Some quotes from
Jackson case just too much of a trial?
Robin Abcarian, April 11, 2005 LA Times
The taboo nature of the allegations against the pop superstar may have helped mute public interest in the details.
Bill Bastone, co-founder and editor of the Smoking Gun, a website that posts legal documents, is perplexed about readers' reaction to his Michael Jackson child-molestation trial coverage. In February, the site obtained and published sealed grand jury testimony in the case, scooping the national media as it has done in a number of celebrity cases over the last several years. But the Smoking Gun's readers, said Bastone, were unmoved.
"Any kind of feedback that we've gotten has been pretty negative,"
he said. [...]
As the trial in Santa Maria has become more graphic — particularly in the last week, when a former security guard testified in detail about a sexual act he claimed to have seen Jackson perform on a naked 10-year-old boy more than a decade ago — what some have called the story's "ick factor" has lowered the appetite of listeners, viewers and readers nationwide.
At People magazine, which devoted five covers to the Peterson murder trial, deputy managing editor Larry Hackett said his staff has struggled to find a way to cover the Jackson trial.
Not all news outlets have experienced Jackson trial fatigue. Court TV, which is devoting significant time to covering the Jackson trial, has experienced a spike in viewership of 150% over the same period last year, which the cable network's executive vice president of daytime programming, Marlene Dann, attributes largely to interest in the Jackson case.
But even that does not rival the public fascination with the Scott Peterson trial, said Dann, when Court TV got a record number of viewers.
The case continues to be a staple on local talk radio, which has never met a celebrity trial it could not embrace.
[...] Bill Handel, whose weekday show on KFI attracts high ratings, said his listeners haven't found the Jackson trial as compelling as previous high-profile cases.
Bernard Pendergrass, assistant program director at KABC-AM (790), said the trial continues to be a staple among the talk station's hosts.
KABC host Al Rantel said he focuses on the trial at least once a week, but
Indeed, CNN's Klein said he is becoming known among his staff for railing against coverage of the trial during the network's morning editorial meetings.
"It's been a project to wean our producers from a sense they must cover every twitch of the story in prime time," he said. "The television news business has become so debased in the past couple of decades that producers who ought to know better find themselves covering stories they don't like at all and don't stop to ask, 'If I don't like it, what makes me think the viewers would like it?' I'm trying to get them to ask that question."
Times staff writer Matea Gold and freelance writer Steve Carney contributed to this report.