“News and Analysis”


Crime victim advocacy titan Susan Murphy Milano just posted her thoughts on the Casey Anthony trial on the Time’s Up blog, http://timesupblog.blogspot.com/2011/07/in-court-of-public-opinion-verdict-is.html.

Her post got me on my soapbox because I’m so sick of seeing coverage that forever cements the names of suspects in our minds while forgetting who the victims are. I would like to see several homicide cases I know of featured in the media so that the cases can be closed or the perpetrators are brought to justice, but the chances of getting those on TV is slim given the prolonged coverage of the mere handful of cases featured already.

Susan’s article is a timely and welcome read. My comment on her post is below. I realize that some people who watch these shows already advocate for crime victims; I’m addressing those who don’t.


Susan, I am so glad to see a frank analysis of the useless sensationalism and selective coverage provided by so-called news shows.

I have been continually disgusted with shows that seem to feature 24/7 coverage of a particular case, the screen plastered with red “breaking news” banners and proclamations of new and startling evidence. It’s almost as bad as the SNL skit about such excessive graphics.

As you pointed out, imagine how many other missing and endangered people could be helped by TV shows, especially people who are still alive. Instead, they make a handful of cases into white knuckle soap operas, creating addicts out of intelligent people who could be getting involved in victim advocacy themselves.

Being glued to the TV to hear sharp-tongued critics make grandiose and attention-seeking claims does not achieve justice for the victims. It achieves what you said, ratings. Cha-ching. And I have noticed that they focus on victims who, as horrible as this will sound, have mass appeal. Offhand I don’t recall seeing national furor over a visibly disabled child or an overweight middle-aged woman even though their lives are every precious bit as valuable as others’. You’re spot on; networks know what sells.

I’m not saying that people should stop watching these shows altogether, but if they are truly concerned about missing children, human trafficking, sexual assault, and the other horrors our fellow human beings suffer, they should take that passion and emotion and put it to a productive use.

Write letters to the editor. Blog. Volunteer at a shelter. Be a shoulder for a domestic violence victim to lean on– we all know one. Work with children with special needs. Work on your parenting skills. Analyze and remedy the problems in your own family that can lead to pathological behavior and worse. There is always a way to get involved at some level.

We need to start achieving justice for others and stop enabling the networks to keep dwelling on a select few crimes whose victims may actually be hindered, not helped, by the frantic, frequently subjective, nonstop coverage of their cases while others suffer in silence.

To your post, Susan, I add a hearty amen!


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