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All Crespi, all the time 

Let the bad times roll

The David Crespi murder case revealed as much about local media as about the crime itself. In our lovely era of 24-hour news and disasters du jour, we've all gotten used to how the media deals with appalling personal tragedies. If you're reporting on something like the Crespi horrors, in which a bank vice president murdered his twin 5-year-old daughters, you need to follow a few unofficial rules. They are: rely on the police for the official version of the facts; interview the neighbors, and if you can snag a few seconds with a spouse, that's a big bonus; present details of the victims' and suspect's lives; run as many pieces about the tragedy as you can; and when the story really takes off, get more reporters or columnists to spread your coverage.

Most important, though, always remember to obey Big Rule Number 1: be hypocritical enough to hide your excitement about how juicy the story, er, tragedy is. Put on your "serious" face and speak in a heart-tugging, somber tone, or if you're a print journalist, be sure to pass your prose through a solemnity filter. Never mind if the result of this two-faced approach is a creepy mix of gravity and lurid fascination -- that's what viewers and readers supposedly want. After all, if you're too obviously enthusiastic about a rich guy stabbing his daughters to death, your audience might realize they're as morbidly curious as you are, and that would make them uncomfortable and, well, we just can't have that.

I think the media should quit being hypocrites and go for it. You know they want to. You can almost see them salivating to take murder stories and go all Jerry Springer with them. I say to local media: drop the pretense and just do it. Be confident, trust your instincts and take full advantage of the Crespi slaughter's SSS potential (sensation, suffering and soap opera). You took a good first step by teaching us all about depression and medicine, turning the story of two innocents killed by their father into "pleasant rich guy became unhappy and made a mistake." But you know you can do more.

Luckily for local news consumers, a few reporters and editors are currently working behind the scenes, trying to convince higher-ups to up the ante in the Crespi case. Following is just a sample of what they have in store, if they get the go-ahead. I don't know about you, but I can hardly wait.

Special Reports:

• House of Horrors: Homes with the exact same layout as David Crespi's!

• Special Online Poll: Who's crazier -- David Crespi or Mel Gibson?

• Send Us Your Photos! The first annual David Crespi look-alike contest.

• A Long Tradition: A history of sad, wealthy people who were driven to kill because of the terrifying stress of holding down a job while raising a family and basically having it made.

• Runway to Nowhere: David models the latest prison fashions, reported by the Observer's Crystal Dempsey.

• Taking Care: Special monthly reports from California on how the Crespi twins' graves are being maintained.

• The Observer may even publish a 700-page collection of their articles on Crespi, entitled Twin Terrors.

Prison Life Updates:

• Pimp My Cell: A look at how David has decorated his prison environment.

• Cable A La Crespi: What TV shows David enjoys the most in prison. Hint: It's not "CSI."

• Meet David's New Friends! Interviews with Crespi's prison buddies "Blade" Atkins, Les Spencer and Jamal "Daddy" Krump.

• The DC Blog: Crespi shares his favorite downloads and gives his observations on day-to-day life in prison, the issues on his mind and the voices in his head. You get to comment!

• Original or X-tra Crespi?: David takes a job in the prison kitchen.

• Monthly reports on David's waistline battle -- is he making good use of the prison gym facilities? Exclusive interview with inmate trainer Larry "Big Bitch" McCallister.

• The Crespi Code: David's top recommended books from the prison library.

• David signs a contract with a publisher to write his autobiography, tentatively titled My Bad.

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