The Ottumwa Courier

July 21, 2013

A Media feeding frenzy

Absolute fatigue from endless 24/7 coverage of Zimmerman trial

MATT BRINDLEY
Ottumwa Courier

OTTUMWA — Is it over? It is! Isn’t it? Or was it just a horrible marathon media dream that wouldn’t end? It’s over, I think.

What’s Attorney General Eric Holder doing? Is he hinting there will be federal charges? What? More media coverage?

Had I watched one more second of the 24/7 Zimmerman trial coverage, I may have gone insane.

If you haven’t heard of it, you and a couple of slugs must have been living under a rock.

The Florida murder case that created a media frenzy, came down to a jury’s decision on two opposing narratives.

Did an overzealous, cop-want-to-be George Zimmerman profile, stalk and murder Trayvon Martin, an innocent black teenager?

Or did a conscientious neighborhood watch citizen, in an area with recent break-ins, legally stand his ground, lethally firing his gun while fighting for his life?

Or was it something in the middle — a tragic outcome to a confrontation that both parties could have avoided?

Everyone seems to have an opinion, a take. You’ve already heard about a billion opinions, so I won’t bother you with one more.

My take is instead on the endless, wall-to-wall, bordering on certifiable coverage of this story by the national media.

It’s as if nothing else on Earth had happened during this trial. It’s true! Just ask the national follow-the-pack news media!

What a perfect time for a politician to have a scandal break. No one would have heard a word!

It really makes you wonder if what the national news media is showing you on a daily basis is the only news worthy of consumption.

This unceasing coverage fell in line with previous mega media trials like O.J.,  Scott Peterson, Casey Anthony, Jodi Arias and Justin Bieber ... oh yeah ... that one’s coming. Sometime.

Coming up next: A special Jeopardy! on the Zimmerman trial.

Let the feeding frenzy begin!

Like sharks in the water, the media tore this story apart until there were no angles left to devour.

Dylan Byers, a media reporter at Politico, ripped the media’s lack of responsible coverage saying, “Instead they seem to be taking advantage of a storyline that is much more akin to a fictional crime drama, and they’re going wall to wall to a degree that is exhausting.” Here, here!

This just in: Bette Midler is preparing a statement.

The relentless media coverage has dropped off a bit, but still hasn’t stopped. Everyone’s got to have a reaction … a comment. Protests are being staged. It’s the never-ending coverage of a never-ending story.

I can’t be the only one having Zimmerman trial fatigue? But I guess this isn’t the way the national media views the general public.

Breaking: Weather Channel’s post-verdict rioting forecast calls for pain.

In the decision rooms at CNN, FOX, MSNBC, NBC, CBS and ABC, the power players must have been pounding the table,  barking, “MUST HAVE MORE ZIMMERMAN TRIAL! MUST! No one will outdo our coverage!”

Through this competition, a blanket of trial coverage descended across our nation.

Zimmerman Jury Verdict Watch!

The fatigue of the media feeding frenzy peaked when the jury hunkered down in deliberation. The media would not leave the coverage for a second! Half the planet could have blown up and they would not have left the coverage!

The media talking heads actually ran out of things to say. But, they tried. They worked it from every conceivable angle.

My eyes were dazed, my jaw dropped, drool started to drip from my deadpan expression, flipping through the channels ... trial, trial, trial! I thought, what is happening with today’s media?

It’s a Category 5!

Across the bottom of each national media outlet was a slogan: “Zimmerman Trial Verdict Watch!” It was kind of like a waiting for a hurricane — and this was a Category 5 media TV trial!

Just in: The jury had lasagna with eggplant for lunch. Curiously, two of the jurors skipped dessert. What does that mean?

Analyzing  jurors

The jurors had a bullet-point analysis run on each of their profiles and how they answered questions during jury selection.

Juror No.4B has two kids, used to work at a Denny’s, but interestingly, never ate there.

Juror No. 14A once had a gun permit, but it expired. She enjoys reading crime novels but hates housewife reality shows. Curiously, she eats her peas one by one with a fork. What does that mean?

Our paid experts will debate it for hours!

This just in: Dolly Parton has no comment.

Most of the news shows feature guest  lawyers, second-guessing every trial decision.

“The bonehead prosecution screwed up here! I would have poured it on that witness! Is the judge prejudicial to the defense?”

But, these news show lawyers were downright giddy … it’s just a big, fun game to them! They scream at each other and they giggle, slap each other’s backs, grin and nod knowingly while talking about common courtroom frustrations. It’s like a party at a lawyers’ convention! One of the lawyers even said he enjoys lawyer jokes. Well, it’s probably because he doesn’t get ’em.

Also, is it just me or are there a lot of TV lawyer guests who are former beauty queens?

After watching this attorney carnival, you start thinking to yourself, “I can about do this as well they can!” Just backseat drive and speculate. Keep your lips moving. We’ve got time!

This just in: President Barack Obama is now on the back nine. He’ll make a comment when he completes his round.

I’m not saying there shouldn’t be coverage of TV court cases. Especially ones that represent larger societal issues. But 24/7?

A lot of court cases affect everyone’s lives, like the Supreme Court case on health care. But how many people do you hear talking about that?

Tragedies take place every minute of every day, yet the national media somehow picks the winners and losers of what to cover.

The national media’s lack of balance and perspective on what it covers, and what it doesn’t, is astonishing.

It’s a media “pack mentality” that needs to be broken. If just one national media outlet would break the mold and cover everything else going on in the world, while not completely ignoring the hot story, it would clearly stand out.

Everywhere you walk, people are asking you, “So what’s your take on the the big court case?”

I’ll say, “Well, I think Loni Anderson got too much. Everyone knows  Burt Reynolds was the cash cow in that marriage.”

“No! The Zimmerman case!” they’ll exclaim. Then they accuse me of being difficult.

I’m not being difficult. I’m just fatigued from a media feeding frenzy!

Now, if you’ll excuse me, there’s a special Jeopardy! on the Zimmerman trial. I think by osmosis, I’m going to clean up on this one.