Perhaps no one better describes the media frenzy to capitalize (as in make money) on Laci Peterson than Maureen Orth who included Laci Peterson in her book, "The Importance of Being Famous: Behind the Scenes of the Celebrity-Industrial Complex." The book is available on both Barnes & Noble and Amazon. This review is from Amazon.
From Publishers Weekly
Vanity Fair columnist Orth calls the world of celebrity a war zone of million-dollar monsters and million-dollar spin. She proves her thesis through a series of lacerating essays and interviews exposing personalities who'll "sacrifice everything including, sometimes, their lives, to be famous." Orth views the Laci Peterson saga as America's number one reality soap opera and examines the media's hysterical need to provide alternative scenarios about the case just to keep the story in the news.
In an exclusive extract from the book published by Vanity Fair, Orth tells of being asked for an interview by another reporter:
One day a reporter from a local channel asked if he could interview me as a member of the national media covering the case in Modesto. "You want to do a story on me doing a story on you?" I asked incredulously. "Why?" "Because there is nothing else to report today,'' a cameraman blurted out.
Orth talks about Gervasoni's bar, "a 1950s-style saloon in Laci's hometown of Modesto has become the hangout of choice for two of the story's most prodigious propagators, David Wright and Michael Hanrahan of the National Enquirer." Wright said, " "The Peterson story has broken perfectly. The tabs kept Laci going during the Iraq war, and as soon as the war finishes, her body washes up." By "tabs" he means the tabloids. Back in the day of respectable journalism, the tabloids were scorned, and shoppers would pick up a copy at the checkout counter and quickly hide it among other purchases. "According to Steve Coz, former editorial director of American Media, which publishes the National Enquirer, Globe and Star, every Laci Peterson cover has increased sales of each of the three weeklies by as many as 300,000 copies."
Orth talks about how liberally the Enquirer reporters handed out cash for stories, including $12,000 to Dennis Rocha. The Enquirer also employed its own private investigators, and in May 2003, bragged that it had "penetrated the ongoing investigation," which supposedly prompted "an internal scrutiny of the force." One of the reporters, however, told Orth, "That's not the way it works. Cops all have girlfriends, sisters, uncles, mothers." I guess that is what is meant by "a source close to the investigation," so often cited as the only source in an article.
Orth also talks about the frenzy to get "breaking news" at the cable news outlets -- CNN, Fox, MSNBC. Orth describes how, in her opinion, Greta Van Susteren "dramatically lowered the ethical bar" when she invited Larry Flynt of Hustler magazine to detail his efforts to acquire the topless photos Frey had taken years earlier. Greta kept flashing one of the photos with a red banner across Amber's chest, and then the next night, when she had Gloria Allred on as a guest, told Allred how much of a fan she is of Amber's. And Gloria thanked her for being sensitive to Amber. It was on Greta's show that Flynt said that a masseuse is "just a glorified term for a hooker." So much for sensitivity when there's so much kissing up on both sides.
The most disgusting story that Orth related occurred on the day Geragos made his first Court appearance in Modesto. She counted 18 cameras mounted on tripods, three handheld cameras and 11 satellite dishes on the street, and then this happened.
Off to the side, however, an ambulance was at the ready, lights blinking, because word had just come out that a woman inside had fainted. All the news reporters were clearly hoping that it had been Jackie Peterson, Scott's mother, who usually carries a breathing aid with tubes in her nose. She had appeared frail as she entered the courthouse earlier. When, suddenly, the doors swung open and a flushed, heavyset woman was carried out on a stretcher, the cameras stopped whirring. You could hear the sighs of disappointment.Really? She could hear the sighs of disappointment? And that's who the public had to rely on to get its information about Laci Peterson.