I remember when HLN was sort of a trimmed-down version of CNN. They would run most of the stories, albeit much shortened versions of them, and they’d repeat or update their programming in half-hour slots. They never covered anything in depth, but their mere existence was to provide a broadcast equivalent of USA Today, America’s cartoon newspaper. As a straight print journalist, I won’t say those were HLN’s best days, but, well… OK, those were HLN’s best days. USA Today sucks, the original HLN sucks, and their present iterations all suck. And in greater measure than in the past.
On another front, we had CourtTV, an innovation that started more as a smaller-scale C-SPAN network. Now, CourtTV has devolved into TruTV, which broadcasts the so-called reality shows over and over again ad nauseum, and barely covers any live news. And a new HLN was born as well, utilizing the most sensational hosts, discussing the most sensational topics, and basically raking in the dough by playing to people’s collective fear, hatred, and need to feel superior to someone in the public spotlight.
Trials were covered, and fairly impartially if I recall, by CourtTV, which is now obsolete, but their anchors weren’t “star personalities” of television-land, they weren’t psychological analysts with BIG problems of their own, and they didn’t appear on Dancing With The Stars. In fact, since the Nancy Grace nip-slip on DWTS, those initials now mean “Dancing With Tits Showing.”
But Nancy Grace isn’t the only talking fat-head leading the rabble. Vinnie Politan, a former prosecutor in Bergen County, NJ, is equally snarky and distasteful, and between the two of them, they make a good duo in what seems like a national campaign of blood lust. Adding fuel to the fire is Joey Jackson, who sounds almost exactly like Jerry Lewis. In character. And sometimes Jackson makes less sense than Jerry Lewis as well.
During the trial I’ve watched the WPTV stream, without any commentary whatsoever, and that’s what I want to hear. I want to be able to judge the case for myself without hearing what these idiots have to say on commercial television, cable or otherwise. It’s only now, that the trial is over, that I click over to HLN’s stream to see what the less-educated “Joe the Plumber” on the street is watching. And it’s sad.
In the Arias case, there are mitigating factors. Not all eight reasons Jennifer Wilmott put forward. The fact that Arias was 27 when she killed Alexander is irrelevant. The fact that she had and still has dissociative personality disorder, however, is crucial information, and that must be taken into account by the jury, because it exacerbated her vulnerability. In fact, it created and broadcast her vulnerability to any man who came close enough to her to sense it.
Travis Alexander came close enough to sense it. He started overstepping her boundaries from the moment they met, because her vulnerability gave way to his predatory instinct. Whereas his various Mormon female friends may have thought he was a virgin, ALL of his male friends, Mormon or not, knew Travis was a pussy-hound.
This too is a mitigating factor in Jodi Arias’ favor. As is her feeling of low self-worth. She doesn’t project that in the courtroom or in her many TV interviews, but instead she portrays herself as she wishes she were: stable, ruminative, confident, and professional. It’s part of her untreated mental illness.
It would be nice if she were given the services of a psychiatrist, or a team of psychiatrists while in prison; she might actually come out – not unscathed – but certainly not as scarred as she is now, and somewhat healed. Her psychological wounds are as gaping as Travis Alexander’s neck wound. Some people have failed to appreciate that because they’re faced with shit like HLN’s talking fat-heads, but with the blatantly sensational imagery so prominently and almost joyfully featured on their website.
HLN’s credibility took a big hit when Casey Anthony was judged not guilty, and they’re setting themselves up for another hit by putting all their chips on a death penalty verdict. Personally, I hope they lose their shirts. Except for Nancy Grace. From her I’ve seen and heard enough.