Dominique Strauss-Kahn, Casey Anthony and presumed innocence


Former IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn and his wife Anne Sinclair depart a hearing at the New York State Supreme Courthouse. (Lucas Jackson/Reuters)

In the minds of some, the accused almost instantly went from guilty to innocent, and the victim from innocent to guilty.

It was a stunning change in what many in the United States saw as closed case, after forensic tests had found what authorities said was evidence of a sexual encounter and prosecutors said the victim “offered a compelling and unwavering story.”


On Thursday, all that changed when the New York Times broke the story that the case was on shaky ground. The maid, who the Times had just portrayed two weeks ago as “an unassuming and hard-working single mother,” was now accused of ties to a drug trafficker.

Strauss-Kahn went from accused criminal to potential presidential candidate overnight.

At the same time the Strauss-Kahn affair played out on CNN, Fox News spent its broadcast time on Casey Anthony, the accused murderer of her own daughter. In a case that’s gripped the country like no other since O.J. Simpson’s trial, Anthony’s innocence has been brushed off by television commentators, television viewers and reality stars alike — regardless of the fact that the trail has not yet closed.

Though Simpson was found not guilty, his guilt is now such a common belief that when the Daily Mail incorrectly reported that he would finally admit to killing his wife nearly 18 years later on Oprah’s couch, the rumor went viral — no matter the fact that it was false.

It seems presumed innocence has been lost in the media frenzy. Or does the chatter outside the courtroom matter at all? Let us know your thoughts in the comments or on Twitter.

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