Opinion: The Media Versus Casey Anthony, Verdict: Constitution Assaulted

Category: Opinion / Jul 06, 2011 6:04PM EDT
The murder trial and subsequent acquittal of Casey Anthony was the most sensational criminal trial since the OJ Simpson case. To begin, I wish to express my sadness over the loss of the life of the innocent Caylee Anthony. You don’t have to be a parent to understand or feel the depth of the tragedy of a life lost at such a young age. There is a human fascination with murder as entertainment that I cannot even begin to fathom, as the mention of the subject fills me with sadness and fear. I do not find it fascinating, nor do I find it entertaining. Yet, some of our most esteemed news media companies have turned the story of the death of a toddler into a primetime circus. This was courtesy of the same cable network that brought us the “twitter-like” republican debate…I can’t say that I am surprised. That network seems to be leading a race to the bottom in intellectual and news integrity that has apparently gripped most of the mainstream US media. There was a time not long ago that if you repeatedly and routinely used 140 characters to express your most profound ideas you would be referred to as illiterate. Now that provincial form of communication can make you a social Mayor. Over the course of this trial I have watched the media coverage both live courtroom proceedings as well as endless so-called legal experts appearing on the cable networks offering opinions and speculation over the guilt or innocence of the accused young mother. In addition, I watched the prosecution and defense summations and I too speculated to some degree. Honestly, I had my doubts and thought to myself that I would likely have reached a similar verdict to the one that was reached by the jurors. However, I did have the common sense to understand that I did not have access to all the information or the witnesses, and that I was not privy to all the evidence. Like many I felt sadness and anger over the death of this little girl, and the way her death was being exploited by the media for monetary gain. Professionally and personally I tried my best to keep an open mind and a closed mouth in deference to the memory of Caylee and to the US Constitution which promises us a fair and impartial trial. These are two concepts that have been trampled by the media…and in particular CNN. And in particular Legal Commentator Nancy Grace. Ms. Grace is a former prosecutor and self-proclaimed “victims rights advocate”. In reality Nancy Grace is a very dangerous vigilante and modern-day lynch mob instigator backed by a global media company. Ms. Grace has no regard for the US constitution beyond the first amendment within the bill of rights which ensures her livelihood. Ms Grace has been granted a bully pulpit by CNN to trample individual rights in the pursuit of ratings. Her credits include what many believe was pressuring Melinda Duckett the mother of a missing child into suicide after a vicious on-air interview with her in regard to her son’s disappearance. Ms. Grace has denied that her vicious verbal attack on Ms. Duckett who had not been named a suspect had anything to do with the interview, but suggested days later that the suicide was likely the result of a guilty conscience. Ms. Grace also contributed to the public humiliation and condemnation of the Duke University Lacrosse players, proclaiming their guilt even before the trial started. In view of CNN’s media reach the President of Duke university…one of the most prestigious institutions of higher learning in the US, felt compelled to cancel the Duke mens lacrosse season citing a public opinion backlash. This is a dangerous situation and Nancy Grace is just the freakshow face of the CNN disgrace. She is no more than a vicious dog let lose in the neighborhood by its owner. This type of thing is no more than a modern-day lynch mob and we’re all letting it happen by watching her. There is no shame in an interest in the Anthony trial, it is part of our humanity. It is another thing to shamelessly exploit it with sensationalism and trampling people’s rights and making baseless public accusations. In truth Casey Anthony may not be innocent, but she was found not guilty by a jury of her peers. In the end, our jury system proved to be stronger than the misguided people who run the media. I do not defend Casey Anthony, but I do defend our constitution and the right to a fair trial. I will leave you all with one question…who would you want deciding your guilt or innocence a jury of your peers…or CNN and Nancy Grace?