The verdict is in. A jury found Casey Anthony not guilty in the murder of her 2-year-old daughter Caylee in the sensational Florida case.
Prosecutors apparently failed to convince the jury that the mother murdered her child to live a carefree, unburdened life. The defense apparently argued successfully that the mother had been confused and suffering when she made up lies to explain the accidental death.
The accusations of murder against a young, possibly ill mother were covered obsessively in the media. More than 500 outlets applied for press credentials to cover the story according to a pre-trial Orlando Sentinel story . The continual coverage, especially on television, made it clear that those credentials were flashed often.
According to Mark Jurkowitz from the Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism, last week, the trial was the 7th biggest story in the media, taking up 4 percent of the news hole. In the past month, it accounted for 2 percent of the newshole and was the sixth biggest story overall.
That was before the verdict was announced today.
Very few details in the case are applicable beyond that Florida courtroom. Still the media covered the case and, whether many admit it or not, it was followed by more than a few horrified parents.
A chat stream on DC Urban moms and dads, for instance, discussed each day’s proceedings. Those who posted ignored an occasional interloper who broke in to criticize the others. The Post’s story today on the verdict almost immediately garnered hundreds of comments.
Such devotion to lurid cases involving children has plenty of historical precedence (see: Lindbergh baby). But with today’s dual availability of both blanket coverage and online discussion boards, this trial became that much more addictive.
Did you watch the trial? Why?