Ryan and I had to good time today talking crime on the Left Ahead podcast. Regulars know we are shamelessly political, but we do take a break occasionally.
We got what passes for philosophical about crime in prime time. We wondered whether the public go anything beyond salacious, vicarious jollies from media coverage of crimes and trials.
What follows is the post on LA and a player to hear the half-hour show. I'm sure you'll want to.
Crime and courtroom pimps all…the media are rife with show trials and more so now than in recent years. We asked what the public gains from all this melodrama, exposed lives and blood lust.
Right now, the Zimmerman trial is on live. In Boston, the Whitey Bulger one smothers the local media. The Aaron Hernandez arrests and murder charges are just ramping up. There are many more.
Ryan contended that the prime factor in coverage is the simplest, ratings. He explained the cable news attitudes and positive results. However, he was also surprised that the Bulger coverage is more localized despite his decades of alleged involvement in many murders and organized crime.
Listen as as we talk possible positives. We don’t see any deterrent factor here, as violent crimes tend to be heat-of-passion ones not subject to reason and self-control. Instead though, in a case like the Bulger one, exposing complicity and misdoing by police and FBI agents could well lead to investigations and house cleaning that could be good far beyond Massachusetts.
Likewise but far less likely, in a case like the Zimmerman one, the stand-your-ground laws used to justify murder could be seen for the failures of justice and reason they are. As Ryan noted, the last person standing can win under such laws, being able to claim a perceived threat as justification for killing another person. He’s betting Zimmerman will fail using this defense here.
Listen in as we kick around what all the coverage means and whether the public gets anything worthwhile out of it.