freeSpeech: L. Lin Wood

It's quiet now, but don't be fooled – another media frenzy is just around the corner.

It may take a few weeks or a few months — or maybe just the next slow news cycle — but it will happen again just as it has happened in the past.

O.J. Simpson, JonBenét Ramsey, Chandra Levy, Laci Peterson. A partial role call of media frenzies.

John Mark Karr was added to the list, as the morning talk shows and 24/7 cable networks saw their ratings soar as the image of Mr. Karr being paraded in front of cameras in Thailand was played over and over again.

And with each media frenzy, the same old "talking heads" resurface for another 15 minutes of fame and are introduced as experts instead of being correctly recognized as uninformed windbags who likely would never be allowed to testify in a court of law.

But the media frenzy does not care. It will substitute itself for the system of justice. And each morning and each night will deliver a guilty or not guilty verdict to the viewers. Never mind that the verdict will be based on speculation, rumor, gossip, or hearsay. Never mind that most of the so-called facts will be wrong.

The media frenzy drives ratings and ratings drive profits. Truth is too often too boring.

A word of caution: When the next media frenzy dominates your television screen, be skeptical perhaps to the point of disbelief. Or better yet, turn off the television and read a good book.



L. Lin Wood has 29 years experience as a trial lawyer focusing on civil litigation, representing individuals and corporations as plaintiffs or defendants in tort and business cases involving claims of significant damage. Mr. Wood also has extensive experience in First Amendment litigation and management of the media in high profile cases.
  • Melissa McNamara

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