Jennifer Mascia graduated from Columbia University's Graduate School of Journalism in 2007 and has spent the last five years on the Metropolitan News desk of The New York Times. She is the author of Never Tell Our Business to Strangers.
It's a familiar scene: Fans gather outside a recently departed star's home, wailing the artist's lyrics, leaving cards and flowers, and watching as famous friends and relatives step out of the tabloids and mourn with the hoi polloi. Heartfelt speeches are made, suicide notes read aloud, and obituaries are written lamenting young life snuffed out, talent wasted, and the evils of substance abuse.
(AP Photo/Red Huber) Casey Anthony reacts after the jury announced their verdict.
Imagine for a moment that O.J. Simpson hadn't penned a suicide note and hightailed it to the Tijuana border with a passport, a fake beard, and a map of Mexico as newscopters swirled above his head. Or that Susan Smith hadn't shed crocodile tears on national television while falsely accusing a black man of kidnapping her young sons. Or that Rodney King hadn't been beaten by officers on a videotape that was soon part of every newscast around the country.