The incessant news coverage of the Casey Anthony case is another classic symptom of a deeply troubled news media system. I’ve only briefly skimmed the details of the case – it seems pretty horrific, and I don’t pretend to know anywhere near enough to weigh in with an opinion – but there is no reason why the entire nation knows more about it than the war in Libya, the very serious debate over the debt ceiling and the impending budget cuts.
The truth is, the accused Casey Anthony is young, pretty and white – the key ingredients for a ratings bonanza – and the media have jumped all over the tragic story in order to ramp up advertising dollars. Horrific murders like this happen on a daily basis, but few contain the necessary elements for a neatly packaged media narrative. Ambulance chasers like Nancy Grace have had a field day feigning outrage over the case, piling up the ratings while distorting the justice system with opinion and speculation.
The NBC, CNN and Fox news departments have all followed suit, jumping in on the game offering up ‘expert’ opinion and 24/7 coverage. Their obsessive reporting on the case should disqualify them as serious news organizations, yet they continue to parade themselves as trusted brands for informing the public.
This is why independent news organizations must continue to struggle against the tide – to provide real news and real reporting without falling victim to the orgy of trash news and gossip.
It is an uphill battle, but one worth fighting for.
Ben Cohen is the editor and founder of The Daily Banter. He lives in Washington DC where he does podcasts, teaches Martial Arts, and tries to be a good father. He would be extremely disturbed if you took him too seriously.