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October 06, 2011  | by: Neha Govil

On Monday, October 3rd, 25-year-old Amanda Knox was finally released after spending four years in an Italian prison. Knox was convicted, along with her (now ex) Italian boyfriend, in 2007 of sexually assaulting and stabbing her study abroad flatmate, Meredith Kercher. The acquittal was based on Knox’s appeal of innocence based on the claim that the evidence had been tampered with and could not conclusively prove that she was involved with the incident.

Many had said all along that there was no decisive evidence to connect Knox to the case, and the final verdict definitely seems fair and incontestable. Amanda Knox is being hailed sympathetically as the victim of a skewed legal system, and is now being given multiple chances to tell her story to the public and possibly make millions. However, the motivation behind the media’s hunger for Knox’s story may not be so noble as simply wanting to hear her side of things.

Amanda Knox certainly deserves the chance to go public with her story, but she should be the one approaching the media with the question; not the other way around. By offering book and TV deals to individuals who are not found innocent, the media is glorifying and glamorizing mistakes and scandal.

Amanda Knox Reacting to Her Successful Appeal

As the public, we have a long history of blaming the “celebrities” that do not deserve their fame, but we conveniently fail to victimize the media that offers cash for stories to those involved in scandal far too frequently. It is truly annoying to see everybody have their fifteen minutes of undeserved fame for often sick and wrong reasons, including hype over a high-profile pregnancy, or a high-profile murder trial. However, it is an even more dangerous trend to blame the person involved, since not everyone sees a personal scandal as an opportunity for fame. Many are merely human and become enthralled with the money offered by the media for a byline, and it is wrong to condemn someone for merely submitting to the basic human tendency of greed.

It is the media that sees personal scandal as an opportunity for fame. Instead of allowing even the most heinous of highly-publicized mistakes to become experiences for society to genuinely learn from, the media perpetuates the idea that while these mistakes may not be morally acceptable, they are a chance to make some serious money. This widely-circulated idea, in turn, breeds even more crime and error in judgement that seriously hurts people, all because people choose fame over morality.

We define the stories about these scandals as “entertainment”, or at the very least as fodder for future entertainment. Entertainment culturally has a positive connotation, and turning such scandals into entertainment opportunities eliminates the consideration of real, serious consequences and implications that these scandals carry. The line between right and wrong becomes even more blurred for the rest of society, especially because common society is not going to obtain a TV show for doing drugs, or a book deal for killing their significant other.

Casey Anthony

At the same time, we victimize the celebrities for their mistakes, merely because their errors in judgment are under a supremely bright spotlight. Celebrities, and even people like Amanda Knox and Casey Anthony who are regular people-turned-celebrity, are only human, and it is  human nature to make mistakes. The controversial nature of their mistakes should not lend themselves to glitz and glamor courtesy of the media, merely because they are a more interesting personality than others, and because the public needs fresh news.

However, once these personalities are rewarded by the media for their errors, there is a whole breed of haters in the world who vehemently, and rightly, oppose the fame and glamor that these people receive . However, while this blame is justified (because no part of murder or cheating ordeals should be glamorized), it is misplaced. These people often do not seek to sell their story, or seek the fame. They seek to be free, and to resume their lives. The blame for the glamor these celebrity personalities receive for their wrongdoing should be placed squarely on the media.

At the end of the day, not every story needs to be told, and it’s high time Hollywood figured that out.

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