After my extensive experience as a journalist and legal observer (I’ve put in hundreds if not thousands of hours watching top-notch crime dramas such as “Homicide: Life on the Streets,” “Law and Order” in regular, special, and extra-crunchy criminal flavors, “CSI” episodes set in venues as varies as Las Vegas, Miami, and New York City; not to mention formative undergraduate stints as a watcher of “Dragnet,” “Adam 12,” “Hawaii Five-O,” “Perry Mason,” “The Defenders,” and even “Burke’s Law“), I was unconvinced that Scott Peterson was guilty of anything but being a lying, conniving bastard (with a dash of sociopath thrown in). But that’s why we have a legal system in this country: to tell when people like that are also murderers. In any case, he’s guilty. At least until the case goes into overtime.
The best part of catching the verdict coverage early this afternoon (this can be read as an admission that I failed to occupy my time with more meaningful business; no need for a trial on that one) was the proliferation of mugging nitwits who showed up in the courthouse shots of every channel covering the story (I checked CNN, Court TV, MSNBC, and Fox News; the two specimens pictured here were captured on MSNBC). I mean, of course it’s nothing new. But it is kind of extraordinary that we’re all so conditioned to the presence of cameras that this kind of behavior — now apparently accompanied by cellphones, so we can talk to our buddies while we’re on screen — has become sort of automatic.