The left-leaning online Salon magazine has chastised the mainstream media for presenting "bizarrely skewed" coverage of the legal efforts to have the charges against fugitive director Roman Polanski dismissed. In an article by Bill Wyman, the former arts editor of the magazine who now writes the blog Hitsville, the documentary Roman Polanski Wanted and Desired is described as a whitewash of Polanski's crime -- raping a 13-year-old child -- "leaving the impression that Polanski was a wronged man." The judge in the case, the late Laurence Rittenband, is depicted in the film as a "cartoony, publicity-hungry judge." But, says the Salon article, the two men could just as easily have been portrayed otherwise "You could show one as a child-sex predator who drugged a 13-year-old girl with quaaludes and champagne; lured her to pose for naked photographs; ignoring her protests, had sex with her; and then anally raped her. The other could be cast as a canny jurist -- possibly a brilliant one, smart enough to have gone from high school directly to Harvard Law and graduated so young he wasn't allowed to take the bar exam -- who may have gone too far in his intent to block off the legal escape hatches celebrity wrongdoers use. The truth is somewhere in between, but it's probably a lot closer to the second version." The article alleges that Polanski's lawyers recently cut a deal with prosecutors to settle the case but balked at allowing cameras in the courtroom. "The director," the article concluded, "was still trying to call the shots."

19/02/2009