Courtesy of CNN, Nancy Grace's Brand of Justice

Monday, June 27, 2005

Courtesy of CNN, Nancy Grace's Brand of Justice

On two or three occasions I have watched CNN's recent addition to its weeknight schedule -- the "Nancy Grace" show. I've watched it just long enough to know that I never want to watch it again. Libby Copeland sums up my impressions of the show and its host when she writes in today's Washington Post:
"I'm on a search for the truth," [Nancy Grace] says during a recent visit to the District to promote her new book, "Objection!," in which the former prosecutor calls defense attorneys "dangerous" and compares them to pigs.
Gee, do you think this kind of demonization of defense lawyers helps to explain why state-appointed defense counsel are paid so poorly for the task at hand? Back to Copeland's column ...
The way Grace sees it, prosecutors want to do what's right, whereas defense attorneys are unethical and just want to win. She'd never cross over to what she calls the "dark side" because "I don't really want to have any part of getting guilty people off."

Media critics have suggested that Grace, who anchors daily shows on CNN Headline News ("Nancy Grace") and Court TV ("Nancy Grace: Closing Arguments"), believes all suspects are guilty until proven innocent, but Grace says that's ridiculous. She's passionate about putting guilty people in jail, and it just so happens she doesn't need juries to tell her who those guilty people are.

... Though she didn't actually sit in on the trial, she is convinced that the prosecution proved its case. That's why she blames the jurors for deciding the case wrong.

... Grace, 44, was a prosecutor for 10 years in Atlanta before moving to Court TV in 1997. Television seems to be her perfect medium. For one thing, it allows her to interrupt guests as much as she likes. For another, she gets to emote in close-up.

Under that nostalgic cotton-candy froth of hair, her face is a fabulous mosaic of glares, sneers and pained squints. When expressing righteous indignation, which is a great deal of the time, Grace does her imperious queen face, flaring her nostrils or shouting, pausing between each word for emphasis.
If the fans are an accurate reflection of the star, then this excerpt speaks volumes:
The fans love her. They say Grace speaks her mind and seems really to care. At a book reading at Barnes & Noble in Bethesda, she tells the audience how "disgusted" she was when a jury acquitted Michael Jackson ... the audience of 250, dominated by middle-aged women, claps and cheers.

They ask questions: "Are you by any chance an Aries?"

And this, from an old woman, about Grace's guests: "I love it when they don't know what they're talking about and you go, ' What-ever.' "
Finally, there is this excerpt:

Grace conjures a world in which dark forces lurk behind every corner, and young women are constantly in danger of being snatched or slain.

"A dangerous alert tonight, for all of you planning a summer vacation," she announced during her first show about Natalee Holloway, the 18-year-old from Alabama who disappeared in Aruba. Night after night in recent weeks, Grace has revisited Holloway's disappearance, quizzing the CNN reporter in Aruba for the slightest incremental advances in the story ...

Producers display photos of the blond girl while Grace says again and again that Holloway "looks like a beauty queen." She peers deep into the camera and says soulfully, "Natalee. Where. Are. You?" Then Grace shakes her head sadly.

P.S. - Make no mistake about it. The world cares a helluva lot more when a pretty, white girl from Alabama disappears than when an Hispanic girl from east L.A. goes missing.

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