiting Monday’s verdict, confused and nowhere near closure.