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Tuesday and Thursday
Nancy Grace on JonBenet Ramsey.

I doubt anyone needs a primer on the JonBenet Ramsey case, but just to dot our tees and cross our eyes, here's a CNN tag fulla factoid goodness.

I'm picking on Nancy Grace, but really anyone in cable "news" could be a target for criticism in how the corporate media has exploited this tragedy. The Ramsey case, along with the OJ Simpson debacle, are templates for wall-to-wall breathless coverage of a scandal: dead blond girl, police incompetence, creepy parents, and so many details to report uncritically yet with the confidence of Newton declaring the law of gravity.

It's cheap, too. Just get media-hungry trial lawyers to debate the minutia of court procedures, evidence, witness testimony, prosecutor and defense strategies, errant judge decisions, juror selection — ad nauseum. The Ramsey case hasn't gone to court, and won't until the cops arrest someone. But, oh, the speculation industry will keep on chugging, baby.

For the record, I have no love for the Ramsey parents. The beauty pageant thing would probably have left psychological wounds on JonBenet had she not been murdered, and their behavior was strange. But they were still parents. They lost a sweet little girl to a brutal murder. And then the police, the district attorney and the global media treated them like killers. Patty Ramsey died before her name was cleared, and their entire family has had to grieve while under suspicion. It's horrible, it's tragic, and it damns our culture.

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For more kid-friendly (and adult-friendly, too) go read Wanderlost, my weekly series at Modern Tales.

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Kevin Moore is the creator of Wanderlost, formerly known as Sheldon the Pig. A veteran of zines, underground comics and political cartoons, Kevin has been doing webcomics since 1999. He is also a librarian. ... full profile