Every year, there are thousands of murder trials in the U.S. So it seems ridiculous that CNN has chosen to focus all its attention on one trial involving one woman who admits killing her boyfriend.
All afternoon, every weekday, CNN headline news is ignoring every other story out there and promising “You won’t miss a minute of the Jodi Arias trail.”
CNN has succeeded in making it into an afternoon soap, with coverage that has become obsessively absurd. For example, CNN covered extensively the fact that Jodi Arias did a headstand when left alone in the interrogation room. One of the horde of CNN correspondents actually did a headstand of her own to demonstrate this amazing news event.
CNN also covered what they called “Jodi’s weird hair flipping.” What was this? When Jodi Arias was being held in the interrogation room with her hands cuffed behind her, she flipped her long hair once out of her face. Another blockbuster story.
CNN is incredibly hypocritical. They just recently put Kyra Phillips on air with a show called “Raising America” and Phillips says that as a mother she wants to put the family spin on news. So what does CNN do? Follow her show with a murder trial featuring lots of prurient testimony about oral sex, anal sex, masturbation, sexual fixation on young boys, and bondage, aired at a time when young kids are watching.
The worst things about CNN’s wall-to-wall coverage is that it crowds out every other news story as they air hour after hour of the trial that won’t seem to end.
When I was a newspaper writer, I covered murder trials and the legal process is not something that should be aired in toto any more than you should show sausage making. I would compare the legal system to a snail, but that would be unfair to snails.
Court usually starts late, has long lunch breaks, lots of recesses, many sidebar conferences between the lawyers and judge, and often adjourns early. Some days they decide not to have court at all.
Even when court is in session, it’s mostly pretty mundane with lawyers trying to figure out how to ask the same question over and over, spending lots of time on issues that are inconsequential, and generally putting the jury to sleep. Sure, there is occasionally a riveting Perry Mason moment, but for every one of those moments there are hours and hours of boring testimony that doesn’t make for good television.
How does CNN compensate for that? They have a group of correspondents who are covering the Jodi Arias trial whose job it is to convince the TV audience that insignificant courtroom happenings are exciting. They overact, are way too excited and exaggerate shamefully.
CNN has gone to the trouble to build a set which is a replica of the apartment where the murder took place and their correspondents are doing reenactments of the crime.
Why is CNN doing this? Because yellow journalism is back. There was a time in U.S. history in the 1800s when newspapers ran sensationalized stories to attract readers and even stooped to creating news to boost sales.
That’s exactly what CNN is doing by broadcasting the salacious details of this otherwise commonplace trial. Take the sex out of this trial and CNN wouldn’t even be mentioning it at all, which is how they cover most murder trials. It’s clear that CNN is just going for ratings and money and doesn’t care about covering real news.
I have a suggestion for CNN. I think they need some correspondents who can really do this trial justice. They should get Joey Buttafuoco, Howard Stern, Lorena Bobbitt and Monica Lewinski on their broadcast team. If you’re going to broadcast sleaze, why not get right down in the gutter?