Gracey Nanthony: The train wreck that has become cable news coverage

July 11, 2011

So the question today is: What hapless, legally challenged loser is the press and public going to leech onto now that Casey Anthony is no longer in play?

The secondary question is whether there stands an accused criminal so vile, so disturbing, so repulsive, that he or she doesn’t appear to be a sympathetic person when compared to Nancy Grace.

I’m not saying that Nancy Grace is not amusing in her own right. When the “not guilty” verdict was read in the C.A. trial, it was interesting to watch Grace as her eyes rolled back into her head and she appeared to give birth to a velociraptor.

Anything that woman touches turns into an instant train wreck. Actually, anything cable television news touches turns into an instant train wreck, because in order to feed the 24/7 news-cycle beast, it becomes necessary to gin up stories far beyond their actual importance.

Unthinkable tragedies happen every day in the United States. Yet there are those that the bony finger of cable news reaches out and anoints as The One that will be capable of working the largely unemployed America public up into a froth.

But shouldn’t we have some kind of line? Former athletes decapitating people is fair game. People who kidnap the baby of the first person to fly solo across the Atlantic, fine.

But a vacant-eyed party girl from Goofyland who otherwise would have been headed toward a career as an afternoon cocktail waitress down at the Legion?

One shudders to think who the wolves will turn to feed off of next — maybe some leather-skinned, gin-guzzling bridge club chickadee whose life is so uninteresting that she wouldn’t even have been attractive as a sidekick on the sitcom “Rhoda.”

I don’t know that there is anything appealing about that Anthony woman, but I found myself feeling strangely sorry for her, mainly because the behavior of the loons who were howling for her blood was so despicable.

If they had allowed justice to do its job without slobbering all over the courtroom windows trying to get a peek, the prosecution doesn’t get all full of itself and seek the death penalty, the jury — not scared off at the thought of frying a young woman — finds her guilty of something heavier than double parking next to a swamp, and everything works out pretty much the way it does in a thousand other courtrooms every day of the week.

But, no.

Drunk on the moral outrage of people who make their living in vultureland, people were driving across the country looking for a piece of the action.

See, in my view, this is what happens when there are no longer any good religious cults to join. We ridicule them out of existence and look what happens. Instead of waiting around for Hale-Bopp in their Nike Windrunners, the weak of mind channel their idol worshipry toward the snakehandling Twittter feeds of cable shows.

Come on folks, feel free to read a book. Take up bird watching, collect stamps, learn a new language, have an affair — do something, anything, to make your own life even slightly interesting to the point you don’t have to affix your parasitic jaws around someone nobody’s ever heard of before.

Although if you managed to follow it on television without giving in to the compulsion to get in your car and drive to Florida on the notion you might be needed, at least that’s a start.

Tim Rowland is a Herald-Mail columnist. He can be reached at 301-733-5131, ext. 6997, or via email at Tune in to the Rowland Rant at, on or on Antietam Cable’s WCL-TV Channel 30 at 6:30 p.m. New episodes are released every Wednesday.

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