Intriductions and Conclusions

Does the fate of the accused lie in the hands of our judges and juries, or the media?

    Media’s influence on public opinion has been evident since television was invented.   Whether it is a local news reporter informing us of the daily happenings, or an entertainment reporter with the dish on what’s hot in Hollywood, society is undoubtedly influenced by the media.   And that fact doesn’t change when media is allowed inside the courtroom.

    When OJ Simpson was on trial for the murder of his estranged wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, the judge granted media access inside the courtroom.   Many believed this proved to be more beneficial to the defendant than to the victims’ families.   Although the judge in Scott Peterson’s murder trial would not allow cameras inside the courtroom, there have been reports the defendant was convicted by society long before he was found guilty by his jury.   Regardless of how the media influences the public, the fact remains:   Media greatly influences public opinion.

    How will this affect future trials?   In Florida, Orlando mother Casey Anthony will soon be on trial for the murder of her daughter, Caylee.   If the judge allows the media access inside the courtroom, society will have a firsthand account into the daily proceedings of the trial.   The public will be kept informed of the trial by getting a bird’s eye view of the drama as it unfolds.   If the judge chooses not to allow media inside the courtroom, however, Anthony could either gain or lose a powerful resource.

Public opinion influences the media as well.   The media tends to alter its tone to suit its viewers.

Media in the courtroom ensures the accused a fair trial, and provides public awareness to citizens.