Although I don’t necessarily like watching them, I do understand why they are on television. Personalities like Rachel Maddow, Bill O’Reilly, Keith Olbermann, Sean Hannity, Stephen A. Smith, and Skip Bayless are all the same in two main ways: They are extreme and they are loud. All these people have set in stone views (at least on television they do) and most of them need to yell to voice them.
These people bring in viewers because they are so polarizing…you either love them or you hate them. Even if you can’t stand them, these people are so good at what they do that many of the haters still watch them. You know why? Besides just offering a differing viewpoint that can sometimes be fun to watch, all of these personalities carry with them a certain level of charm. Many times it goes across to the viewer sublimely and you might call me crazy for saying that these talking heads possess charm but they do. Most of them are also able to show some civility and rationality in their programs, even if it comes in small amounts and on rare occasions.
I used to think Nancy Grace fell in the above category. I watched her show a few times in the past and she seemed like the typical shock value blowhard. Then I managed to land on her show a couple nights ago and my whole opinion changed.
While channel surfing I landed on HLN for a split second and without even considering watching whatever program was on, I flipped to the next station. In the very short time it took to transition from the HLN channel to the next one I heard a woman’s voice yelling at the top of her lungs. I immediately changed back to HLN and there was Nancy Grace, on a split screen, going absolutely nuts on the other person who happened to be on the other half of the screen.
Because I read the graphic at the bottom of the TV I knew they were supposedly talking about the George Zimmerman case but you never would have figured that out from the one-sided conversation going on. Nancy Grace was flaying her arms, yelling at a level reserved for boot camp instructors, and throwing a huge fit on national television. Her “guest” on the show tried to cut in but then Grace did something I had never seen before…she asked the show producers to mute the mic of the guest. She then continued to berate the guest and after she was done with the tongue lashing she mocked the guest for having his mic muted. The segment then ended.
I couldn’t believe it. Thinking she might have had history with the guest or that maybe the guest had gotten out of line during the first part of the interview, I stayed through the commercial break to see if Grace’s behavior would change during the next segment. It didn’t.
This time she had a panel of four people joining the show from various locations to talk about the Zimmerman case again. Four different people with four different perspectives on the case…it would have been nice to hear what they had to say but each one of them could have put a sack of potatoes in their place because they had no opportunity to talk. Just like before it was Nancy Grace getting that evil look on her face and yelling the whole time, speaking over people and just flat out acting embarrassing. She would take shots at the credentials of her guests, make fun of them for stuttering (only reason why it appeared they were stuttering was because Grace cut them off), and belittle them.
After that train wreck, I changed the channel. I will admit that Grace’s antics got me to watch two segments of the show and HLN might consider that a victory. Okay, fine. But from here on out I will never watch Nancy Grace again. The way she ran her show, treated her guests on a national stage, and displayed an amount of disrespect that I had never once seen on any show in my life sealed the deal.
Like I said at the very start of this post, I understand the game many of these personalities play. I don’t take them seriously and I know that many of them don’t take themselves seriously either. But they do offer a product that people watch. However, Nancy Grace goes way too far and earns a spot in a whole new level.
Nancy Grace, you got my viewership for ten minutes on a Wednesday night. You will never get it again. Don’t Blink.