Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Trial by Media

Deadeye watched the Casey Anthony trial with rapt fascination over the past six weeks. I would venture that there is no one out there as knowledgeable about that case (outside of the attorneys, that is) than Deadeye. When Casey Anthony was found not guilty on all charges except lying to police yesterday, Deadeye was dumbfounded. She has officially lost all confidence in the jury system.

While I would tend to agree with her the the cumulative evidence should have led to a verdict of guilty, I'm less concerned with the verdict and more concerned about a growing trend that became apparent during this trial. Call it what you will, it boils down to trail by media.

The worst offender was Nancy Grace, of course. Were it up to Ms. Grace, Casey Anthony would be dead already. Nancy Grace has spent the past three years proclaiming the guilt of "tot mom". I thought that the "not guilty" verdict might elicit some sort of contemplative pause from her. As if! She said in response to the verdict that "the devil is dancing tonight". On her show last night, she spent an entire segment excoriating the defense team for having the audacity to celebrate their victory. Claiming "I never did that as a prosecutor", she heaped derision on Casey's attorneys. Being ever cynical...and knowing Nancy's predilection for playing fast and loose with the law during her career as a prosecutor...I would guess that the reason she never celebrated was because she didn't want to draw too much attention to her tactics.

If it were just Nancy Grace acting this way on the airways, you could dismiss this is as one bitter crank amid a sea of babble. But it's not just Ms. Grace. It's Jane VOLUME-Mitchell. It's Vinnie Politan. It's the hosts of In Session on Tru TV. The babble from this Tower of Babel is not just harmless words. If you listen to the comments of people around the country, they are convinced that the jury flat out blew the case. They're convinced that Casey Anthony is GUILTY, GUILTY, GUILTY. And the reason they're so convinced is because they've been harangued for three solid years by people selling sensationalism for ratings.

Still not convinced it's all that dangerous, Vulture. Okay, indulge me for a second. What happens when a sizable segment of the populace is worked up into a frenzy about something or other? Answer: laws get passed. Bad laws. Laws that make us less free and more susceptible to unwarranted incarceration. THIS is what concerns me. THIS is what I see as the danger.

Here's hoping that the Casey Anthony verdict does NOT have the effect of giving politicians a premise for abolishing or negating trial by jury.