Why The ‘Affluenza’ Saga Doesn’t Seem To Go Away

One reporter’s take on why the story has stayed in the headlines and what’s compelling about this two-year-old case.

By Rhonda FanningJanuary 13, 2016 3:54 pm,

America is gripped by the circus that is the Texas “affluenza teen” and his mother. It’s the story that doesn’t seem to go away and the saga of Ethan Couch and his mother Tonya has played out from North Texas to western Mexico.

But now the media frenzy around their case has gone global in scale.

Ryan Osborne, reporter for the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, has been following the story. He says

“People have really latched on, going back to two years ago, to the affluenza headline that’s been attached to Ethan Couch’s name,” he says. “Now you’ve had his re-emergence in the media with a possible parole violation.”

Couch had fled to Mexico after a video posted on Twitter allegedly showed him playing beer pong, which could be a violation of the terms of his probation that required him to abstain from drinking. People are still fascinated by the case, Osbourne says, because of the “affluenza” buzzword and the “lure of a manhunt” when the Couchs fled to Mexico.

What you’ll hear in this segment:

– Where the affluenza name came from and why it affects the way people view the case

– Why some people feel he got a “light sentence” and what it means that he’s still under juvenile probation

– How viewers and readers see the story from a “moral high-ground” and how that has fueled this story