Monday, October 13, 2008

Tot Mom

This piece today is not meant in any way, shape, or form to show sympathy for a woman who, if she did not actually kill her child, she showed amazing callousness in the face of her daughter's complete disappearance from her life.

That being said, can the news coverage provided by CNN Headline News' Nancy Grace be described as anything less than sickly obsessive? I do not tune in to her show every night, but I have seen it enough to know that this tragedy has been about the only thing she has discussed in months. Experts come on to mainly be shown how stupid they are against the awesome intellect of Her Grace. Over and over again the public is treated to racy photos of the attractive mother dancing suggestively with another young woman.

At what point does "coverage" metamorphize into exploitation? The very phrase "tot mom" reflects a dehumanization of the suspect who, in American justice, is supposedly innocent until proven guilty. Yes, she probably did it. Yes she is good looking. But is there not some other interesting case in this entire country that she could discuss? Should the show not try to educate about our justice system rather than constantly titillate viewers?

The night by night onslaught of invective against this young woman resembles a fictional series rather than news coverage. The difference lies in the fact that in a TV series, there is usually something going on. Many nights, Grace rambles about the fact that there is nothing happening. Is this not the cue for the program to find another subject?

The young woman in question has a constitutional right to be considered innocent until proven guilty. As a former court officer, Grace ought to respect that presumption. Instead she plumbs the depths of yellow journalism, mixing shocking true crime with sensationalist sexuality. Such "journalism" soils both the media and the audience.

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