Casey Anthony trial got more media attention than any GOP presidential candidate

posted at 11:40 am on July 6, 2011 by Ed Morrissey

Here at Hot Air, we have had a total of five mentions (in the posts sections, anyway) of the Casey Anthony trial since it began.  Three of those came yesterday, and the other two were tangential mentions on posts dealing with media issues.  For the national media, though, the Casey Anthony trial swamped out most other stories, including such minor topics as, er, who will lead the nation.  Eric Ostermeier at Smart Politics researched Lexis-Nexis for the period between the start of the trial and its conclusion yesterday and found that more media attention fell on Anthony than any Republican candidate for the presidential nomination:

While it is no secret that the American media has over-covered and sensationalized the Casey Anthony murder trial in Orlando, Florida, the extent to which the trial has crowded out the Republican presidential nomination campaign may not be evident, particularly for those who cover politics every day.

A Smart Politics study of Lexis-Nexis transcripts from CNN, FOX, MSNBC, ABC, CBS, and NPR found more news reports mentioned the Casey Anthony trial at least one time than any of the 10+ major and minor Republican presidential candidates since opening statements were delivered on May 24th.

The Anthony murder case was covered in 899 reports overall, with Mitt Romney mentioned in 764, followed by Michele Bachmann at 609, Tim Pawlenty at 454, Newt Gingrich at 438, and Herman Cain at 321.

Trailing further behind were 2012 newcomers and long-shot Republican candidates Jon Huntsman at 299 reports, Ron Paul at 269, Rick Santorum at 251, Thad McCotter at 30, Gary Johnson at 19, and Buddy Roemer at one.

Not surprisingly, CNN came in first place in the Casey sweepstakes, with a whopping 567 reports, including those at its sister channel HLN, which covered the trial live.  CNN had more invested in promoting the trial as a news story.  Remember this when media outlets try to argue that there is a “firewall” between news reporting and editorial and sales groups.  ABC finished second with 173 reports in the 42-day period, and Fox got the bronze medal with 122.

Remarkably, MSNBC only had one news report on the Casey Anthony trial, although Eric adds a caveat that MSNBC doesn’t make its weekend transcripts available through Lexis-Nexis as other media outlets do.  That’s a rare showing of journalistic restraint for the “Lean Forward” channel.

As for the non-candidates in the race, they don’t do much better, even though they have received plenty of attention.  Sarah Palin only got 721 mentions in 42 days (“only”!), which puts her just behind Romney but ahead of everyone else — and well below the Casey Anthony story.  Rick Perry edged Jon Huntsman at 301.

Yesterday, we heard from a number of commenters and readers about their frustration with the blanket coverage of the trial.  The numbers show that they have a point, and that the national media has a problem with its priorities.

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And she’s not even a celebrity … or at least she wasn’t. I bet she gets her own reality show over this.

Tony737 on July 6, 2011 at 11:45 AM

I was barely following it and I’m ALREADY tired of it.
I’m sorry the cute little one was mostly likely murdered by her mother who got off-but enough.
*I’m not speaking of this post-I’m speaking of the coverage elsewhere and peoples(including my son) obsession with it.)

annoyinglittletwerp on July 6, 2011 at 11:46 AM

….MSNBC doesn’t make its weekend transcripts available through Lexis-Nexis as other media outlets do. That’s a rare showing of journalistic restraint for the “Lean Forward” channel.

I prefer to think of them as the “BOHICA” channel, as in Bend Over! Here It Comes Again!

pilamaye on July 6, 2011 at 11:46 AM


Here at Hot Air, we have had a total of five mentions (in the posts sections, anyway) of the Casey Anthony trial since it began.

Yes, our little sanctuary, thank you HotAir!

Tony737 on July 6, 2011 at 11:48 AM

The public will tune in to what it wants to see. And, frankly, except for us junkies, politics is on the back burner for at least another six months to a year before the majority of the American public needs to think about who they want to be president.

So it’s not really a bad thing at this point. The public’s fickle attention will be on whatever grabs it best until it has to be focused on the presidential race. (Which is way too long now.)

Tennman on July 6, 2011 at 11:48 AM

Calm down. If you add the mentions of each candidate the campaign got considerably more coverage than the trial.

cartooner on July 6, 2011 at 11:48 AM

Well, what do you think is better for ratings? Casey Anthony or Mittens vs. Pawlenty?

Doughboy on July 6, 2011 at 11:49 AM

To be fair, even if it was somehow possible to give each candidate the media attention Casey Anthony received your television would probably explode.

jhffmn on July 6, 2011 at 11:50 AM

Yes, our little sanctuary, thank you HotAir!

Tony737 on July 6, 2011 at 11:48 AM

My son arrives in Lubbock this evening and he will be told that Chez Mom and Step-Dad is a Caylee-free zone.
Sometimes love needs to be tough. LoL

annoyinglittletwerp on July 6, 2011 at 11:52 AM

I get most of my news online, so, I managed to escape ubiquitous coverage of the trial. I did, however, follow the case as it unfolded years ago and knew that POS excuse of a mother was guilty, so I do agree that the verdict is pretty egregious.

The TV news will naturally cover the sensational. To avoid predictably tabloidisized (is that a word?) news, stick to internet sources. Options galore! :)

Bee on July 6, 2011 at 11:52 AM

I didn’t even know Casey Anthony is a woman until I saw her picture yesterday at Hotair. Sarah Palin would love how little attention I pay to the “lamestream media”.

thuja on July 6, 2011 at 11:54 AM

Eric Ostermeier is going under the bus in 5…4….3….

Knucklehead on July 6, 2011 at 11:54 AM

Until yesterday, I couldn’t even have told you who she was. I take it she was a popular topic among those who actually turn on their TVs?

MNHawk on July 6, 2011 at 11:55 AM

I guess Romney or Huntsman need to get away with murder to get some press?

http://www.bit.ly/CaseyAnthony <– haters gonna hate?

Drunk Report on July 6, 2011 at 11:55 AM

Yeah, but look at the comment count on the CA stories from yesterday.

Idiots, here and everywhere, would rather pay attention to that as it takes almost no thought and is emotionally cathartic.

Media isn’t dumb. Evil, maybe, but not dumb. They know how to get the rubes to watch.

Aquateen Hungerforce on July 6, 2011 at 11:56 AM

Sorry to dissapoint many here but I don’t need wall-to-wall coverage of Presidential Candidates 17 months before the election. I don’t see what I needed to hear that was so eye-popping that hearing the Casey ANthony verdict diverted my attention from important political news. Here’s another shocker I might take some hours off the Presidential races to watch the Super Bowl and maybe some other things. I realize this makes me a bad citizen but I will try and keep up with thre breakneck happenings in politics that need my constant attention. I guess I am saying calm down about this trial coverage and any other non-political stories.

Conan on July 6, 2011 at 11:58 AM

Our society has become obsessed with tabloid smut.

More people can name “The Situation” guy from Jersey Shore than the Vice President.

More people can name Paris Hilton than Medal of Honor Recipient Sal Giunta.

Tony737 on July 6, 2011 at 11:58 AM

Hot Air continues to post about the Casey Anthony trial. Clearly it is not yet safe to tune in cable/broadcast news.

exdeadhead on July 6, 2011 at 12:01 PM

And for one more tangential question…

Were the MSM tougher on Anthony or Bachmann?

Drained Brain on July 6, 2011 at 12:03 PM

So we know how often the case has been mentioned, did it effect ratings? We tend to leave FOX on but have been changing the channel continuously since the story seems to be wall to wall. I bet Mike & Mike’s ratings on ESPN have gone up.

Cindy Munford on July 6, 2011 at 12:03 PM

It’s a good thing the media was prevented from smearing the GOP for a few weeks.

faraway on July 6, 2011 at 12:05 PM

As the screen cap says – “Priorities”

It’s about how we as a society raise our kids.

The right way to bring up an American child, in just 26 seconds …

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ehvdKlsTqCk

Tony737 on July 6, 2011 at 12:06 PM

Tony737 on July 6, 2011 at 12:06 PM

What a beautiful and intelligent child. You must be so proud. Good job.

Cindy Munford on July 6, 2011 at 12:10 PM

Florida couldn’t get the 2000 election right either….life is cheap in Florida, especially if your a female toddler. Time served. Why was there so many eyeballs? People have daughters people have grand daughters. Simple they could relate. Given the backlash to the jury verdict, they couldn’t relate to the jury.

Dr Evil on July 6, 2011 at 12:12 PM

Till now, politicians set the standard for egregious lying, but now there is a new champion. This woman obviously killed the baby and chunked her into the woods, and anyone with half a brain knows it. What captured so much attention was to see if the court system would reward that lying, and it did. Convoluted jury instructions snuffed out any modicum of common sense. it is the court system’s answer to political correctness. The war on common sense goes on.

This same contorted denial nonsense is what fuels liberal politics too, so I guess the liberals are dancing in a line dance with the devil today.

“Right becomes wrong and left becomes right”. Our country’s richeous might is on the ropes thanks to our lawmakers.

saiga on July 6, 2011 at 12:12 PM

“Of couse she got more coverage! She’s more important than ANY Republican…
/OLM (Old Liberal Media)

Khun Joe on July 6, 2011 at 12:18 PM

Cindy Munford on July 6, 2011 at 12:10 PM

Thank you, yes I am very proud of her! :-)

Tony737 on July 6, 2011 at 12:19 PM

The public will tune in to what it wants to see. And, frankly, except for us junkies, politics is on the back burner for at least another six months to a year before the majority of the American public needs to think about who they want to be president.

The public also likes whodunits, and maybe lots of them were hoping (in vain) that Casey Anthony got her just desserts. There’s also a perverse attraction for villains…why did more people watch Levi Johnston than Sarah Palin?

Steve Z on July 6, 2011 at 12:19 PM

The lame stream media is all a-flutter over this verdict. “Oh the horror, this poor innocent child…”
This pains me no end as for decades now the lefty LSM has been screaming non-stop for complete and unfettered access to baby killing clinics.
Puh-Leeeze!

eyesky on July 6, 2011 at 12:22 PM

In that picture, she looks like that psychotic actress Sean Young.

Ward Cleaver on July 6, 2011 at 12:23 PM

Well, aren’t you special. ;->

Personally, I didn’t pay any attention to it whatsoever until about 2 weeks ago, when I started watching the trial. The verdict is breathtaking; for these jurors, ANY doubt constituted “reasonable” doubt. Circumstantial evidence is the cornerstone of our legal system and has been for 2 centuries +. The circumstantial evidence in this case was extraordinarily strong–what mother suffocates her child with duct tape, then hides her for 31 days, goes partying, gets tattoos, lies to her family, the police and everyone else about where her daughter was, while her daughter lies rotting in first her car, then a swamp near her home?

A guilty mother, that’s who.

But hey, you didn’t pay any attention to it, so the award for depraved indifference is yours by unanimous consent!

Don’t worry, be happy. There will be more little Caylee Anthony’s. Why? Because now sociopathic parents know how to do it, and get away with it.
They’ll see Casey Anthony getting RICH AND FAMOUS for murdering her 2 year old, and in this “celebrity besotted” culture, they’ll want what Casey’s got: Bella Vita!!

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2011620/Casey-Anthony-verdict-Not-guilty-mother-make-fortune-media-interviews.html

mountainaires on July 6, 2011 at 12:24 PM

Yes, it did, because our society is full of blithering IDIOTS.

tx2654 on July 6, 2011 at 12:27 PM

Did I fall into a time warp without knowing?

Unless we’re a whole lot closer to the election than I think we are, there’s no reason for everyone’s t.v. coverage to be wall-to-wall Republican potential presidential candidates.

There’s also no reason for it to be wall-to-wall Casey Anthony either, but, at least that was present news.

Speculating over whether or not this person or that person will announce and whether or not it’s too late for this person to get into Iowa or if that person will get New Hampshire unless this person joins the race isn’t that excited to people that aren’t political junkies.

Now, I find it a whole lot more exciting that the CA trial, but, that’s why I come to specialized blogs that focus on politics.

JadeNYU on July 6, 2011 at 12:27 PM

Oh, for Pete’s sake – is it really a surprise that the media tends toward sensationalistic stories? And even though I love Thad McCotter – should the media be following the Republican primary with useless speculation and character assassinations on the ones we already have? No, thank you.

Queen0fCups on July 6, 2011 at 12:31 PM

The jury didn’t want to speak with the press after the verdict because they are busy signing with agents for books etc.

rjoco1 on July 6, 2011 at 12:32 PM

Cindy Munford on July 6, 2011 at 12:10 PM

Thank you, yes I am very proud of her! :-)

Tony737 on July 6, 2011 at 12:19 PM

What an intelligent little adorable angel!

Now I’m off to Google Robert Miller. LoL

annoyinglittletwerp on July 6, 2011 at 12:41 PM

The jury didn’t want to speak with the press after the verdict because they are busy signing with agents for books etc.

rjoco1 on July 6, 2011 at 12:32 PM

In the old days, this jury would face a firing squad. The abandonment of common sense is epic. I miss the good old days.

saiga on July 6, 2011 at 12:43 PM

Meet Robert Miller.
RIP Hero.

annoyinglittletwerp on July 6, 2011 at 12:43 PM

Okay, let’s say that Caylee fell into the pool and drowned. Any loving mother would call for help, in hopes that her child could be revived. If the child cannot be revived, she will at least want to give her baby a decent burial, with a headstone that tells the world that her child lived and mattered.

No loving mother puts her child’s body in a swamp, or stands by while someone else does it, and goes on with her life unconcerned about the fact that her beloved baby’s body will become a home for maggots and food for animals of all kinds.

And, of course, no mother who truly loves her child keeps silent for a solid month after someone abducts that child.

Nope. I see nothing to indicate that, when it came down to matters of life and death, Casey loved her daughter.

Caylee deserved a much better mother. One who gave a damn about her.

KyMouse on July 6, 2011 at 12:53 PM

I didn’t watch a single minute of tv coverage. Just the news pics of her partying while her child was missing made me want to retch and made my blood boil.

scalleywag on July 6, 2011 at 12:53 PM

She’s going to have a great swinging life as a single after the trial because the only job she will be able to get is a celebrity stripper in the lower rung of Florida’s thousand strip joints.

slickwillie2001 on July 6, 2011 at 1:03 PM

I don’t know, the Anthony Family v. ZZZ-Paw was never a fair fight.

james23 on July 6, 2011 at 1:13 PM

Bread and circuses.

Rae on July 6, 2011 at 1:20 PM

While this case is heart wrenching, the media created this storm chasers event. You couldn’t get away from it, the MSM wanted the conflict.

Speakup on July 6, 2011 at 1:31 PM

Casey Anthony 2012!!

Coronagold on July 6, 2011 at 2:01 PM

The media weren’t the only ones paying attention:
Obama Declares National Holiday After Announcement of Casey Anthony Verdict

“Like many Americans,” Obama said at a press conference today, “I have been completely transfixed by the Casey Anthony trial. The changing story, the revolving door of attorneys and jurors, Nancy Grace’s fantastic coverage – I haven’t been this excited about a case since Scott Peterson!”

mrt721 on July 6, 2011 at 2:15 PM

Well no freaking duh. Only the female GOP candidates are even worth looking at in the first place, and if you’re not a political junkie you probably don’t even care too much about the primaries yet.

Then there’s all the people who watched either because they love a real-life mystery show (and who can blame them)…as well as those who were waiting to see if the jury really would fumble. Or in other words, “if Casey could get away with her crimes, what can I get away with?”

Uncle Sams Nephew on July 6, 2011 at 2:36 PM