Casey Anthony Trial: Rubbernecking Orlando's Newest Tourist Attraction
The Casey Anthony trial became a huge tourist draw, culminating in the big "not guilty" of first-degree murder verdict handed down. Long lines in Orlando are nothing new, but there are no animatronics here - no singing animals or amiably drunken pirates - only Anthony.
Every afternoon, officials from the Ninth District Courthouse handed out courtroom passes to the crowd of people jostling to get a closer look at Anthony. The Orlando Examiner had reported brawls breaking out over seats and that police have had to wrangle eager tourists spending their vacations watching the trial.
Then, Fox broke the story that a company would be running "Casey Tours," which would show legal rubberneckers a spot where Anthony was seen "partying shortly after her daughter was last seen" and feature a Q&A with Anthony Lazzaro, one of Ms. Anthony's former flames.
The article quoted attorney Chirag Karbrawala saying, "My client is an enterprising person, and people want to get some of the Casey Anthony action. This is the OJ trial of the social media generation."
Journalists call it a pull quote. The only issue: Karbrawala told Aol Travel Monday morning that he never said any such thing. He added there is no tour planned and he feels such a tour would be exploitative.
"Of course those aren't my views," said Karbrawal, who is asking Fox to pull the story.
Social Network Generation's O.J. Trail
Ironically, the story may well prove the point Karbrawal claims not to have made, that Ms. Anthony's trial is the O.J. Simpson trial for a socially networked generation.
Since Anthony's trial began, video after video showing the Anthony home has been uploaded to YouTube and dueling Facebook pages Support Casey Anthony and Fry Casey Anthony have received 2,147 likes and 5,719 likes respectively.
In 1995, the Los Angeles Times was reporting sightseers flocking to the condominium where Nicole Brown Simpson was murdered caused parking problems in Los Angeles Brentwood area.
What drove tourists to Los Angeles to stand outside the courtroom during O.J.'s trial was largely the media circus surrounding the trial and a self-propagating cycle of publicity.
The commercialization of a trial is catnip for journalists eager to find a new angle on a slowly developing story or to opine the degradation of our culture (the ultimate evergreen). Reporters promote the commercialization narrative, all but issuing an invitation to more rubberneckers.
The question remains, now that the trial is over and the media circus surely about to move on to something else, will the Casey rubbernecking continue?
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