And here is the deal. I had not heard of the trial until yesterday's verdict. I saw buzz on Facebook and had to google the name. I guess that proves that I don't watch cable news and that the news I read online doesn't cover this kind of story.
But now I am caught up, and my reaction is that our country is seriously messed up. This is the story that captivates the entire nation, while Republicans threatening to crater our economy is simply ignored. I am certainly not saying that the death of this little girl is trivial, because it certainly is not. It is a deeply tragic story. But watching the news last night, I saw a level of obsession with the story, the characters, and the outcome that seemed to belie the context.
So I have multiple objections. The first is the same I felt after the OJ trial when people start slamming the jury. Nancy Grace doesn't get to execute people she thinks are guilty, and the system is set so that it is difficult to convict people. But further, I am always amused (if amusement is the right word--and I don't think it is) when people are so dismissive of a jury verdict like this, but somehow convinced that all the people we execute are dead-bang guilty. If the system is so flawed to let this woman wrongly slide, why are they not skeptical about the people sent to the chair?
And the other is, as always, a sense that the media focuses on the easy, and ignores the difficult. I understand the grief over this little girl, but, as I noted, there are key political issues that go unnoticed. Republicans killing the economy is one, but another and equally vexing one is the budget cuts that will endanger thousands of young girls like Caylee Anthony. How do people express grief over one lost girl, but have no difficulty voting to cut off funding for thousands of kids, some of whom have disabilities or are in foster care?
But the media prefers these stories because they have natural drama, and require almost no intelligence to sell. And the public prefers a story that is simple to those that are tough to understand.
And we are all lessened.