Do you think Nancy Grace should be held responsible for the suicide of that woman who killed herself after getting grilled on her show? And if so, how responsible? I don’t think you can get sent to jail for being so mean to someone that they kill themselves, so what’s the proper punishment, if there should be a punishment?
–Horrified in Easthampton
First, we need to establish the fact pattern, which is the requisite first step before dissecting moral issues surrounding talk-show-hosts-who-are-responsible-for-the-deaths-of-their-guests:
Nancy Grace verbally abuses the mother of a missing 2-year-old boy, basically accusing her of having killed her son.
Less than a day later, mother of the missing 2-year-old boy suicides herself.
Shortly after the suicide, Nancy Grace airs the interview of herself abusing aforementioned mother.
"Nancy-Grace-is-an-awful-person" uproar quickly ensures.
The aforementioned Nancy Grace goes on various television shows to defend herself and further impugn reputation of the now dead mother of the poor little, still missing 2-year-old boy.
World thinks to itself, "Wow, Nancy Grace is a really repulsive human being."
It remains unclear whether this little morality play will conclude with the firing of Nancy Grace, but in the broader sense it doesn’t matter. Of course I’d like to see her suffer — she is, after all, quite the repulsive human being, and seeing her on TV makes me hate humanity for offering her such a forum for her narcissism — but the Nancy Graces of the universe exist in a state of unconscious, self-perpetuating misery anyway, so she’ll suffer whether she get’s fired or not.
What matters is that there’s no evidence that this incident will harm the infotainment-industrial complex of which Grace is a symptom. Quite the opposite. Tabloid journalism–which is most of journalism these days–relies on idiots like Grace to step outside the pentagram every so often so that the rest of the self-glorifying, Natalie Holloway-exploiting misery-pimps who pretend to be journalists and public advocates can expel them from the guild and therefore reinforce the illusion, and their self-delusion, that what they do has integrity. Grace is bad, sure, but she’s just the logical conclusion of what most of the rest of them do. They all exploit death, misery, dysfunction, crime, and hatred to sell commercials. Grace just lacks the social monitoring skills to pretend otherwise.
The answer to your question is no, Grace is not responsible for Melinda Duckett’s death. Nor is the news media. Melinda Duckett killed herself. She’s responsible for her death. Nancy Grace is responsible for exploiting that death, for exploiting the disappearance of Duckett’s son, and for verbally abusing a trauma victim. She’s responsible for having an ugly soul, which is bad enough, and perhaps punishment enough — though I wouldn’t mind a public egging.