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Tuesday, July 26, 2005

CHEAP-TV 

So, is the problem really that there are no 'visuals'? In The Supreme Challenge: Zero Visuals Times 9, Washington Post's Howard Kurtz writes "The amount of airtime devoted to untangling [Supreme] court decisions has been dwarfed by the cases involving Martha Stewart, Michael Jackson and Kobe Bryant, not to mention wife killer Scott Peterson, runaway bride Jennifer Wilbanks and missing-in-Aruba Natalee Holloway. By contrast, major court rulings on medical marijuana, racially influenced jury selection and government seizure of private property tend to be one- or two-day stories at best."
He blames the lack of visuals. But what he doesn't mention, and maybe doesn't realize, is this -- covering a police investigation story or a courtroom story is EASY, and therefore CHEAP. It requires virtually no research, promotes the excitement of 'breaking news' and gets the reporters lots of camera time.
For a missing person case, its all just interviews -- "And how did you feel when you saw the kidnappers driving away with your daughter?" -- and repetitions of police press releases.
For a courtroom case, its even easier -- just attend the trial, or even get a junior staffer to do it, then do a wrap-up outside-the-courthouse standup up just repeating what was said inside. "In dramatic testimony today, defendant XX told the jury . . . "
Hey, what could be simpler? "CHEAP-TV is now broadcasting live from . . . "

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