Nancy Grace, Ruling for The Viewer
Monday, June 27, 2005
Nancy Grace is our friend.
We feel like we know her when she squints into the camera and looks close to tears, imploring us to help her find yet one more in an endless string of beautiful, missing girls. ("Could. The girl. Be. Alive?" she'll say, with characteristic drama.) Or when she berates a defense attorney for having the gall to suggest that somebody she finds awfully suspicious might be innocent of a crime.
"Good night, friend," she says at the end of every "Nancy Grace" show, her breathy voice like warm milk. We sleep better knowing Grace is on our side.
"I'm on a search for the truth," she says during a recent visit to the District to promote her new book, "Objection!," in which the former prosecutor calls defense attorneys "dangerous" and compares them to pigs. The way Grace sees it, prosecutors want to do what's right, whereas defense attorneys are unethical and just want to win. She'd never cross over to what she calls the "dark side" because "I don't really want to have any part of getting guilty people off."
Media critics have suggested that Grace, who anchors daily shows on CNN Headline News ("Nancy Grace") and Court TV ("Nancy Grace: Closing Arguments"), believes all suspects are guilty until proven innocent, but Grace says that's ridiculous. She's passionate about putting guilty people in jail, and it just so happens she doesn't need juries to tell her who those guilty people are.
The fans love her. They say Grace speaks her mind and seems really to care. At a book reading at Barnes & Noble in Bethesda, she tells the audience how "disgusted" she was when a jury acquitted Michael Jackson of sexual molestation charges earlier this month, and the audience of 250, dominated by middle-aged women, claps and cheers.
They ask questions: "Are you by any chance an Aries?"
And this, from an old woman, about Grace's guests: "I love it when they don't know what they're talking about and you go, ' What- ever.' "
They file into a long line for autographs and pictures. Grace crinkles her nose with pleasure and says, "Bless you" and "Oh, my stars!" and labels her fans "sweetie pie" and "pretty lady."
"My uncle's a defense attorney," says Madeline McCabe, 11. "I don't know what to do with him."
Grace calls her the "cutest thing."
Grace's disappointment with the Jackson acquittal goes beyond her belief that the pop star is guilty. Though she didn't actually sit in on the trial, she is convinced that the prosecution proved its case. That's why she blames the jurors for deciding the case wrong.