The three ring circus that was the Scott Peterson trial crossed the line between reality and make-believe. And it’s not something we should be proud of.
As a matter of fact; how we responded to the Scott Peterson trial is as much a tragedy as was the crime that brought him to trial.
The heinous crime of murder, of a young woman who was carrying a near-term baby, all of a sudden became entertainment for the masses.
If this is what television, or more specifically, what television news has evolved to, it makes a most unflattering statement on the human condition.
The trial of Scott Peterson went from a carriage of justice, to just another reality television show where people lost sight of the crime and the human loss.
As a society, we seem to have crossed the line where we can no longer recognize what is real, and what is make-believe.
The personal catastrophe that befell Laci Peterson and her family, plus the family of Scott Peterson, has become nothing more than entertainment for the masses.
I weep for a society that has transcended the boundaries of human decency, to the point where someone’s extreme pain, is now someone else’s extreme viewing pleasure.
It harkens back to the days of the Roman Emperors and the blood sports of the Colosseum, where the masses exhorted the Emperor to give the thumbs up or the thumbs down verdict?
The television networks should be ashamed (but are not) of themselves for the way they’ve converted a horrendous crime into what they’ve presented to their viewers as real news (entertainment).
This of course includes the daily on-air polling:
Is defense attorney Geragos winning?
Is the prosecutor’s case weak?
Do you believe it was only a coincidence that Peterson was fishing where his dead wife’s body was found?
Is Peterson guilty?
Should Peterson be given the death penalty?
The only thing missing from this insult is a prize for the viewer whose views are closest to the outcome.
The prosecutor could have spent a fraction of the time he took presenting his case against Scott Peterson, but that would have shortened his time in the spotlight.
The judge could have ordered a speedier presentation by the prosecutor. But didn’t. That would have afforded him less time in the spotlight as well. And he could have ordered the television cameras out of the courtroom sparing us the daily spectacle.
Ask yourself: Was there anything in this trial that served the public’s NEED to know, or the public’s legitimate interests?
Was this trial fundamentally any different than the thousands of other murder trials that are conducted annually throughout the USA? So why all the interest in who killed Laci Peterson and her unborn son?
I am 100% positive that television could do to any personal tragedy, what television did to the Peterson tragedy. And because of the ratings success of this new “real” reality show, television will make certain there will much more of it.
If we as a society can not separate what is real misery, to what is just television entertainment like the Survivor series; we’re in trouble.
What makes our unique system of government work is reality. And if people are going to be fed a steady diet of reality television where they can’t tell the difference between what is real and what is make-believe, our system will self-destruct.
Just look at the politicians who depend more upon their polling, marketing, public relations, spin and make-over people than they do upon the policy wonks.
A perfect example who almost got away with it was John Kerry.
Soon however; they’ll all get away with it, because what is real, and what is contrived will all become one in the same. Most of us won’t be able to tell the difference.
And if you don’t believe me, just check out the ratings for the Scott Peterson REALITY Show.