Having some free time as of late, I decided to read up on the Casey Anthony trial. Not one to watch Fox, MSNBC or CNN (unless I’m stuck at in an airport terminal where CNN always seems to be on, regardless of the city) my take on the entire saga of the murder of Caylee Anthony remains unpolluted from the fowl litigious arrogance of Nancy Grace and her ilk.
Memory serves that Grace was adamant in claiming the guilt of the Duke lacrosse team, when they were accused of raping the Black prostitute named Crystal Mangum (sadly she never followed up with a story of what the Black accuser is doing now). She couldn’t even appear on her own show to read that all charges were dismissed against the Duke lacrosse players that she was so ready to prosecute (indeed, her show allows her the opportunity of steering the evidence in the public forum so she can castigate those she deems guilty on a nightly basis).
CNN’s ratings are abysmal. By riding the story of Caylee Anthony, CNN – and Headline News (HLN) – were able to pull off big ratings. The Washington Post wrote this story about Grace following the Anthony verdict:
“Caylee’s death has gone un-avenged!” HLN star Nancy Grace shrieked in disbelief as the verdict was read in the Casey Anthony murder trial.
“Tot Mom will be walking free!” Grace grieved Tuesday afternoon as the Florida jury acquitted Anthony of murder, aggravated child abuse and aggravated manslaughter in the death of her 2-year-old daughter — though the jurors did find Anthony guilty of providing false info to the cops.
Five million people watched Grace as the verdict was read about 2:15 p.m. Tuesday — HLN’s best ratings performance in any hour in its history, according to Nielsen numbers issued Wednesday afternoon.
“The devil is dancing tonight!” Grace continued, hours after the verdict, on her prime-time show. About 3 million caught that performance — the “Nancy Grace” show’s biggest audience ever.
Other news outlets might have been equally stunned by the verdict: ABC News on Wednesday called it a “jaw-dropping not-guilty verdict” as it plugged its coming interview with Jennifer Ford, who said she and her fellow jurors cried and were “sick to our stomachs” after voting to acquit Casey Anthony of charges she killed Caylee but that they could not convict because “there was not enough evidence.”
This grisly murder trial has been the making of Grace — June had been her highest-rated month ever, with her prime-time show averaging 1.5 million viewers. And Tuesday, she emerged from the rubble having been crowned — by Web site Gawker and others — The New Queen of Grief Porn.
Grace was best at serving up to viewers what they wanted to hear. According to NM Incite — a Nielsen/McKinsey joint venture that provides social-media intelligence — 64 percent of people on Twitter disagreed with the verdict, and only 1 percent agreed; the other 35 percent were “neutral.”
“In the end, Tot Mom’s lies seemed to have worked,” a bereaved Grace lashed out after the verdict was revealed.
“Caylee, her 2-year-old little girl, found just 15 houses from where Tot Mom puts her head on the pillow every night; her body decomposed — nothing but a skeleton gnawed on by animals, disarranged there in a trash dump that used to serve as a pet cemetery.
Little Caylee — thrown away like she was trash.
“And now, for the rest of our coverage, Caylee will be in our hearts, regardless of what this jury or anyone else does or says.”
Grace has been blathering endlessly on the story of Caylee – it would be interesting to see how many people have been murdered since her coverage of this one story broke – with these words written in January of 2009:
….CNN Headline News ambulance chaser Nancy Grace.
Pounding away nightly on the Caylee Anthony murder case, where the two-year-old victim’s mother, Casey Anthony, stands accused of taking her daughter’s life, Grace has hit a ratings jackpot. Fox News’s Bill O’Reilly may bring in more total viewers, but Grace is chipping away at his lead as of late and besting O’Reilly’s nemesis, MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann, too.
Grace’s ratings ascension is evidence that we’re back to the good old bad days of cable news—a steady diet of murder and mayhem. Indeed, Grace’s recent resurgence may be our post-election reality check.
Instead of talking about where this country is headed and what the challenges are, we’re being fed gruesome details about how a little girl’s life ended, with Nancy Grace playing judge, jury, and executioner.
Judge, jury, and executioner? A bloated white woman with that much power? No wonder our nation is so fucked up. That Casey Anthony had to go into hiding because of the vicious rants of people like Grace – and the millions of largely white women she influenced during the trial – led to this horrific incident where Oklahoma native Sammay Blackwell was attacked by Shireene Nalley because the former “looked like Anthony.” No mention that Nalley is Black and that she attacked Blackwell because “all you white bitches look like Casey Anthony to me.”
What happened to Caylee Anthony is horrible. Not being a parent, I can only imagine the fear and dread that must exist within a mother and father each and everyday as they struggle with their parental duties of ensuring their child’s (children) safety in an increasingly insidious world.
Revealing is the reaction by people to the verdict from all across the nation who became emotionally invested into this story. It’s healthy. People felt outraged that justice wasn’t done for the memory of Caylee.
Now they know how families involved in stories that never make it to Nancy Grace feel when all-Black or majority-Black juries refuse to prosecute suspected Black criminals that have robbed, raped, or murdered. How many victims of crime and murder – without a cable news heroine championing their story nightly – have had their story forgotten? How many families have watched as a son or daughter is laid to rest with no fanfare or flowers sent from an adoring public captivated by every turn and twist in the legal proceedings of the trial of their murderer?
That a smug, arrogant, pretentious, pontificating individual like Grace – and others like here – is allowed to play judge, jury, and executioner each night is a melancholy thought:
One of the jurors in the Anthony case, Elizabeth Ford, told ABC News that the 51-year-old Grace was not fit for television.
“I think a lot of things she says fuel the fire and they’re based on nothing,” Ford said. “I’m obviously against making decisions based on just speculation and opinion.”
Back down? You don’t know Nancy. After one of Anthony’s lawyers said the verdict should send a message to those who engage in “media assassination” — remarks considered largely aimed at Grace — she said she wasn’t concerned. “I don’t like them much either,” she said on a CNN blog.
“When I take a stand, I don’t expect people to like what I have to say,” Grace, who declined to be interviewed by The Associated Press, told ABC News. “But I do hold myself up to the standard of trying to tell the truth. And if they don’t like it or if it hurts their feelings, there’s nothing I can do about that. But I can tell you this much: That mom is guilty.”
Grace’s career was fueled by a personal fire. Her fiance, college student Keith Griffin, was murdered in 1979 when Grace was 19. The tragic crime caused her to abandon her plans to teach English and turn to law. She wound up working in the Atlanta-area district attorney’s office, often on cases involving women or children. But the Georgia courts also cited her for prosecutorial misconduct on one or two cases.
That’s a sad story, the genesis of Grace’s war. But has she apologized for what she did to the Duke lacrosse players when she presumed their guilt and then hid on the day all charges were dropped? Though it’s unlikely, if the killer of Caylee Anthony is found will she apologize to Casey Anthony (based on the evidence, she does appear to be guilty but our world doesn’t have a Dexter Morgan to figure this out)?
From reading the sensational coverage of Anthony’s trial, it appears – to me – that Nancy Grace was calling for some kind of vigilante attack on Casey Anthony, so that her death wouldn’t go “unavenged”; so that the “devil would stop dancing.”
In reading more about Anthony, I came across this article in The Miami Herald about a Black girl that went missing in 2001:
But the Rilya Wilson case lacks the essential elements to get noticed by the likes of Nancy Grace. Casey, however lurid her backstory, was an attractive young white woman – a necessary ingredient in cable television’s pursuit of sensational crime stories. Graham is a 65-year-old black woman. Caylee was that photogenic little pink-faced two-year-old. Rilya was the cast-off daughter of a black crack addict, not a promising demographic for a national TV audience.
Nancy Grace complained Tuesday evening that Caylee’s death has “gone unavenged.”