The Radio Equalizer: Brian Maloney

22 May 2005

Liberals Worried About CNN-HN Host

Is This Woman The Devil?

Nancy Grace Accused Of "Mob Justice" By Liberals


Is the woman who single-handedly saved CNN's Headline News from oblivion also a major threat to the left?

Judging by host Nancy Grace's recent press, it's clear that with ratings success, comes savage scrutiny from liberals. But is it fair?

A new San Francisco Chronicle column, discussed below, is so vitriolic, it deserves special attention from conservatives. They'd have you believe she's the devil, if only they believed in such a concept.

But first, how did she get to this point?

nancygrace
Until encountering these stories, the Radio Equalizer hadn't pondered Grace's impact, other than to note her very impressive audience performance. It never seemed entirely obvious whether she was liberal or conservative, but she clearly leans toward the prosecution, reflecting her background.

I'd imagine Grace's viewers are drawn to the topical immediacy and advocacy of real justice for criminals and victims. Her own life story is especially compelling: 25 years ago, her fiancee was murdered at work, by criminals looking for money.

Primetime ratings have doubled since her arrival and overall CNN-HN numbers have shown major gains. Best of all, she appeals to the 25-54 adult demographic, the same group talk radio has been flushing down the toilet.

HN's numbers were so low before Grace began to anchor the
former 24-7 newswheel station's first primetime talkshow venture, that it really was safe to question the channel's future viability.

I see her as cable talk's future, along with Jim Cramer's "Mad Money" on CNBC. They've borrowed a page from talk radio's earlier playbook, which is to let the hosts be themselves and take TV's rigid rules away. Go for it, put yourself out there, take a risk.

The end result is rough around the edges and refreshing. Personally, I find Grace's style a bit strange, she does sometimes seem possessed and there are complaints about a tendency to dwell on irrelevant tangents. But her entertainment value is hard to dispute.

I'm also convinced it takes the kind of life experiences Grace has faced, to really have the fire in one's belly that pulls this off every night. That's where the passion comes from to be more than a talking head. To me, this is the recipe for becoming a compelling host that can draw a regular audience.

It would be a grave error were CNN suits to force her to tone it down. When it's working, leave it the heck alone.

The audience is there and that's what has liberals worried. I've noticed the same reasoning across various sites, just like yesterday's brutal San Francisco Chronicle skewering by Peter Hartlaub.

He called her program more like a "torch-bearing mob, than the 'legal-issues' show that CNN promised." Here's more:


Grace has created her own parallel universe in which guests are berated for advocating due process, panelists are invited back frequently if they make ad hominem attacks and suspects are seemingly guilty until proven innocent.

"I just wonder," Grace said on her April 7 program about Jackson, "how much money and how much celebrity does it take to make people totally ignore what's under their nose?"

"Talk about garbage and luggage in your past," she added a minute later. "There's Michael Jackson getting his star on the Walk of Fame. If I'm incorrect, correct me. But isn't that where he took his chimp as a date?"


Do San Francisco liberals have the same problem with the incessant criminal-coddling programming on other cable news channels, or on Air America? Of course not, so what's wrong with Grace's viewpoint?

Free speech for me, but not for thee?

As for the Jackson chimp comment, that's proof Grace is entertaining, a concept the uptight, stuffy left can't seem to grasp. Notice they're not complaining about Greta Van Susteren.

8 p.m. ET weekdays, replays 10 p.m. & 1 a.m. ET

Grace's negative press didn't start with the Chronicle piece, it's been building for some time, now becoming nasty and personal.

Earlier, the focus was more on her slant, such as this Althouse item from April (which includes part of a New Republic piece on Grace) and in this Howard Kurtz piece for the Washington Post:


Nancy Grace has pumped up both ratings and controversy. Ask Grace how she picks the stories for the legal program that bears her name and she launches into the tale of how her fiance was murdered 25 years ago, propelling her to law school, a job as a Georgia prosecutor and life as a victims' rights advocate. "Nothing has ever been the same since then," she says.

"I've been portrayed so many times as simply out for a conviction, always siding with the state, thinking everyone's guilty, I don't even listen anymore. I have never, ever pretended to be impartial, never. Frankly, I have no interest in being a robot that reads a prompter."

Grace's sympathies could not be clearer. When Robert Blake was acquitted of killing his wife, she said: "But where is the anger? Was the victim victimized again at trial? . . . In my mind it's a very dark day." When Scott Peterson was convicted of murdering his wife, she declared. "There is justice for Laci and Conner."


A week ago, Grace was slammed by LA Times columnist Tim Rutten almost as badly as in the new Chronicle hit piece:

There's something alarming about Nancy Grace, the preternaturally angry prosecutor turned television personality, who now fumes through a prime-time hour on CNN's stolid but usually respectable Headline News channel.

It isn't just the habitual snarl, the narrowed eyes or the improbably arched brows. It isn't the name-calling; God knows, that's become as ubiquitous a feature of cable news as that irritating crawl. It isn't even the sneer, though that deserves special attention as the rhetorical equivalent of a black hole, an aberration in the fabric of normality, where the awful weight of absolute certainty seems to overpower mere gravity.


In looking at recent coverage of Grace, I noticed a pattern of comparisons to Ann Coulter, which to me is a red alert to the left. Here's one (might not work with your browser) from Friday's Atlanta Journal-Constitution, just as mean as the Chronicle character-trashing.

Perhaps the media and lefty bloggers are taking their cues from liberal judges, who have had a fixation on Grace going back 15 years or more, when she was a Fulton County, Georgia prosecutor.

If leftists are this worked up over Nancy Grace, she must be doing something right. They wouldn't waste their time on an ineffective target they didn't think had potential to change minds.

For that reason, I'll be paying especially close attention to her. Updates will be provided here.


6 Comments:

  • Brian

    I'm waiting for that update about Air(head)America you promised this weekend. :)

    By Blogger RUMPLEMINTZ, at 22 May, 2005 19:42  

  • Still waiting............

    By Blogger RUMPLEMINTZ, at 22 May, 2005 22:37  

  • I'm as liberal as they come and not the least bit worried about Nancy Grace. But I do think she's boring and I don't like watching her show.

    Now since I am a liberal and don't like her show, does that mean I think she's a conservative or part of some conservative war on liberals? Well I don't watch Fear Factor or like that show either. Should we assume it is also part of a conservative conspiracy?

    What this thread is all about is simple - Brian Baloney and his ilk make their living stirring up the frenzy and widening the divide between right and left. Where no controversy exists, they try to build one.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 24 May, 2005 14:03  

  • Brian
    I liked your comments. Nancy Grace is my all time favorite. She will bring the ratings up without a doubt. She is doing a superb job. The best to the rest.

    By Blogger Claudia, at 06 June, 2005 12:37  

  • why is she trying to convict people in Aruba there laws are not ours

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 27 June, 2005 20:38  

  • i nancy is giving our tv time a bad name are'nt thy eought evil on tv already what about some good tv watching again instead of bad stuff all the time she gives me the creeps when i'm flipping channls

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 03 August, 2005 14:40  

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