This week, after watching two specific episodes of Nancy Grace, I was taken back to a period in time where the terms “Shock Jocks” and “Shock Radio” were in vogue.
For some reason, Howard Stern comes to my mind – even though I have never listened to him on the radio – but, I have seen him on television late at night where he carried some subject matter to extremes. Most of his “shock” effect had to do with sexual overtones and the conversations usually drifted well beyond double entendre’s – most of the conversations were blatantly vulgar – without someone thinking something like, “did I hear what I heard – or – did he really mean what he said?”
Usually, shock jocks on shock radio – now on television as well – say things for rating purposes, i.e. to make people tuning in to hear vulgar or insulting comments for their true shock effect.
Nancy Grace, has become in my estimation, a “Shock Entertainer”. She says she is there for justice and that she is there for the victims – wives, mothers, children – be it Casey Anthony or Laci Peterson and her unborn child or Susan Powell and her two boys.
I believe Nancy’s first mission is to obtain the highest ratings possible so as she can demand the highest salary possible.
She uses whatever she is necessary to seduce her viewers to coming back night after night after night.
Her shows are filled with bizarre editing to videos to entrance her audience – almost like she is trying to brainwash her viewers to sit in their recliners and stare and listen at the sensational manner in which she presents a given tragedy.
Nancy, in my opinion after watching hundreds of episodes, thrives on even shocking relatives of victims, bringing up detail about a given crime that could best be kept off the air – or at least not discussed during the actual interview.
One episode that comes to mind is an interview that Nancy Grace had with Elizabeth Smart, the lovely young girl who was abducted in 2002 from her home at knifepoint and kept a hostage for over 9 months.
Miss Smart wrote a book about her experience and now is an advocate for others who go through similar ordeals. She has even testified before Congress.
In 2009, Elizabeth Smart was quoted, regarding the abduction of Jaycee Lee Dugard, where she stressed that dwelling on the past is unproductive. Her position on dwelling on the past is quite clear – Elizabeth has worked through a lot of her tragic experience and she has chosen to focus on the future and she chooses to look forward and not to dwell on past experiences.
In 2006, Nancy Grace interviewed Elizabeth Smart, who was 16 at the time. Elizabeth was there to discuss her role as a advocate for kidnapped children and she made it clear that her personal experience was not her focus, yet Nancy Grace did her usual – when Nancy wants to pry something out of someone, she goes in a soft, quiet, interviewer, one who appears to care for the party being interviewed – then she “gently” pokes at her guest – asking a few probing questions and if she gets revealing answers, she continues asking more intimate questions – almost to the point of faulting the guest for not doing something to escape their abductors.
During the first volley of intimate probing questions, Elizabeth Smart spoke up for herself and gently and respectfully reminded Nancy that the purpose of her interview with Nancy was to support a Bill that was being considered in Congress and that she was not there to talk about specifics of what happened to her.
Nancy, on the other hand, did not think that Elizabeth could continue to stand up to Nancy, so Nancy kept trying to probe – hinting that Elizabeth, when in the car at a gas station, could have escaped.
When Nancy brought up the subject of how Elizabeth wore a burka to keep her face fairly hidden from others, Elizabeth spoke up again – she clearly told Nancy that she does not appreciate Nancy bringing all of this up.
Nancy, in a soft tacky response to Elizabeth’s comment said, “I am sorry dear, I thought that you would speak out to other victims, but you know what, a lot of victims don’t want to talk about it and don’t feel like talking about it.” Then she shifted to Senator Warren Hatch regarding the Bill.
Nancy’s response to Elizabeth, to me, was a put down – letting Elizabeth know that she expected her to speak out to other victims – that specific comment by Nancy made my blood boil.
Elizabeth Smart was victimized over and over by her abductors and again, Nancy was there as a “shock entertainer – interviewer” showing total disregard to this young lady who has been through so much.
For anyone who has not seen the Nancy Grace episode when she interviewed Elizabeth Smart, please use the link below and see for yourself how insensitive Nancy was with Elizabeth.
Fast forward 6 years and Nancy is doing the same disgusting kind of “shock” interviews but this time she is interviewing family members of Susan Cox Powell who went missing in 2009 under questionable circumstances.
Now, in 2012, Josh Powell, the husband of missing Susan Cox Powell, has recently murdered his two sons and committed suicide by burning down his own house.
Nancy, in her efforts to garner max viewer ship, using her clever “shock” interviewing techniques, obtained rare interviews with Denise Cox, Susan Cox Powell’s sister on Feb 7th and then the parents of Susan Cox Powell on Feb 8th.
I read about how Susan’s sons were murdered by her father when browsing the net on Tuesday and when I read about the boys being dowsed in gasoline and also how they were killed by a hatchet, I almost got sick to my stomach.
At that instant, I knew I had to watch Nancy that night because in my heart of hearts, I knew that Nancy was going to shift into her soft caring voice if she was interviewing anyone, it turned out to be Denise Cox – asking her the most intimate questions of her about how the boys died.
I find it disgusting that Nancy chose to go into detail about the gasoline and the hatchet – Denise Cox is still morning the disappearance and probable death of her sister Susan and now the death of her two nephews – she did not have to entertain or field questions from Nancy about the boys being doused in gasoline before they died – nor did she have to hear Nancy talk about the boys being attacked by their dad with a hatchet. In addition, while interviewing Denise, Nancy’s show has headlines at the bottom of the screen about the hatchet – so if Denise was watching the show while being interviewed, she had to look at the headline dealing with her nephews being dealt blows with a hatchet.
Nancy kept Denise on the phone while she also interviewed others – again talking about the gasoline and the hatchet and then Nancy got into different topics – almost questioning why Denise’s family, and the teachers of the boys did not insist that the police arrest Josh so that this last tragedy would not have occurred.
It is like that Nancy is always trying to point a finger at anyone and everyone in a way to chide them and show them how they might have taken action to prevent a tragedy.
As I said earlier, the next night, Wednesday, Nancy had Susan Cox Powell’s parents on the show. Just looking at them – sadness and pain in their faces – I waited for Nancy to rip this couples hearts open by talking about the hatchet.
Nancy was trying to determine if the boys died because of the blows administered by Josh with the hatchet killed them or if the cause of death was by inhaling smoke. To me, at that point in time it did not matter.
Nancy then told the grandparents that she read about a karate chop to the head and then went into an exhaustive discussion of the hatchet and why Josh chose to use it on his sons.
Grieving should have been paramount in Nancy’s mind – not ratings, not shock interviewing – these two loving parents of Susan Cox and grandparents of Susan Cox’s two sons have been grieving for several years and now they are grieving again and they should be consoled and not having to relive event after event and having to analyze each and every situation where it could have led to police arresting Josh so that this recent tragedy could not have taken place.
I tried to find links of both shows but I was unable to find any – if any of you can find the video of each show or the actual HLN rush transcripts, it might be worth your time to review each video or transcript.
Nancy Grace and Jane Velez-Mitchell are both implying that the 911-call responder somehow was not sensitive to the emergency call by the Social Worker in where she was calling to have police come to Josh Powell’s house to take custody of the children.
Responder’s have to analyze each 911 call and to quickly determine if what is going on is a true emergency and warrants emergency services dispatched.
These responders have a limited amount of services available and if they dispatch services to a situation that does not warrant such a response, those services will not be immediately available when they are needed.
On Nancy’s show where she was interviewing Susan Cox’s parents, Chuck and Judy Cox, Nancy started out by telling the parents that she intentionally did not start her live interview with them until all the 911 calls were played back on her show. She told them that she did not want them to have to hear the calls and that she did not want to pain them more – Yet during the show, after her comment, she continued to play the 911 calls – as if the Cox parents were now able to deal with the emotional nature of the calls.
Another “technique” Nancy does to help tear down any barriers between Nancy and those who are grieving is for Nancy to bring up the tragic death of her fiancé. Nancy does that so that those being interviewed can share Nancy’s pain and that will soften them up to discuss sensitive questions posed by Nancy.
Susan Cox’s parents should have not been kept on the phone for the entire show – yet Nancy wanted to keep going back to them after she shifted gears to other experts and professionals and that gave her new topics to discuss with the parents.
These grieving parents/grandparents did not have to rehash the relationship between Josh and Susan and then Susan’s disappearance and ultimately the death of their two grandchildren – a 10 minute segment with them should have been enough. If they wanted to be guests on a future show that would have been nice – but this week – they needed to focus on burying their grandchildren and dealing with the emotional impact of how these kids died.
Nancy, these loving grandparents could have put you in your place, but they chose not to do so because they are wonderful, caring, loving people. Many of your questions went back to the beginning of the relationship between Susan and Josh and had no place on last night’s show.
Nancy, holding a kleenix tissue in your hand and having a soft emotional wavering in your voice is no excuse for you to continuing to ask question after question of these grieving loving people.
In closing, shame on you Nancy for how you performed both of these interviews. If your network was not so focused on ratings, they should have suspended you without pay for your insensitivity.