CNN's Nancy Grace Under Fire Online
An Egyptian man cast his vote during the second day of presidential elections in the Mataraya neighborhood of Cairo, Egypt, Thursday, May 24, 2012. In a wide-open race that will define the nation's future political course, Egyptians voted Thursday on the second day of a landmark presidential election that will produce a successor to longtime authoritarian ruler Hosni Mubarak. (AP Photo/Frederik Persson) / Fredrik Persson
CNN's Nancy Grace is sparking a firestorm of criticism in the blogosphere over the way she questioned Melinda Duckett, the mother of a missing boy. Duckett shot herself to death, a day after she was grilled by Grace. Plus, bloggers have much to say about former New Jersey Gov. Jim McGreevey's "Confession." And, Illinois Sen. Barack Obama's trip to Iowa has bloggers abuzz. Find out why.
The State of Grace
The family of a missing Florida boy said CNN's Nancy Grace and others in the media helped push the child's mother over the edge. Investigators say Melinda Duckett shot herself to death the day after she was grilled by Grace in a telephone interview, and hours before the interview aired.
Did Grace go too far? She says no, but many bloggers think differently.
For some background, it all began when Duckett's 2-year-old son, Trenton, disappeared late last month. Duckett had said she found his crib empty one night. Investigators have been looking into Duckett's movements just before the boy vanished. In the CNN Headline News interview, Grace grilled Duckett, at one point demanding to know, "Why aren't you telling us where you were that day?"
Many bloggers say Grace's unrelenting questions may have gone too far. "…Maybe when someone is as emotionally fragile as Melinda was, it's probably not a good idea to tear into her on national television," AowL blogs. "It was like watching one of those Law & Order-type shows where she was trying to pull a confession out of a hostile witness."
Others say that's typical Grace fare. "The few times I've watched Grace, I've found her whole act pretty tasteless," a blogger at News From Me writes. "She seems to operate off the premise that a person who's under suspicion of a crime is probably guilty and once they're arrested, you can remove that bothersome 'probably' qualifier and get on with the sentencing."
Fat Doctor agrees, and echoes the sentiment of some bloggers who says they will no longer watch Grace's program. "I used to really like Nancy Grace. Now, I'm not so sure I can stomach her anymore," Fat Doctor writes.
But Slate's Dahlia Lithwick says emphatically that Grace isn't responsible for Duckett's death. However, she says Grace's show raises a larger issue. "Nancy Grace didn't kill Melinda Duckett, but she is aiding and abetting the death of public confidence in the law," Lithwick writes. "Grace dresses like a lawyer and talks like one, but the only thing she seems to feel for the court system is contempt."
Amsterdam Man agrees television programs such as Grace's are not helping society. "When nothing is 'sacred'; when nothing commands a token of respect any longer; when life is cheapened to a greater concern for ratings on a TV or the internet or even merely in ones social circle, ladies and gentlemen the bell is tolling ..." he writes on MySpace.
As "The Confession," the autobiography of former New Jersey Gov. Jim McGreevey, officially hit bookshelves on Tuesday, he was already being pelted with criticism in the blogosphere.
As you may recall, McGreevey resigned in a nationally televised announcement in August 2004, with his wife by his side, declaring, "I am a gay American." At the time of Mr. McGreevey's resignation, lawyers for the governor said Golan Cipel, New Jersey's homeland security adviser, was threatening to file a sexual harassment lawsuit.
McGreevey's publisher had hoped that people would view his story as an inspirational tale about the virtues of honesty and self-awareness, the New York Times reported. You can read excerpts here and judge for yourself. But, so far, many bloggers are far from sympathetic.
Some bloggers say McGreevey stands out among corrupt politicians. "NJ has a long and illustrious history of corrupt and criminal politicians but, Mr. McGreevey ranks as one of the worst. Let me be clear, it's not his homosexuality that is troubling but the narcissism that counted everyone but himself far down the list of importance," Jerry at Common Sense and Wonder writes.
Juan Galis-Menendez agrees. "People's sexual lives are not the state's business, but putting your 'main squeeze' on the public payroll for a six figure salary, so you can have little 'afternoon delight' whenever you want it, that's not so cool," he writes at Critical Vision.
Others lament that McGreevey's words will reflect poorly on the gay community. "Jim McGreevey makes me sick. He's using our community for all it's worth, and making us all look like creeps," Jeege writes. "The faster he gets out of the news, the better for all of us."
But others were more understanding of McGreevey's actions. "This is what happens when you feel you cannot be true to yourself. There's a domino effect of bad choices and broken hearts," Letters From Bobby Rivers writes.
Obama Watch Starts Up, Again
Never mind the rampant Hillary speculation out there, thoughts on whether Sen. Barack Obama is pondering a 2008 presidential bid have taken over the blogosphere this week after the Illinois Democrat hit Iowa this past weekend.
Adding to Sunday talk show fodder was that, as the Washington Post's The Fix first reported, Obama was accompanied by Steve Hildebrand, "considered one of the major 'gets' for candidates eyeing the 2008 race." Hildebrand is extremely skilled as a field organizer and campaign manager. As the Post notes, in 2000, Hildebrand managed Vice President Al Gore's Iowa caucus victory over New Jersey Sen. Bill Bradley. Four years earlier he ran the Midwest for the Clinton-Gore reelection effort.
Hildebrand hasn't signed on, but calls Obama a "star." And he may have a point. As The New York Times' Caucus blog notes, Obama was followed like a rock star on his recent trip to Africa.
"I'm honored to be joining Senator Obama in Iowa at the Harkin Steak Fry," Hildebrand said. "With a record crowd in attendance, the more than 2,000 Iowa Democrats will get a real treat when they hear from the biggest star in American politics."
Some bloggers say it's Obama's celebrity Democrats are after. "It's probably worth adding that organizers sold more tickets to this year's steak fry than ever before, suggesting, once again, that Obama has real star power," Steve Benen at The Carpetbagger Report adds. "I still think it's unlikely, but I'll be curious to see if this talk continues, and what effect, if any, it has on Obama."
Others are more certain. "This solidifies Obama's position as at least a Veep hopeful in '08," The Sun State Activist writes at Political Buzz.
And, if the Iowa trip was not sufficiently fueling speculation, Obama's one-time rival for his Senate seat, Illinois State comptroller Dan Hynes, "wants him to run for president in 2008," the Chicago Sun-Times reported. The newspaper says that "in a letter, Hynes urged Obama to run and said the advice was 'deliberately timed' to coincide with the senator's trip to Iowa."
Intriguing, perhaps, but not all pundits are sure this translates into a 2008 presidential run for Obama. "To me, this indicates that Obama is seriously looking at how to build infrastructure and momentum in Iowa," a blogger at Political Forecast writes. "I don't think he'll decide to run in 2008 but he'll use Hildebrand's advice and discussion to groom folks for a potential 2012 or 2016 run."
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By Melissa McNamara