April 2, 2005

The Platonic ideal of the celebrity trial reporter.

It's hard being a well-educated person, interested in the life of the mind, blessed with the job of writing for the New York Times, covering the Michael Jackson trial. You need to find ways to distinguish yourself, to preserve your dignity. Here's John M. Broder:
Drawn by the flame of the klieg lights and the television money that powers them, lawyer-commentators have been a fixture at widely publicized trials at least since William Kennedy Smith was tried and acquitted of rape in Palm Beach, Fla., in 1991. The tribulations of O. J. Simpson, Kobe Bryant, Scott Peterson and now Michael Jackson have brought this traveling band of analysts to the media bivouacs that spring up around America's celebrity show trials.

Greta Van Susteren, who cut her television teeth on Mr. Smith's trial and then gained nationwide fame covering Mr. Simpson's trial, was one of the trailblazers and remains the Platonic ideal of the talking head, with a law degree and her own television show. (Plato himself, who offered expert commentary on Socrates' bombshell trial in 399 B.C., would have been the first, except there was no cable back then.)
Nicely played. I particularly like the phrase "television teeth."

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