The John Mark Karr Feeding Frenzy
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Channel-surfing recent wall-to-wall TV coverage of the decision to drop all charges against John Mark Karr was like walking through the halls of a drug rehab center -- everywhere you looked, you saw addicts unable to break their addiction.
All in the MSM -- well, all except Nancy Grace -- know how sick they are for continuing to talk and talk and talk and talk about this case.
But they just can't help themselves. They know they shouldn't do another eight ball -- they know, after all, this guy is not the killer -- yet they go on and on and on.
The sad thing is, they can't even enjoy the cheap buzz of dishing out the titillating trash -- you can see the embarrassment on their faces as they reach for the ersatz-breaking-news bottle. As I wrote about scandal-addicted newshounds during the Robert Blake bacchanal: "They're like Jack Lemmon and Lee Remick in the last reel of Days of Wine and Roses. They're no longer drinking to get high; they're just hoping to avoid delirium tremens -- which in TV-land translates to 'big time ratings slump.' You know, just a little pick-me-up to 'take the edge off.'
But the 12-day Karr bender is worse than any of its lampshade-on-the-head predecessors. Worse than OJ, worse than Robert Blake. At least those media circus clowns were connected in some way (wink, wink) to the crimes in question.
Karr is nothing but a disturbed wannabe -- the walking, talking embodiment of a non-story (or, perhaps, a minor mention buried deep inside the pages of the Rocky Mountain News). Instead, the media tumbled down the 12 steps and embarked on a frantic binge that saw countless articles and hours of airtime devoted to the minutest details of the life, times, and airplane menu of a pathetic murderer manquÃ© (Fried king prawns and roast duck -- oh my!).
In one of the creepiest displays of schizophrenic TV I've ever witnessed, Nancy Grace, captain of the lurid crime cheerleading squad, managed last night to conflate for a few fleeting moments the war in Iraq with the Karr scandal. At the end of another show devoted exclusively to the Karr nonstory yet, Grace sought the reassurance of her guest, People magazine staff editor Larry Sutton, that she wasn't going to have to go cold turkey on the Karr/JonBenet juice.
GRACE: Larry Sutton, do you really believe it's over with John Mark Karr, yes, no?
SUTTON: Over as far as JonBenet, yes. Over as far as, will we be wanting to learn some more information about him when he goes to California? No, we`ll be following him.
After breathing a sigh of relief, Grace jumped into a hurried salute to a fallen soldier in Iraq:
GRACE: I want to stop for a moment to remember Marine Corporal Paul King, 23, Tyngsboro, Massachusetts. He joined Marines straight from high school, receiving multiple honors, including the Purple Heart. Recently wed, King loved riding motorcycles with his bride, Rebecca. Paul King, still just a baby, American hero.
"Still just a baby." Sound like anyone else you know? Just in case we didn't get the link, Grace tossed in a quick tip of the hat to the kids on the Little League World Series-winning team from Columbus, Georgia, then ended the show with a familiar photo of a forever six-year-old JonBenet.
I guess even Nancy Grace knew she had to devote at least one percent of her show to something more important than Karr and JonBenet -- provided, of course, she ended with JonBenet.
So will the media wake up from this lowly high with a booming hangover and reach for a box of Head On ("Apply directly to the forehead!")? Don't count on it. Indeed, just turn on your TV. The addicts are already mainlining the story of fugitive polygamist Warren Steed Jeffs.
I'm not one for conspiracy theories, but don't you find it just a tad suspicious that Jeffs was busted the day after the no-match DNA test signaled the beginning of the end of the John Mark Karr feeding frenzy?