The Media


I got to deal with Channel 2, Channel 11, Channel 13, The Houston Chronicle, and Channel 26 this week.

One one case, I gave the first four the choice of getting video of my client and me walking to or from court, or getting a statement from me. They chose the pictures. I can’t really blame them. We can manage to do our respective jobs (theirs: putting together sensationalist news; mine: protecting my clients) without antagonizing each other, and if some day I have some interesting message to convey, I might talk to Channels 2, 11, 13, or the Chron.

Not so Channel 26. On another case (one that the other media outlets had zero interest in), they jumped us outside the courtroom, shoving camera and microphone in our faces and asking for comment on this and that. They got nothing, except probably some pokerfaced footage of a sick-looking sweaty lawyer (I’ve been fighting some bug) with bad hair and his cool client. . . oh, and some dude jumped on the elevator with us shouting that it “was bullshit”; I don’t think that’s newsworthy.

Channel 26 shouldn’t have chosen ambush over respect.

These are not my first high-publicity cases, and it’s highly unlikely that they’ll be my last. I usually work hard to turn high-publicity cases into low-publicity cases, but sometimes making a comment to the press will be unavoidable, or even beneficial. You guys from the other stations will just have to send Channel 26 away. (It won’t be hard—just tell them they’re giving away sex offender lists in the basement. They eat that stuff up.)


0 responses to “The Media”

  1. We once had a client who was a local politician. Cops tipped off newspaper to his arrest warrant so that they could photograph perp walk. But reporter and photographer got there too late; they had already put him in the police car. So cops took him out of the car, walked him back into his house, then walked him out again so the photographer could take pictures of it.

    Years later I met the reporter and asked him why he didn’t report that the cops did that for him. He said it wasn’t news.

    • Of course it wasn’t. The media is never part of the story.

      Then there’s the matter of the judges these two cases were in. One barred cameras from the courtroom and kept the blinds on the windows closed. The other let Channel 26 open the blinds, and called my client up to the bench just—as far as I could determine—so the cameraman would get a photo opportunity.

  2. Hmmmm, wonder why the Federal Courts don’t allow cameras in the courtroom? ( See http://www.firstamendmentcenter.org/Press/topic.aspx?topic=cameras_courtroom).

    For one thing they don’t have to run for election, but boy do they have to be political initially to get to where they are. (See web site below)

    For all you State Judges that think a “blink” of your name on TV will help get you elected you are smoking or snorting your own evidence. Federal Courts are generally more formal and dignified. There’s just nothing like an old fashion courtroom artist – where did they all go? Remember this all you State Judges: When you invite the media in to film the defendant and then rush home to watch the TIVO version of your pearly whites remember this: You live by the sword and you die by the sword. One day you may have to make your own perp walk, or some stupid invalid allegation could be made against you and guess what? File footage of you in one of the many trials that was to focus on the accused suddenly becomes “film file footage” OF YOU!!!

    You want to sleep better at night? Don’t watch the 10:00 O’clock News. After all if it bleeds, it leads and one day that blood may be yours. I’m no fan of David Letterman but it sure was sweet to see the camera’s hounding the “48 Hours” Producer in the whole intern extortion deal. Out!

  3. Because the Web. Page listed in my previous post is (seven degees from Kevin Bacon) hard to open, the following is the pertinent part: BY: By Lee Levine
    Lawyer, Levine Sullivan & Koch:

    ” While technology has changed, the federal courts’ feelings about cameras in the courtroom have not. Despite repeated requests by broadcasters, the Judicial Conference of the United States — which establishes policy for the federal courts — has refused to reconsider its rules prohibiting television and radio broadcasting from federal trials. In 1996, the Judicial Conference allowed experimental use of cameras in some federal courtrooms but recently decided not to renew that experiment. The Supreme Court has adamantly refused to allow cameras into the court, most recently denying the requests of several broadcasters to televise the historic argument in Bush v. Gore.

    The bases for denying cameras access to courtrooms have not changed much since 1965. The Judicial Conference and the federal courts still believe live television coverage distracts trial participants, unfairly affects the outcome of trials and diminishes the dignity of the courts. Broadcasters, meanwhile, continue to argue that coverage no longer is distracting or disruptive and that both the judiciary and the public benefit when court proceedings are televised.”.

  4. Re cameras in the court room:
    “The Judicial Conference and the federal courts still believe live television coverage distracts trial participants, unfairly affects the outcome of trials and diminishes the dignity of the courts.”

    Gee, how COULD they still think that after the O.J. Trial? (wink wink).

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