Thursday, February 12, 2009

Bottom Feeding

When it comes to potential subjects, we've deliberately avoided the Caylee Anthony case, for obvious reasons. First, it's clearly outside out lane in the blogosphere; if you're looking for a steady diet of crime-and-punishment, there are other sites for you.

Besides, there's not much we can say about the tragedy. A precious young child was murdered by her mother, apparently because the "demands" of parenthood interferred with her social life. In another, saner universe, Casey Anthony would be awaiting trial (without the media circus), the next step toward her appointment with death row, and that eventual encounter with the "hot shot."

But Ms. Anthony won't go quietly into the Big House or the execution chamber, not as long as their are cable news channels and 24-hour news cycles. We mention this only because the Anthony saga has hit another, new low, one that caught our attention.

Casey Anthony now has a new press representative. That's right, in the world of perpetual spin, even accused child killers need a media flack.

And Ms. Anthony's lawyers haven't hired just any spokesperson. According to Orlando Sentinel TV critic Hal Boedeker, they've retained the services of one Marti Mackenzie, who now becomes the official media guru for the defense team.

If Mackenzie's name rings a bell, it should. Back in 2007, she was hired as a spin doctor by disgraced former astronaut Lisa Nowak. Captain Nowak, as you'll recall, ran afoul of the law through the attempted assault and abduction of a romantic rival.

Mackenzie was hired in an effort to generate more favorable media coverage for Nowak, who became a national laughingstock after driving from Houston to Orlando to confront her ex-lover's new girlfriend. Nowak is still waiting for her day in court. As for Ms. Mackenzie, we're not sure what impact she's had on media coverage, but she is considered one of the "experts" in her field, and commands a hefty fee for her work.

In her latest gig, Mackenzie is facing an even greater challenge. It's hard to generate sympathy (let alone positive stories) for an accused child killer. But every suspect deserves the best available media specialist to influence press coverage, right?

We beg to differ. And we also wonder if there's a client that Ms. Mackenzie wouldn't represent. Professionals have the right (in most circumstances) to refuse their services to certain individuals, and Casey Anthony would certainly meet that criteria. There seems little doubt that Ms. Anthony killed her daughter, lied about the crime--repeatedly--and has spent the ensuring months trying to stonewall the investigation. Not exactly a sympathetic figure. Or someone who deserves a media specialist to influence the potential jury pool.

True, the Anthony family has every right to hire representatives for their daughter. And, if Mackenzie is being paid by private funds, there's not much anyone can do about it. But in the past, the spin doctor has been reimbursed by taxpayer dollars, after a public defender petitioned the court to put her on the defense team. But if Mackenzie seeks state reimbursement for her fees, it will become a different matter.

Meanwhile, the spin doctor can wallow with the rest of the bottom-feeders on the Anthony defense team.
ADDENDUM: Hal Boedeker reports that Ms. Mackenzie is replacing an outfit called "Press Corps Media" which included three employees who issued press releases under the same name. That sounds like the appropriate level of media representation for someone like Casey Anthony.

No comments: