I am both appalled and amazed at how televised trials have become sporting events. I’m a little embarrassed to say that I was drawn into watching the Casey Anthony trial. I’m actually watching live coverage as I type this. The judge and the attorneys are conducting themselves in a serious and dignified manner. A woman’s life hangs in the balance. A child has died. All parties seem to understand the gravity of the situation. All parties except the TV commentators. They seem to believe this is the NFL or a rerun of Deal or No Deal.
In the early days of CourtTV, before the race for ratings turned it into TruTV, it covered trials with dignity. The commentators informed viewers of the intricacies of the law. They explained the reasons behind the methods used on both sides of the aisle. It could be boring at times. That’s because real trials do not operate like the 30 minute condensed trial on Law & Order. Real trials are ponderous. They go on for weeks or months and aren’t ratings giants.