Saturday, July 16, 2011

Casey Anthony

I have been very reluctant to blog anything regarding the very well-known trial of Casey Anthony and her subsequent acquittal by a jury of her peers on the charges of first-degree murder and assault of a child.  It has been the subject of literal 24/7 coverage by our news media (Headline News being the most flagrant offender amongst them) and as you should probably figure out, I abhor coverage of stories like this.  Not least because it takes up valuable screen real estate at the expense of much more pressing topics, but I guess that's the corporate media way, isn't it?  To keep us ignorant and clueless by engaging in sensationalist, mental and spiritual junk food like this Casey Anthony trial.  I tried to make this point to my brother, and he tried telling me that the reason why this case got so much coverage was that it was so "compelling" and that people were so "intrigued" by it that the media was just giving them what they wanted.  I think it's the other way around.  I believe that the media looks for stories like this (again, to distract us from real issues that do need to be covered and discussed; FYI, my definition of "real issues" includes, but is not limited to, peak oil/peak everything, the economic downturn/collapse, climate change, Middle East/North Africa, stuff of that vein) that can be easily packaged to Americans and that can rake in vast amounts of advertising revenue (something I think the Anthony family deserves a piece of; I know they're deplored, but the media has made shitloads of money off of them).  To see how ridculous people have gotten over this case, check out this video (I call it the "stampede").  They are running throughout the court trying to get a seat to observe the trial, at 5 AM, and you won't see a retiree among them.  

Anyway, I know much more about the trial than I'd wished to, because my family (mainly, mother and brother) have obsessed over every detail.  I could not help but be an unwilling observer to countless discussions over the dinner table, as well as footage on television by such first-class luminaries of journalism as Nancy Grace and Jane Velez-Mitchell.  I have also been subjected to postings by my Facebook buddies about it.  But what finally opened my eyes to this case was the verdict.  Ms. Anthony was found "not guilty" by a jury of her peers.  This flew into the face of the plainly visible bias of the media, for one thing.  They had long before declared her guilty in the court of public opinion, and I did not see much in the way of dissenters.  So it was, in a way, satisfying to me to hear that "not guilty" verdict, just so I could see these very same talking heads get to eat a big bowl of shit.  And after the trial, I decided to read a few articles concerning the case, just to get a feel as to whether justice was served or not.  I was surprised to find just what a weak-ass case the state had against this person.  It basically consisted of a Google search for "chloroform" on the family computer (note, not even her computer), a "weird smell" coming from her car, and pictures of her partying mere weeks after her kid's death.  At most, the latter proves that she wasn't a particularly good parent, but it hardly proves that she murdered her kid.

But, it seems that the only people in this country who felt that Ms. Anthony wasn't guilty of what she was accused of, were those 12 people on that jury.  Everyone else is convinced, to the point of lunacy.  I have heard talk of hopes that she "gets hers", that someone will take "justice into their own hands" and string her up.  Her legal team and the jurors have also received threats.  The American people have been whipped up into a frenzy, and for that, I blame the corporate media.  These people were only told what the corporate media, and its employees, wanted them to hear.  They were not privy to all the evidence and the expert testimony that the jury were.  It has reached the point where people who look like Anthony are being attacked for looking like her.

To close, I suggest reading the above linked article as well as this other one from the same blogger.  He says many things that I am in full agreement with.  To add a little, I have heard that the state has incurred untold costs in providing extra security for the trial, as well as its aftermath.  This is obviously due to the media's incursion into the region of Florida where the trial was held, as well as the threats against the jurors and the Anthony family.  I imagine that Florida's finances are in dire straits (like most states) and this is an extra cost that they could ill afford.  All while the media gets to walk away with the ad revenue that they pocket from the coverage of this case.  This is a perfect example, to me, of how corporations privatize their profits while socializing the costs of their actions.  In a just world, the media would have to share the costs of providing the extra police and guards in the Florida courtroom where the trial occurred.

Also, I hope this case makes our courts reexamine the issue of whether cameras should be allowed in the courtroom.  In theory, it sounds like a great idea.  Who doesn't want openness in any statehouse or courthouse?  But in practice, it has proven a debacle, due to the reasons above.  The media is not going to devote extensive coverage to, say, any modern-day variants of a Scopes Trial or a Sacco & Vanzetti, or any other case where a valid legal question is posed.  The coverage will go to cases that scrape the bottom of the barrel, and in which our basest, worst instincts as human beings will come out, and possibly manifest themselves, in violent fashion.  

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