So you’ve probably heard that the Casey Anthony trial is over. She was found not guilty of all the crimes that were serious. Not surprisingly, the American public thinks she’s guilty anyway. Perhaps this is because we are far to cynical, and we assume the worst. Maybe the media coverage painted her as the bad guy. Maybe, she was guilty. Anyone of these could be true. There is no doubt her behavior was unusual. Apparently the evidence just wasn’t there. This is how our justice system is supposed to work. It is made so that a guilty person goes free before an innocent person goes to jail.
I have no real opinion on her guilt or innocence. I paid very little attention to the trial. In fact I tried to avoid it as much as I could. That however was nearly impossible. This became one of those cases that snowballed into absurdity. One news outlet covered, and so others followed suit, hoping not to get scooped. Then it became the sensation that 24 hour news needed to fill their time. Nancy Grace came down with the fire and brimstone of the South. Reuters reports that Headline News will air 26 hours of coverage of a trial that is over. Apparently Nancy isn’t done yet. It would seem there is no other crime to talk about. I thought that was odd. So I did a little research.
Based on the television coverage you would think Caylee Anthony was the only child who died in 2008. She was not. According to the FBI, 559 children under the age of 5 were murdered that year. In 2009, it was 491. Yet, I don’t recall hearing much about them. The past few weeks news has been falling all over themselves trying to get the latest from a Florida courtroom while they ignored everything else. If Caylee Anthony’s was being told to raise public awareness, it would be great. If the news was trying to help prevent another crime or accident or whatever this was, I would be all for it. They weren’t. If that’s what they were doing, you would have heard more than just the name of Caylee Anthony. You would have heard something about the more than 500 preschoolers, toddlers and infants who were killed that year. You didn’t because the news thought the Anthony story was good “entertainment.”
Instead of providing information about our world, they were raising primetime ratings. The story had it all. A cute little girl whose life was taken away by a mother who just wanted to be free from responsibility. It wrote it’s own appaling script. Casey was an easy villian, her daughter the innocent victim, and Nancy Grace, the Edward R. Murrow of down-home justice, bringing all the details straight to our living rooms.
Caylee Anthony’s death was certainly tragic, but no more so than the death of any child. For people who call themselves journalists to throw her memory up as the foundation for their own prosperity is sickening. For Nancy Grace to be on television for 26-hours just so that people can see what she did during this trial is beyond the pale. She owes and apology to the families and memories of every child who was murdered that got ignored because this story made for good television.