After more 33 days of testimony and years in the public eye, the verdict was announced this morning in the Casey Anthony case. Anthony, on trial for the murder of her 2 year old daughter in 2008, faced charges of first-degree murder, second-degree murder, manslaughter, third-degree felony murder, aggravated manslaughter of a child, aggravated child abuse and four counts of providing false information to a law enforcement officer. She has been acquitted of all charges of murder but found guilty of the false information charge. The ruling frees Anthony from facing the death penalty that, until today, seemed like a possible sentence.
With so many answers doled out, a question still remains. Why, among every murder trial, every news story, every issue in the world today… why did the Casey Anthony trial gather so much attention? The subject of dateline segments, 20/20 specials and more, Anthony’s case received an unprecedented amount of focus from the media. Especially given the circumstances, however grim or morose they may be, the story has managed to successfully captivate the media for the last three years. Has the Casey Anthony case deserved the amount of publicity it has received? Why is the public so fascinated with the drama of the courtroom?
Robert Thompson, trustee professor of television and popular culture at Syracuse University; author or editor of five books, including Television's Second Golden Age
Dorian Traube, assistant professor at USC’s School of Social Work