The saga of Casey Anthony accused of killing her two year old daughter
Caylee is reaching its peak now: Florida has made its case accusing the mother, closing arguments begin to day — and Headline News with a little help from the trial and Nancy Grave has seen its ratings skyrocket.
Here’s a CNN report nicely capturing Florida’s case against Casey:
Anthony faces seven counts, including first-degree murder, aggravated child abuse and misleading police.
According to court spokeswoman Karen Connolly Levey, the jury members will deliberate through the July 4 holiday, assuming a quick verdict is not reached.
….If Casey Anthony is convicted of murder, the prosecution has signaled that it plans seek the death penalty against her.
Anthony has pleaded not guilty to all charges, and denies harming her daughter.
The Anthony trial has lived up to the intense pre-trial hype and drama, beginning six weeks ago with her lawyer’s opening statements alleging that Anthony’s father — George Anthony, who was Caylee’s grandfather — helped to cover up that the girl accidentally died in the family pool.
Prosecutors have denied that claim, as has George Anthony himself on the stand.
Rather, they say that the Orlando woman rendered Caylee unconscious with chloroform, duct-taped her mouth and nose, and stored the child’s body in her car trunk for a few days before dumping it in the woods.
A utility worker found the girl’s skeletal remains in December 2008, six months after the last sighting, in a wooded area near her grandparent’s home.
By then, her mother had already been charged in her death.
Though Anthony didn’t take the stand during the trial, her lawyers worked to question the depth and validity of the prosecution’s case and raise doubts about her father.
They claimed the father began sexually abusing his daughter at age 8. They also said the father panicked upon finding Caylee dead and told Anthony her mother would never forgive her.
Meanwhile, the case has provided a major boost to Headline News, which has made gavel to gavel coverage of trial its baby. The Huffington Post’s Reese Schonfeld:
It was Harry Cohn, boss of Columbia Pictures, who said “give the people what they want, and they’ll come out for it.” Now they can stay in and watch it. And what they watched in June is the Casey Anthony trial. For the first time ever, to my knowledge, Headline News (HLN) beat CNN in total audience and in every demographic category.
When Headline news was originally conceived, it was aimed at the “tabloid” audience, while CNN itself was supposed to be serious journalism aimed at people who read the New York Times, the LA Times or the Washington Post. It never quite worked out that way, and for the last twenty-five years, HLN has limped along, trailing all the other 24-hour news networks. Now, thanks to Nancy Grace and Casey Anthony, Headline News trailed only Fox in total audience and winning all the demographics except MSNBC in primetime. In other words, Headline beat at least two of its competitors in every single audience measurement this month.
Headline News ordinarily ranks in the “forties” among the ninety plus cable networks measured by Nielsen. Last month, it ranked twenty-first in total programming day, and twenty-second in primetime. It nearly doubled its audience in both categories.
Joe Gandelman is a former fulltime journalist who freelanced in India, Spain, Bangladesh and Cypress writing for publications such as the Christian Science Monitor and Newsweek. He also did radio reports from Madrid for NPR’s All Things Considered. He has worked on two U.S. newspapers and quit the news biz in 1990 to go into entertainment. He also has written for The Week and several online publications, did a column for Cagle Cartoons Syndicate and has appeared on CNN.