Why Casey Anthony Isn't Worth Caring About
By Joseph Giannone 2011-07-08 14:59:08
The Casey Anthony trial has captivated audiences nationwide for almost 3 years. Not since the Scott Petersen conviction in the early 2000s has there been a trial that has so thoroughly transcended the courtroom. It makes a lot of sense given how heartbreaking losing a loved one can be, especially a daughter, but in the grand scheme of things, it still confuses me as to why this particular murder matters. What is it about Casey Anthony? Why do we care about this horrible redneck mother who’s allegedly killed her daughter? Why does the media feel it’s important to cover such a brutal crime in such an endless and excessive way? The truth is we’ve seen this before. It’s Timothy McVeigh and Rodney King and OJ Simpson. It’s a soap opera, every bit as manipulative and captivating as Jersey Shore or Big Brother. Love the characters or hate them, once the media hooks you on their perceived importance, you have to figure out whodunit. So, we get sucked in and completely lose context.
What happens when as a society we are manipulated, with frivolous sensationalism, to a subject as random as the Casey Anthony trial? Well, for one thing we pay less attention to the endless protests throughout the Middle East, the austerity acts in Greece, and the crumbling of our own economy. By any stretch of the imagination, these issues are clearly more important, but they’re pushed to the backend of nightly newscasts in favor of outrage over Casey Anthony walking free. The partying mother isn’t the first media made celebrity nor will she be the last, but she is our best current example of the media manufacturing a sad news item into a national uproar, and there is a reason for this. That reason is called the need for “morality.”
Cases like this tap into the neurons in our brain that demand we see justice done. They trick us into thinking we’re good citizens for obsessively watching these trials play out, but in reality, we’re just feeding the media’s desire to muster up an epic outcry over an innocuous issue. Once Americans are endlessly fed information about a citizen's personal life, like that of the Anthony family, we feel the need to morally justify our feelings by sporting ourselves as the “crusaders of morality” when we are no more moral than the person being crucified. Why must mainstream news organizations feel the need to sensationalize a story to entice our primal need for fear mongering?
When all is said and done, the entire Anthony Family turned out to be liars, pitted against each other for obvious reasons. America gave that family their 15 minutes of fame, but when does it end? I am not saying at all that Casey Anthony does not deserve punishment, nor is this editorial about the case of convicting her for murder. The purpose is to prove that human beings are in fact easily doped by media conglomerates to excessively follow a story which bears no semblance on their lives. While we watch in frustration, those companies make billions of dollars from our curious, but emotional nature. The affect of these events can muster up such an outcry, that we feel the need to justify our opinions by pouring our lives into a simple news story and forgetting about other issues which are far more devastating to the world. The sad news is that we are so distrustful and angry towards each other, we would claim treason on a court of law, but what’s worse is that the media will surely exploit cases like this again. And we'll be there ready, angry as ever.
Gotta admit that I'm a little bit confused. Sometimes it seems to me as if I'm just being used. Gotta stay awake, gotta try and shake off this creeping malaise. If I don't stand my own ground, how can I find my way out of this maze? Deaf, dumb and blind, you just keep on pretending. That everyone's expendable, and no one has a real friend. And it seems to you the thing to do would be to isolate the winner. Everything's done under the sun. But you believe at heart everyone's a killer. –“Dogs” Pink Floyd-