Semiotic analysis of articles on nancy grace's coverage of the casey anthony trial - Essay Example

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One of the most overriding areas of consideration was the media’s handling of the trial. With the explosion of television news commentary, the trial was subject to media…
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Semiotic analysis of articles on nancy graces coverage of the casey anthony trial
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Semiotic Analysis The recent Casey Anthony murder trial opened a great variety of questions about the judicial process. One of the most overriding areas of consideration was the media’s handling of the trial. With the explosion of television news commentary, the trial was subject to media interpretation arguably even more than the seminal O.J. Simpson trial. At the trial’s conclusion Anthony defender Chaney Mason even derided the media’s opinionated coverage of the trial proceedings. This essay presents a semiotic analysis of articles on Nancy Graces coverage of the Casey Anthony trial.
In considering Nancy Grace’s coverage of the Casey Anthony murder trial commentators have resorted to a number of semiotic trends. One of the major indications is the signification of Grace as sensationalistic. In these regards, nearly all commentators identified Grace’s post-trial speech where she stated, “somewhere out there the devil is dancing tonight” (Williams). Commentators have also frequently indicated the characterization Grace has given the defendants, referring to Casey Anthony as ‘tot mom’. Grace is even argued to extend the truth to achieve this sensationalism. Williams notes, “She talks about speaking the truth, yet weaves elaborate fictions of a champagne-popping defense team” (Williams). In these regards, one of the primary significations of Grace’s commentary is the sensationalism that is implemented in her characterization of trial proceedings.
Another of the overriding media trends is the indication that Grace constitutes a sort of extra-jury form of commentary. Consider Bauder, who points out a lawyer who believes, “Grace has undermined respect for the jury system the way she has spoken out against the Anthony verdict. She said she’s worried that someone who disagrees with the verdict, whipped up by Grace’s disgust, will harm some of the jurors” (Bauder). In these regards, the signification of Grace as this sort meta-judicial participant imbues her with power that generally is not attributable to media commentators.
In addition to these earlier significations, Grace has also been signified going outside bounds of truth. Indeed, one of the consistent significations of Grace is as this ‘truth extender’. It seems the underlining signifier is that Grace extends the truth to achieve media ends and higher ratings for her cable commentary show. One such example of this is in the interview Grace gave to FOX News commentator Bill O’Reilly. While O’Reilly seemingly asks questions without an underlining agenda, the questions still reflect the signification of Grace as this truth extender. For instance, O’Reilly points out the series of individuals that have criticized Grace for being biased in her coverage (including Steven Brill who gave Grace her start in cable news). In addition, O’Reilly’s introductory question to Grace is, “First of all, do you think you went overboard at all on your coverage of the trial?” (O’Reilly). In these regards, O’Reilly acts as a sort of reflection of Grace criticisms, with the overriding signification being her overzealousness.
In conclusion, this essay has presented a semiotic analysis of articles on Nancy Graces coverage of the Casey Anthony trial. In these regards, the main significations are Grace’s sensationalism, Grace as an extra-judicial participant, and Grace as truth-extender. Ultimately, the collection of these characterizations come together to form a comprehensive, if not slightly slanted, portrait of the cable news commentator.
Bauder, David. (2011) ‘Anthony trial a showcase for HLN’s Nancy Grace’
O’Reilly, Bill. (2011) ‘Nancy Grace Defends Her Casey Anthony Coverage, Hits Back
at Critics’
Williams, Mary Elizabeth. (2011) ‘Nancy Grace knows more than a kooky jury’. Read More
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