Saturday, July 30, 2011
by Susan Filan
I cannot for the life of me figure out why certain cases capture the media’s attention, and thus the public’s attention, while others do not.
Why aren’t all of the murdered and missing children, and all of the mothers and fathers accused of killing their children, covered by the press? Why isn’t each case newsworthy, a cause in and of itself, a cry for justice? How do the powers that be choose among the murdered and the missing to decide which cases are anointed to celebrity status? Only the chosen few accused or their victims become notorious. For example, the murders of Laci and Connor Peterson, the abduction of Elizabeth Smart, the death of Caylee Anthony, the alleged abduction of Madeleine McCann, became worthy of a nation’s time and attention. And yet other victims go to their silent graves unmarked by a press hell-bent on feeding the public’s voracious appetite for the tragic and the awful.
Does the victim have to be a certain race, economic status, and have a certain “pretty” factor?
There seems to be no rhyme or reason to which cases get chosen and which cases do not, nor does there seem to be any explanation for the public’s fixation over certain cases to the point of national obsession.
I no longer believe the public is following a case to get an up close look into our criminal justice system. Instead, it seems to be more of a voyeuristic feeding frenzy on someone else’s pain, perhaps obviating the need to feel our own. Or perhaps it is a lynch mob mentality that without our system of justice would have people taking to the streets to stone or hang those deemed worthy of loathing.
I was taken by surprise over the public’s growing fascination with the Casey Anthony case that culminated in an inexplicable fixation. Not only could I not understand the attention this case received, I could not understand why this case, and not another case.
And now that the case is over, the recent offer by Hustler Magazine to pay half a million dollars to an acquitted defendant for a nude photo shoot, is both revolting and baffling. I suppose in our celebrity worshipping culture, it is not surprising that Ms. Anthony would try to cash in on her ill-gotten fame. She has reportedly solicited a million and a half dollars for television interviews. But it is surprising that anyone would actually pay it. I condemn those who would buy Ms. Anthony “story” in order to heap more on an already saturated public.
We have binged enough on Casey Anthony and it is time to stop rewarding her with fortune or even more fame.
I wish that all murdered and missing children receive the same feverish thirst for justice that Caylee Anthony does, and that the public cashes in on their buying power by developing an appetite for the greater good, rather than the lowest common denominator.Tweet