The internet makes it possible to broadcast breaking news at a pace unlike anything we’ve ever experienced. Unfortunately, that includes the ability to rapidly transmit reports that never should have been written, much less published. Today’s case in point: the Daily Mail‘s hasty — and largely apocryphal — report that American Amanda Knox had lost her appeal of a murder conviction, quickly captured for posterity by Malcolm Coles.
The Mail Online not only mistook the Italian court’s guilty verdict for slander as guilty of everything, it posted a story under the byline Nick Pisa purporting to detail the return journey of Knox and her ex-boyfriend to separate prisons where they would be put on suicide watch. The story also quotes “delighted” prosecutors who said “justice has been done.”
We’ve seen stories posted in error before, particularly when advances written and stored to hop on the news are published when they shouldn’t have been. But the invented details here are beyond anything I can recall — and makes anything else the Mail Online has to say on this subject suspect.
Update: People have pointed out that others got the initial verdict wrong, too, including our older sibling The Guardian ; The Atlantic Wire has screen grabs of that and the Sun. (I think Guardian should have crossed out the live blog mistake, not deleted it, and noted the confusion.)
As best I can tell, though, no one else made up a story to match and that’s what pushes this far beyond the boundaries.