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Nancy Grace walks out of interview about her exploiting dead children

Nancy Grace, not exploiting the death of a child for television.

Nancy Grace, who will soon wrap 12 storied years at HLN seeking justice so that she might scream at it, was the guest yesterday on SiriusXM’s Jim Norton & Sam Roberts, where the hosts greeted her with the same sort of eagerness and openness that Grace reserves for crimes involving young white women. Grace barely had time to say hello or plug her new book or Hallmark Channel show before Norton—never one to mince words himself—told her flat out, “I’ve had a problem with you for a long time because I felt like you were capitalizing on tragedies.” Things did not get easier for Grace from there.

Norton and Roberts continued to hammer Grace on her long career of acting simultaneously as judge, jury, executioner, tabloid reporter, and pitchfork-wielding mob—a person in whom, as the late, great David Carr once wrote, “the presumption of innocence has found a willful enemy.” And as Norton pointed out, it’s also found a dedicated Twitter troll, with Grace often promoting her investigations into children’s deaths and their drunk, negligent moms with leading questions and catchy hashtags that double as conceptual art pieces.


To Grace’s credit, she (or more likely her social media manager) have recently toned down her hashtag game, probably after a moment of sobering self-examination and/or picking up on the years of ridicule. But that didn’t stop Norton from asking Grace, twice, “How do you justify latching on to hashtags and things without saying you are capitalizing on dead kids?” It’s a question Grace has actually been asked before, and once again, she defended it here as a habit she first started in law school, where she would have to “condense a very difficult, convoluted case into something simple for juries.” But when Roberts then asked whether she might agree that reducing a child’s death to a pithy, often absurdist phrase could be seen as “trivializing” tragedy, Grace’s answer was as nuanced and eloquent as the way she might discuss a murdered toddler.

“No,” she said.

Norton and Roberts continued to grill Grace on just a small sampling of her many controversies over the years—her handling of the Duke lacrosse rape case; the outrage she stirred by incorrectly suggesting The Ultimate Warrior and many other wrestlers had died of steroid abuse; the slander lawsuit she settled with Kennedy cousin and accused murderer Michael Skakel—and whether she hadn’t exploited so many of these cases and their victims for the sake of her own notoriety. She grew more and more defensive. Eventually, Grace, a person whose own guests serve as little more than scream-receptacles, and whose most recognizable catchphrase is “Cut his mic!”, shamed the hosts for inviting her onto their show with zero intention of a meaningful dialogue:

“Let me just set it straight right now. I’m sorry that you guys clearly don’t like what I do. I feel bad about it. So, there. You obviously don’t like me. That’s okay … So, I’m OK with my show. I’m OK with representing crime victims. The two of you are so anxious to just throw a shot at me … You haven’t asked one decent question since I’ve walked in here. Everything both of you have asked has been an attack.”


Norton and Roberts both maintained that asking her these questions was in the public interest, to which Grace responded with a sarcastic “Okay,” before suggesting they should wrap it up. Norton, returning to his first question, asked whether turning murdered children into viral hashtags wasn’t exploitation, Grace responded curtly, “My program is to help solve unsolved homicides and find missing children, which we have done. If you don’t like that and you don’t like the way I do it, then don’t watch it.” She then mock-chirped, “Oops! I think your time is up. Bye-bye” before getting up and leaving the studio.


To that, Norton offered this parting shot: “You can leave if you want; we’re not gonna kill ourselves after the interview.” It was a not-so-subtle reference to the time Grace sought to find Melinda Duckett’s missing child by hectoring her relentlessly on her show—as well as the time Toni Annette Medrano accidentally suffocated her own baby, a sensitive tragedy Grace covered by dubbing Medrano “Vodka Mommy.” After their segments, Duckett shot herself, while Medrano doused herself in flammable liquid and set herself on fire. In both cases, Grace eventually settled with their traumatized respective families out of court.

Today on The View—a show where Grace once appeared to yell about how Whitney Houston was murdered, and similarly accuse Barbara Walters, Joy Behar et al. for “throwing stones from behind a coffee cup” for daring to question her on it—Grace was received far more sympathetically. Her Sirius story was now a tale of triumph in which she “almost started crying, but instead I got mad and bit back.”

Grace also took Norton and Roberts to task for their shamefully sophomoric, crudely well-researched inquiries into her overall sense of ethics, sniping, “I had no idea I was gonna be interviewed by Beavis and Butthead.” It was similar to the responses she’s often given whenever she’s asked about regretting her approach from other notorious shock jocks, like Larry King. And it’s the general attitude she’s long displayed toward inconvenient truths in all their forms, whether it’s the withholding of evidence that led her to be reprimanded as a prosecutor; the accusations of embellishments she made to the myth-making story of her fiancé’s murder (the one that made her “a victim of a crime” herself, as she said again in both the Norton/Roberts and View interviews); or just any of the many everyday rushes to judgment that have contributed to the current toxic culture—increasingly steeped in scaremongering, combativeness, and wild, baseless speculation phrased as “just asking questions”—from which she has long profited.


Anyway, Grace’s suspicious refusal to answer the questions to our satisfaction definitely forces us to ask: Does this mean she killed all those kids herself?! #GraceUnderFire

[via The Wrap]


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