June7, 2002


Why gavel-to-gavel coverage?

I am sorry, but I just don’t get it. I don’t understand why we need to have gavel-to-gavel coverage of the Danielle van Dam murder trial on television, radio and on the front pages of daily newspapers!

I mean, where is the newsworthiness of this coverage? How does this murder trial impact our daily lives? Where does the van Dam case rate in relationship to the threat of nuclear war, terrorism, housing crises, corporate corruption and energy issues? Yet, turn on the television anytime throughout the day and what are you bombarded with?

So, why cover the case in such detail? Simple - sex sells, and this case is rife with stories of wife swapping, girl-on-girl innuendos, drugs, and, of course, the murder of a little girl. The media is more than happy to bring this sordid story into our homes while desensitizing us to the horrific facts of the case.

And what does this say about us, a society that sits glued to our televisions, and/or radios, absorbing every detail? Is it feeding some sort of voyeuristic appetite within us? Does it make our lives seem just a little better? And how will the lives of the witnesses, who will be paraded before the cameras, be changed forever?

In time, the sensationalism of the trial will wear off. For the next three months we will hear the same story over and over, and then the media will find something else that sells. In the meantime, the real story about a little girl who was murdered will get buried.

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