The Wrath of Grace, Vox Pop
A lot of you had a lot to say about Nancy Grace after my post yesterday about her on-air antics and suicide of a mother whose two-year-old son has gone missing. We'll get to that in a little bit. In the meantime, media coverage of L'Affair Grace really has taken off. There is this from a guy named Irwin Kramer and this from a woman named Anna Johns and this (which reads a lot like my post, by the way) from a guy named Rick Ellis. There is even a column about her in today's San Francisco Chronicle with the headline: "CNN Talk Show Reaches New Depth Of Sleaze." Ouch.
Judging from your comments, and not surprisingly, there is very little middle ground about Grace. People seem to either love her or hate her, which I suppose defines what it means to be a media personality in this Caustic Age. Apart from the people who tried to turn this into a liberal v. conservative fight, which is nonsense, I also was struck by how insightful many commenters were about what Grace's show is all about, what it's place in society suggests, and it truly is a mirror on our culture. Remember, my original post was explicitly NOT about linking Grace to the suicide of Melinda Duckett. It was about how dangerous Grace's embrace of emotion is as a ratings tool.
As for your comments, on the one hand, there were people who went even further than I did in castigating Grace for her antics, not just in the Duckett case but in other cases as well. Daniel Hough wrote: "Media figures like Nancy Grace are more concerned with garnering attention and celebrity than with reasoned discussion or intelligent discourse. Their shrill, overly intense yammering serves no purpose other then to convince the host they are important and lead them to the delusion that they are indispensable."
Mary Newell wrote: "Nancy Grace thinks she is still in the courtroom (wonder why she isn't). She is in love with the sound of her own voice, and does not care who she hurts. Remember the Elizabeth Smart interview? When will CNN start thinking about something besides ratings and start thinking about decency? She never lets a person talk. She is sooo rude. She is the Judge, Prosecutor, and Jury. I think she does a lot of harm to the Police Investigators who are actually being paid to work on the cases. When will she just go away? Soon I hope."
But there were several others of you who wrote to support Grace and her brand of television-as-therapy shtick. Debbie wrote: "Nancy Grace is the voice for the victim. She does grill people on her show. However, those people agree to go on her show knowing that might take place. In the case of Melinda Duckett she was a mother who refused to take a lie detector test and cooperate with the police. Nancy Grace was doing her job for the victim. She was grilling this uncooperative mother of the victim to get answers to help find this little boy. She did not drive this mother to commit suicide. The guilt is what led the mother to take her own life. I applaud Nancy Grace and I hope she will continue to be that voice for the victim."
Cindy wrote: "If one of my children turned up missing and Nancy Grace wanted to bring media attention to my case, I would jump at the chance. If I have nothing to hide and am not guilty of anything, then I have nothing to fear from her line of questioning." But Doug wrote: "Those of you who have only read the transcript of this need to watch the video. It was disgusting. I am sure I would have stammered and stuttered a LOT if this raving lunatic had "interviewed" me in such a fashion. Later in the interview after Melinda had gone, this WICKED WITCH at one point apparently took offense at something Mark Klaas said and she started to let HIM have it! Mark Klaas, father of murdered Polly Klaas who has dedicated his life to missing and exploited children. Yes this one is a real prize, Nancy Grace."
Many of you came down sort of in the middle. Michelle wrote: I would like to state that I am not a fan of Nancy Grace. I do think that she often goes too far and is too overly emotional. That being said... I feel that she is in no way to blame for Melinda Duckett's suicide. I read the transcript and Duckett was evasive and defensive the entire time. The father of the boy, Joshua, had no problems answering questions. Melinda could not mention one store that they went (which could be helpful if someone saw Melinda and her son being followed in a store.) Also when Nancy asked her if she took the Polygraph test she could have simply said "no" instead of dodging the question."
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