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Television news networks plunged into coverage of the Dr. Conrad Murray verdict Monday afternoon, with high hopes of scoring an O.J.-esque moment.
They were counting on a blast of national adrenaline as the steady hand of justice meted out responsibility in Jacksonâ€™s seemingly avoidable 2009 death.
What they got was closer to the infamous TV evening when Geraldo Rivera broke into Al Caponeâ€™s vault and found nothing.
CNN, Fox News, Headline News and MSNBC all spent at least an hour outside the courtroom before the verdict Michael Kors Clutches was read, convicting Murray of involuntary manslaughter in the King of Popâ€™s death.
But if network honchos were hoping for a powerful, ratings-boosting crescendo,Michael Kors Factory Outlet Cheap Michael Kors Han, that would have meant first waking most viewers up. By the time the verdict was finally read, about Michael Kors Crossbody 20 minutes later than originally promised, the reporters and analysts Michael Kors Purse Outlet were deep into reruns.
Sheppard Smith of Fox News kept bringing up the O.J. Simpson case, less because of legal similarities than his clear hope that some of the O.J. magic â€• meaning all-consuming national fascination with what Michael Kors Outlet Houston was about to happen â€• would somehow return to the same courthouse.
Michael Jackson fans cheer after Conrad Murray’s conviction Michael Kors Outlet was announced. (Bret Hartman/AP)
Smith also admitted, however, that this case involved â€śa much smaller scaleâ€ť of interest, particularly outside of the immediate families and the City of Angels.
This was too bad for L.A., it should be noted, because that town really knows how to throw a trial and a verdict. Whether the court system has gone to school on nearby Hollywood or not, L.A. promotes major trials the way â€śAmerican Idolâ€ť promotes a results show.
The only trouble is that the greatest promotion in the world still requires content, and the cable news networks were reduced to not much more than vamping.
MSNBC had Martin Bashir talking about how artificial insemination statutes are different in Britain. Jane Velez Mitchell of Headline News was saying this verdict would make history, and wasnâ€™t it interesting that Michael Jackson once made an album called â€śHIStory.â€ť
Dr. Drew Pinsky on CNN was concerned that Murray was practicing medicine outside his specialty â€• a subject covered only about 10,000 times during the trial.
Significantly, the broadcast networks and channels all waited until the verdict was announced to cut into their regular programming. They were in and out in less time than it used to take Jackson to moonwalk across a stage.
That approach seemed about commensurate with public interest,Michael Kors Handbags Outlet , which in turn suggests it wasnâ€™t really the cable news networksâ€™ fault that they were talking with great animation to a relatively modest core of viewers.
While Jackson had tens of millions of fans, and there were certainly strong opinions about Murrayâ€™s actions the night of Michael Kors Outlet Online the singerâ€™s death, the case sparked nothing like the intense, visceral feelings many Americans had on, say,Michael Kors Outlet Cheap Michael Kors Handbags Outlet Online (30), the O.J. case.
The cable news networks were there because thatâ€™s what they do. But when Murray was convicted, there was more a sense of sadness than any swift show of justice â€• and sadness doesnâ€™t make for great television.