Feminists should know the facts first

Many of Knox’s support sites fling all sorts of allegations against Italian officials connected to the case. For example, several of these sites openly state that investigator Italian officer Stefanoni lied on the stand regarding the DNA evidence. On mainstream news sites, however, the reports have stopped short of openly stating that officers and officials engaged in illegal activity, leaving their readers to make those claims in comments. Until now.

Lisa Marie Basile, a blogger for the Huffington Post, is well versed in publishing according to her bio. An outspoken feminist, she is listed as the founding editor of the feminist magazine Luna Luna. Recently, Basile published a blog article on the Huffington Post site regarding Amanda Knox. The primary point of her article is that feminists need to rush to Knox’s defense because of how Perugian officials treated Knox and because of the image of Knox created by the tabloids.

Basile cites one event as a key event for Italian officials portraying Knox as a sexually-liberated female: Knox being told in prison she may have HIV and the subsequent publishing of Knox’s list of sex partners. Basile states the prison officials deliberately lied to Knox to get Knox’s sex list to give to the media.  Here is what Basile wrote:

Why is it OK to lie to someone about their having HIV only to attain a list of sexual partners which would then be leaked to the media? This is an example of systematic character defamation — the modern equivalent of throwing an accused witch into the lake to see if she drowns. What sort of pain must we put others through in order to forge our own versions of the truth?

In this statement, Basile makes the actions of the prison officials as a matter of fact. This particular event is the launch point for her full article; that Knox was made out to be a sexual woman in the media, and the case against Knox is only based on the sexualized media and prosecution-generated image .

There is a significant problem with Basile’s published allegation against the prison officials and police. Knox herself doesn’t even claim it to be a fact!  Knox writes in Waiting to be Heard that the doctor even told her the first test could be a false positive. Knox wrote the list in her diary based on her own decision- nobody asked her to write down her list. Knox doesn’t claim she was lied to; the suggestion that it was a lie came later from her father.

knox diary

Further, if Basile had in fact read the MetroNews article she links to in her Huffington Post piece, Basile would be fully aware that even in that article Knox doesn’t claim that the officials lied. The MetroNews article quotes Knox as saying it was her lawyers that believed it was a ploy by the prison officials.

Basile announced in this tweet that she doesn’t actually know if her allegation is true, merely that “judging by their other behaviors, it would make sense.”

Her piece is listed on HuffPo under blogs, which readers might understand are opinion pieces. Basile uses this in her defense; that her piece is just an op/ed piece. Could a reasonable reader understand that Basile’s allegation against the prison officials is just a statement of her belief, or would it be read as a published claim that events in fact did happen which is why Basile is calling for feminists to support Knox?

Its also hard to understand how Basile’s claim applies to her own publication, the Luna Luna Magazine. Her profile on Huffington Post lists Basile as the “founding editor” of Luna Luna Magazine. Basile cross-posted her article to her own magazine’s website. On the Luna Luna website all of the information talks about the publication being a magazine. Thus the article on the Luna Luna site is not clearly indicated as an op/ed, which Basile claims it is on her twitter feed.

To summarize: Basile published an article that contains allegations against prison officials as a statement of fact. Basile herself admits she cannot provide proof of these allegations, merely that “judging by their other behaviors it makes sense.”

Moving on to the rest of the article, Basile’s arguments are no different than the radical claims any fervent Knox supporter spouts. Basile first claims “there is no credible or realistic evidence” that places Knox or Sollecito at the crime scene; she ignores Sollecito’s DNA on Meredith’s bra clasp, the footprints revealed through the use of luminol that contained Knox and Meredith’s DNA, and Knox’s DNA mixed with Meredith’s blood in the bathroom. Basile reports on Knox’s “interrogation” without actually looking at the facts in evidence: Knox wasn’t called to the station, Knox and Sollecito went right after dinner, and Knox blamed patrick in about two hours of questioning, while a translator was present. Basile ignores this evidence to make her point, then later has the chutzpah to say “like all murder cases, the facts should dictate the proceedings.”

Basile simply dismisses the evidence as “circumstantial or forced,” without explaining what she means by “forced evidence.”  Basile’s criticisms of circumstantial evidence are undermined by the US convictions of Scott Peterson and of Utah doctor Martin MacNeill, both of whom were convicted on almost entirely circumstantial cases. Since Basile clearly has a problem with convictions based on circumstantial evidence, in the interests of equality will we see Basile take up the cause of clearing the name of these two murderers? Somehow I doubt she will.

Basile ironically asks the question “What sort of pain must we put others through in order to forge our own versions of the truth?” Despite Basile’s criticisms over a perceived lack of evidence in the Knox conviction, she seems to have no qualms levying baseless allegations against prison officials that she knows she can’t prove. Basile thus forges her own version of the truth at the expense of the Italian officials connected to the Knox case.

Many readers provided corrections to Basile’s information and references to source documents and Knox’s statements. But what was Basile’s recommendation for online editors and authors? Don’t engage with your readers.

baile engage   Apparently Basile’s criticisms of all things Italian stops short of alcohol.

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9 thoughts on “Feminists should know the facts first

  1. Sadly, many people in alternative media fail to recognize that if they ever wish to be taken seriously they should have similar standards of fact checking as main stream media. Which still pays at least lip service to journalistic integrity. If you don’t acknowledge (and rectify) your errors, you lose credibility.

      • I know many alternative news websites that do amazing work. One, NarcoNews, which covers South American politics, even won recognition in the Sullivan case in New York State that granted journalistic protections to blogs.

        And on the other hand, you have a post teenage blogger. My only criticism might be our giving too much attention to her, but, since Huffington Post gave her a platform to broadcast her views, pit she couldn’t be bothered to defend them. Yes, she asked me to contact her privately too. What a cop out.

  2. What I find difficult about Basile’s position, is that her points are all very salient, in many other contexts – and not merely salient but also wrongly ignored by society in many of those instances too.

    In other words, she probably can’t even hear the protestations of people who have read the English summary of the Massei report and now confront her article – assuming those protestations are simply more of the very real sexism and mysogny that does exist everywhere – the denial of the unenlightened.

    In short, she’s missed a trick.

  3. Lisa Marie Basile’s “article” is not just “inaccurate.” She is a liar; a liar in order to support a preconceived biased on who knows what – feminism? no bloody way.

    • Sadly her point about the image of women in the media is lost because she choose to base her argument on inaccuracies and unfounded allegations.

  4. Unfortunately, Lisa Marie Basile seems to think making a claim without backing it up constitutes facts. She also claims on other forums& during her skype convo with Chelsea Hoffman that she doesn’t go to pro Knox sites, yet links such sites in her Huff post piece. She also admits to not having read the relevant court documents so cannot be taken seriously as a credible source and strikes me as being out of her depth in regards to this tragic case.
    Very nice dissection Pataz.

  5. Pingback: Rescuing Amanda | The Murder of Meredith Kercher, unresolved

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