I have asked many people what used to sit on the vacant lot across the street from the Orange County courthouse and apparently for as long as anyone can remember “there was like some warehouse or something, maybe a railroad track? I’m not sure.” The five-acre lot was always hidden behind a tall fence and everyone just assumed it was a grassy wasteland from which Leonard Padilla would emerge whenever he heard a camera rolling. But from what I gather, back in the 80’s it was a popular place to stop and throw up when you were stumbling home from a club called “Electric Avenue.” It’s kind of ironic because here we are, almost 30 years later, and I know plenty of viewers who want to throw up every time they look at it now.
It is actually a privately-owned plot of commercial land worth roughly $9 million and – much like Casey Anthony circa Aug. 2008 – it was rarely given a second glance, let alone a second thought. But now this empty lot on the cusp of downtown Orlando is considered primo real estate. At least to the media. And only for about two months. Then it can go back on the market where it can promptly go into foreclosure (btw, this would be a GREAT place to feed the homeless downtown. I’m just saying.).
To see the lot now is to see the media in all its unbiased (ahem) glory. Click on the photo and you’ll see some of the pictures I took. It is on its way to becoming a thriving village of satellite trucks, portable offices and makeshift platforms. Four or five giant generators have been brought in to power edit bays, laptops, studio lights and Nancy Grace’s blow dryer. Every local station and national network has basically constructed their own mobile newsroom. One unnamed network is said to have spent more than $120,000 on their set-up! And soon there will be a hive of reporters, photographers and producers working like bees, buzzing around the biggest trial since O.J. Simpson. I bet growing up Casey Anthony never thought in her wildest dreams she’d be more infamous than O.J.
THIS is the beginning phase of Casey Town. Newsrooms will probably come to refer to it as the “Casey Bureau.” Viewers will come to know it as “Are They Seriously STILL Talking About The Trial?!” This will be the epicenter for one of the most-followed murder cases in history and all eyes will be on the Orange County courthouse. I hope Disney doesn’t get jealous. The case reads like a John Grisham novel and people want to see how it ends.
I know, I know, it’s a costly and time-consuming trial for a woman who – just four years ago – did not even exist in the minds of most people. And while some people rail against the media coverage, scoff at the amount of air time the trial is given and leave angry tirades on our Facebook pages asking why we don’t have anything better to report… Casey Anthony continues to be the most-viewed story, every day, on Clickorlando.com. I’ve often wondered who’s watching it if everyone claims they’re sick of watching it?
So if you plan to leave me an irate comment about the over-sensationalizing of Casey Anthony, first let me know who threatened you with bodily harm if you didn’t click on a blog titled “Casey Town.”
(The station wants me to remind you that you can see more photos here: http://www.clickorlando.com/slideshow/news/27951604/detail.html?qs=1;s=1;p=news&dm=ss&tn=b)