Casey Anthony found not guilty on murder charges

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Here at Nerve, we've avoided the sensationalism of the Casey Anthony made-for-television courtroom circus. But it seems like something needs to be said at the conclusion of the media spectacle that the legal case became. Casey Anthony was found not guilty of murdering her two-year-old child Caylee; she was acquitted by a jury of her peers — not by Nancy Grace, People magazine, or popular opinion.

The case, much like the O.J. Simpson trial of the '90s, reveals our fascination with the macabre and with courtroom proceedings. It also reveals how much more engaged our culture gets when some or all of the players in a murder/kidnapping are stereotypically attractive. Also, the cases that become national obsessions, like the Simpson and Anthony trials, are often ones where a mountain of evidence seems to assure conviction, but which ultimately deny the devotees the satisfaction of a guilty verdict.

Maybe it is easier to focus in on one terrible situation and give it twenty-four-hour television coverage; especially if, as in this case, the missing child was cute. This is what happens when our television dramas are filled with gruesome murders and disturbing sexual abuse. We've created such a high threshold for shock — we need murder, molestation, drugs, sex, and sociopaths to feel entertained — that the media reacts with glee when a real-life case comes along that's as scintillating as an episode of Law and Order: SVU.