Zimmerman Case: Does “Trial by TV” Benefit the Public Good?

Zimmerman Case: Does “Trial by TV” Benefit the Public Good? July 11, 2013
George Zimmerman

Here’s a little confession: I have a “sleep ritual” that helps me to cope with the crazy life I lead. I’m married to an ER doctor who comes home at weird hours of the night and turns on Sports Center. I parent a teen who seems to sleep during the 3 am to 11 am shift. I’m a menopausal woman with hot flashes (I know, TMI). And I tend to “sleep around” — finding myself in a hotel room bed about once a week these days.

My sleep ritual involves a big fan next to my head, one of those “eye mask” things to keep things dark, and iPhone earphones in my ears. Sometimes I listen to podcasts (both Catholic and geek/tech), sometimes audio books, and often the “live” feed of CNN.

It’s that last one that’s been giving my nightmares the past few weeks. For some reason, the nightly news seems to be dominated by the George Zimmerman trial. I’ve seen this in the past on other news networks — case in point Nancy Grace. Many of these shows offer daily updates that can take hours, giving the testimony of the day but also spending quite a lot of time with a panel of experts who dissect the trial in great detail.

I understand that the Zimmerman jury is sequestered and that they are not seeing the coverage of this trial and hopefully are not tainted by media’s presence in the courtroom. I’m also not privy to every bit of the testimony so I will wait with everyone else to hear the jury’s decision. But when I watch this trial (or actually listen to it, as I’m slumbering…), I can’t help but think of the loved ones of both the accused and the deceased. How do they feel — especially Trayvon Martin’s parents — watching the trial aired nightly?

It has me thinking about the larger issue: is televised jurisprudence a good thing? 

My jury is still out on this one, and I’d love to hear from you.

A question for you: Do televised trials and courtroom analysis benefit the common good?

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What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • I think I’d prefer a taped and edited version. Preferably *after* the trial, not during.

  • Alex

    The worst part of televised trials is that everyone reaches a conclusion with only a sliver of the arguments and evidence and a suggestive notion of what the relevant law is. One of these days, a “presumed guilty” defendant is going to be lynched by an angry mob when the jury acquits him.

  • I avoid these show trials like the plague. Nothing is more useless to the average person than this kind of news.