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The Ongoing [Public Media] Trial of Casey Anthony By Robin Barnes

 Casey Anthony is the current poster girl of Bad Mother Fame: portrayed as a narcissistic and heartless bitch who may very well have orchestrated the murder of her toddler daughter.  In contrast, men convicted of murdering their children evoke pity and their crimes go quietly under-reported.  According to Professor Jack Levin, there are 10 murder-suicides a week in the United States.” The profile of a family annihilator is a middle-aged man, a good provider who would appear to neighbors to be a dedicated husband and a devoted father.”  In truth, the most significant factors driving these men are family break-up, male sexual jealousy, a need to be in control and extreme possessiveness.  Chris Milroy, a forensic pathologist at the Forensic Science Service who studies murder-suicides, says that “When men kill their children there tends to be revenge in the equation. It’s like they’re saying, ‘If I can’t have them, no one can.'”  Much less than a spontaneous act of passion driven by despair, these killings resemble meticulously planned executions.

 Women accused in the disappearance of their kids no matter the reason, become an instant obsession of public media and targets of the blogosphere.  While media coverage is often sparse when men kill their kids, there is a noticeable proclivity in those cases to focus extensively on how the wife or mother’s behavior was a trigger for the crime.

 Ms. Anthony’s daughter went missing in mid- 2008 and the child’s dead body discovered later that year.  By all accounts the evidence against her was circumstantial.  It was the media frenzy surrounding this case which fortified those inferences by holding Anthony’s social behavior, both before and after her child was missing, under a high powered microscope.  The public sentiment is that Ms. Anthony has not behaved as a mother would or should was enough to convict in the minds of most bloggers.  According to one: “She partied and stayed at her new boyfriend house almost every night” a month after the child disappeared.  Anthony’s entire family was defamed in the process, implicating the grandmother as the controlling matriarch who raised the heartless child-murderer.  

 Nearing the end of her current probation, after being acquitted of murder but convicted of obstruction of justice, Anthony suffered a privacy breach of the same magnitude as the phone hacking scandal in the UK that led to the arrest of several high profile News of the World editors.  The 4 minute video released this week was produced for private use.  Yet, major media outlets continue to focus upon her appearance, whether the video provides clues as to her whereabouts, her failure to mention the toddler’s name, her obsessive focus upon herself, and speculation that she is gearing up to profit from the celebrity persona that they created.

 Major news outlets hastily confirmed that it was Anthony on camera.  The real question is how much time, energy and resources will these same outlets spend investigating the status of the presumably ongoing criminal investigation into the toddlers disappearance or informing the public as to whether Anthony’s acquittal means that police are obligated to continue the search.  How about a documentary or extended report on the role of politics in this made for TV criminal case?  A prosecutor in the Casey Anthony trial recently announced he will run for the state attorney’s office in Florida.

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