Heroes live among us and rarely wear capes. Some, in fact, wear a Sabbath t-shirt and are willing to talk openly about their love of sex with transgender prostitutes. Enter, standup comic Jim Norton, who, along with his cohost Sam Roberts on their new SiriusXM morning show, basically stepped up and spoke for decent people everywhere yesterday by finally telling Nancy Grace, to her face, that she’s the worst person on earth.
Grace stopped by the show to promote a new Hallmark show based on a series of mystery books I promise you, if you’re a fan of this website, you haven’t read and probably weren’t even aware of. What Grace apparently didn’t know going into it was that she wasn’t walking into friendly territory. Norton had made Grace a regular target of his indignation during his time on the Opie & Anthony show and back in January of 2014 went on an amusing Twitter tirade against her, at one point asking her, “Do you feel guilty that you get wet whenever a kid is dead because you can come up with a great hashtag? #WorstPigInMedia.”
The whole thing started off cordial enough, but within minutes Norton began politely but pointedly digging into Grace, at first asking whether she was forced off the air at HLN or left willingly. (She danced around the question, contradicting herself in a single sentence by saying that she didn’t really want to leave but felt that the time was right.) From there it only went downhill, with Norton and Roberts bringing up the slander lawsuit that Michael Skakel filed against Grace and CNN and which was ultimately settled.
Eventually, Grace caught on to the fact that this wasn’t a fluff interview. “The two of you are so anxious to just throw a shot at me,” she said to Norton and Roberts. “You haven’t asked one decent question since I’ve walked in here. Everything both of you have asked has been an attack.” It all fell apart rapidly after that, with Norton finally hitting her with the question he, and so many of us, had been dying to confront her with for years: “How do you justify latching on to hashtags and things without saying you are capitalizing on dead kids?”
With that, Grace gave a terse answer and the interview was over. As Grace was leaving the studio, obviously none-too-pleased, Norton got in one last shot. “You can leave if you want, we aren’t going to kill ourselves after the interview,” he said, a reference to Melinda Duckett, who killed herself after Grace accused her of being involved in the disappearance of her son during an interview in 2006.
This morning, to a much friendlier audience on The View, Grace said she almost cried after the interview with Norton and Roberts, but that in the end, she of course “bit back,” because that’s what her image demanded she claim. “I had no idea I was gonna be interviewed by Beavis and Butthead,” she said. But here’s the thing: Whether you like the kind of humor guys like Jim Norton and Sam Roberts traffic in, on this they were 100% right. They were on the side of the angels.
Nancy Grace is a monster who spent years cynically profiting off the death of others and the devastation of their loved ones, an opportunistic, unscrupulous peddler of morbid prurience who dispensed reckless judgments night after night based on nothing but her own arrogance and her desire to keep ratings up and her brand raking in the cash. Everything Norton implied about her was true, and the fact that CNN willingly made the decision to continue being the bridge under which Grace lived for so long is an indelible black mark on that network’s reputation.
She shouldn’t be able to dodge the lives she’s ruined, the suits she’s had to settle, and the bullshit allegations against innocent people she’s leveled and now stands atop at this phase of her career. Jim Norton and Sam Roberts may not have the clout of something like The View, but they were at least willing to forgo the niceties and hold Nancy Grace accountable. Looking back on her despicable and ongoing run on TV, that’s a rare and necessary thing indeed.