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Nancy Grace Fires Back At Her Critics

The Casey Anthony trial and aftermath of the verdict has put HLN's Nancy Grace front and center, which has been great for ratings but has left the on-air personality under some fire for her outspoken views on her perception of what really happened (including her now infamous "the devil is dancing" line after the jury came back).

But HLN isn't backing down, programming a full 25 hours of Grace programming this weekend (much of it repeats).  And Grace isn't backing down either, dismissing her critics and bristling at questions about how the case has skyrocketed HLN's ratings.

With the sentencing now over and Anthony set to be freed in coming weeks, Grace talked via phone Thursday with B&C's Andrea Morabito.  Following is an edited transcript of that conversation.

Are you comfortable being
the media figurehead of this trial?

I don't really see it that way.
It's not about me or any other media related person. It's all about Caylee, and
there's been a huge miscarriage of justice.

How do you think you handled
the verdict on air - you happy with your performance?

I don't really think of it as a
performance. It was genuine shock, it was really stunned disbelief. I could
hardly even take it in. Even now I know that it happened, I know there's a not
guilty, I know tot mom's gonna walk next week, but it still seems a little
surreal with such strong evidence indicating guilt, that a jury could do this.

Do you think the coverage of
you has been fair?

I really have not been focusing
on coverage about me in the media. It's been taking every ounce of energy I've
got to literally start at 5 o'clock in the morning and continue on to 10 or 11
o'clock at night and take care of my twins too. What other media or pundits or
defense lawyers are saying about me, that's not factored into my equation. I
really didn't get into this job to win Miss Congeniality, that's what I'm
about. Never fund your criticism or hate talk or slurs about yourself. What's
more disturbing is to think that it might be on the Internet for my children to
read one day. But if I listened to that, I probably couldn't get out of bed in
the morning. If I want to stay true to my mission, what I'm about I really
cannot entertain all the negativity. Look, here's the deal: Tot Mom's guilty,
and everybody knows it except those 12 jurors. So the fact that I said it, I
just don't understand why that's causing such an uproar.

A Detroit Free Press
columnist said Casey Anthony's murder acquittal wouldn't have been possible
without you, arguing that the publicity you drove to the case allowed her to
have a stellar defense team that she might not otherwise have been able to
afford. How do you respond to that?

That's completely nonsensical.

A Fox News legal analyst
called you "The Revenge Host" and said your brand of reporting has no place in
society. Salon called you "self-obsessed" and said you believe your
interpretation of events trumps everyone else's.

I suggest if they don't like my
coverage then don't watch it.

What has this trial meant to
your career?

This trial is not about my
career. This trial is about a two-year-old little girl that was murdered and
her body thrown out in swampy woods to rot. It's about the person that should
love her the most doing that to her. That's what the trial's about. It's not
about my career. I do not have ratings incentives in my contract; I don't have
any incentives in my contract. I am a crime victim myself and my goal is to
focus on missing children, missing people and unsolved homicides. And if
someone thinks that there is no place for me in our society with that type of
show, then I believe they're very, very wrong.

Have you been speaking with
Scot Safon or anyone else at the network about the ratings this week?

I have not been speaking to
anyone about the ratings this week.

Have they said anything to
you about your coverage and how they think you are doing?

Well of course, of course HLN
is always happy when we have ratings bumps. And I'm very curious that you'd be
asking questions like that. When Libya, Egypt, tsunami, Bin Laden was covered,
and elections, and ratings bump up for other networks, they're not held or
asked questions about it the way you're asking me, so I find that very unusual.

Well this has been a big
moment for your network, putting you guys in the spotlight.

Well, I'm sure they'd be happy
to talk to you about what their thoughts are.