(PHOTO CREDIT: GETTY IMAGES)
FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:
Like millions of Americans, I got sucked into watching the Casey Anthony murder trial. Over the July Fourth weekend, I spent several hours engrossed in watching the closing arguments, fascinated by the skill of the lawyers, particularly of the prosecutors, as they practiced their craft at the highest level in pursuit of justice for a 2-year-old girl who couldn't speak for herself.
It was the stuff of high drama. And for six weeks, the country has been riveted by the goings-on inside the courtroom in Orlando, Florida.
Our sister networks, HLN along with Tru TV, have mined ratings gold from trial coverage, garnering some of the highest numbers in their history.
This isn't the first time a mother has been put on trial for the death of her child. This isn't the first time television cameras have been allowed in a courtroom. Or the first time a defendant has been caught in countless lies and cover-ups or been depicted as a less than stand-up person during testimony. Nor was it the first time a defendant showed little emotion throughout it all. But for some reason, the country couldn't get enough. It was almost like O.J. all over again. Right down to the outcome.
The verdict left a lot of people scratching their heads. After my weekend on the couch watching the proceedings, I would have bet on a guilty verdict. And I would have been dead wrong.
Here’s my question to you: Why did the Casey Anthony murder trial captivate the nation?
Interested to know which ones made it on air?
The story itself is reality TV. As TV viewers, we like train wrecks. Hot body contests, people who don't exist, and an over-the-top family. Jerry Springer couldn't write a better script.
Virginia in Atlanta:
I think Nancy Grace is responsible for our interest. We all waited for Caylee to be found. We were all astonished by Casey's response. I was impressed with the prosecutors and somewhat disappointed with the defense - I hated that their main defense was to discredit apparently good people in their zeal to win. But the jury saw something I didn't.
Kevin in California:
Wrong. It captivated the media.
The state did not prove their case. And the people still want her blood. Now, what happens if they prove it wasn't Casey but someone else? Will the media give her a public apology, since they publicly tried her?
Angela in Charlotte, North Carolina:
It was totally media driven, and sadly the more gruesome, shocking and heinous the crime appears to be, the more interest there is. Bring on the gladiators, Jack. Society appears to be ready for them again.
The fact that a child was murdered is enough to captivate people. Look at Jon Benet Ramsey, no one has been arrested in her murder, either. When a child gets murdered and their photos get put on television, it is hard not to get caught up in the story.
Ronda in Canastota, New York:
Jack, if you think the trial captivated the nation, the verdict got the nation's attention even more. Although the jury returned a "not guilty" verdict, that doesn't mean Casey Anthony didn't kill little Caylee. Most people think she did. Like the O.J. Simpson case, the message this case sent is that juries don't reach verdicts solely on the evidence presented, but on which side has the most convincing attorney. Baez proved to be more clever than the prosecution. Justice has failed Caylee, and her mother will be able to go back to her partying without her child being in the way. Very sad.
Anything "tabloid" sells, Jack. The fact that you have two questions about the trial proves that. As the kids say, "Well, duh!!!"