I have previously discussed my views about Nancy Grace and her genre of legal commentary. (here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here). This week Grace is being mocked for another controversial appearance on Good Morning America where she shouts “porn” repeatedly in an interview on the the Oscar Pistorius murder trial. She was appearing with ABC legal analyst Dan Abrams and appears upset that neither the anchor nor Abrams want to talk about porn as opposed to the developments in the case.
Grace interrupts Abrams who was making a comment on the trial record to say that Pistorius looked for porn just before the shooting of his girlfriend. Abrams has a look of utter bewilderment bordering on disgust as Grace yells “porn” over his voice when the two fail to immediately divert the segment into the more salacious detail. She then protests “I notice neither of you want to touch it with a ten-foot pole that he was up trolling the internet for porn just before he kills her, but I’ll save that for another day.”
The question is why Good Morning America continues to degrade legal coverage with such segments with Grace. The answer is clearly ratings and its shows the depths to which the show is willing to go to grab viewers. The result is not only diminishing the journalistic standing of ABC but to deny viewers an accurate account of the story. It is like inviting a comedian or contortionist to mock a reporter as he tries to explain a case.
The pathetic element to the show was not Grace who has long been dismissed by both lawyers and journalists. The pathetic element was Good Morning America striving to appeal to viewers who want to watch something akin to the WWF in legal coverage. Grace certainly has her fan base but so does Ted Nugent and Marilyn Manson. GMA appears intent on giving a murder trial the same level of serious reflection as one of its cooking segments. Indeed, the cooking segments are increasing looking like the more substantive elements to the show: they involve accurate, fact-based presentations of the subject. Few cooking guests are seen screaming “porn, porn” over the rising pop tarts. When it comes to an alleged murder however GMA brings in a media menagerie. What is truly remarkable is that the anchors actually laugh at Grace with a type of “Oh Gilligan, there you go again” response. The anchor notes that they would much prefer to “go to the weather” — as a backhand to the level of discourse. This was their chosen guest but they treat Grace as if she just walked off the street with a placard reading “The World is Coming to An End and Pistorius Watches Porn.”
In reality, GMA wants to pretend that it is above Grace’s type of graffiti commentary while shamelessly trying to appear her dubious fan base: