Jewish World Review Oct. 13, 2003 / 17 Tishrei, 5764

Dan Abrams

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The media circus myth


http://www.NewsAndOpinion.com | EAGLE, CO. — Here at the Kobe Bryant case, like so many other high-profile cases, we hear again and again about the media circus coming to town.

Itís true, the media presence was massive-hundreds of reporters from all over the world. But the implication is that the circus-like atmosphere bleeds into the courtroom, and thatís the myth.

You can argue that massive coverage can have some impact on some of the legal decisions, whether a camera is inside the courtroom or not. But itís not the media or public presence inside the courtroom that does it. After going past security today, the courtroom felt more like a classroom, even a library, than a circus. The testimony loud and clear, hardly a whisper inside.

Even at the O.J. Simpson case, I remember, once you got past the cameras, the crowds and the T-shirt vendors, the courtroom could not have been more orderly. No talking, no eating, no chewing gum, assigned seats. You can argue that in that unique case the lawyers played to the camera, which I think is very rare, but happened there.

But the media and public presence inside didnít disrupt the proceedings themselves. The elephants, freaks and jugglers just didnít make it inside, and if they did, they were shown the door quickly. So next time you hear about the media circus, remember, itís only an outdoor show.

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JWR contributor Dan Abrams anchors “The Abrams Report,” Monday through Friday from 9-10 p.m. ET on MSNBC TV. He also covers legal stories for “NBC Nightly News with Tom Brokaw,” “Today” and “Dateline NBC.” To visit his website, click here. Comment by clicking here.

Up

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