2,200 Journalists Await Michael Jackson Verdict

There are more journalists assembled in Los Angeles awaiting the Michael Jackson trial verdict than there were for the O.J. and Scott Peterson trials combined.

2,200 Journalists Await Jackson Verdict (AP)

About 2,200 members of the media have received credentials to cover Michael Jackson’s trial — more than the O.J. Simpson and Scott Peterson murder trials combined and enough to form a vast, humming tent city outside the modest courthouse. Reporters from every continent but Antarctica are covering a story that has attracted perhaps the largest-ever media contingent for a criminal trial. The satellite trucks and portable toilets function at all hours, since foreign correspondents must file past midnight to meet deadlines an ocean away.

Major TV networks have committed dozens of staff members. Nearly four miles of television cables snake around the complex. The explosion of phone calls that a verdict will trigger prompted some news organizations to install land lines for fear the region’s cell networks could become jammed.

What’s odd about this is that, in my perception at least, this trial has paled in comparison with the O.J. Trial, the last (only?) of these media-hyped trials that I actually followed closely. It seemed like the nation was glued to the television for every aspect of that one, starting with the infamous white Bronco slow chase. The Jackson trial has mostly been fodder for bad pedophilia jokes.

Perhaps my view is colored by the fact that I do most of my news gathering online these days and seldom watch television news, certainly compared to what I did only a few years ago.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. Mark says:

    Well, in all fairness, the MJ trial has not been televised. If it was, it is almost certain that all the news networks would have televised it.

  2. Zsa Zsa says:

    Those California jurors!… What can you say? If O.J. Simpson can be found innocent? I just think the judicial system is set up to protect the criminals…

  3. umm says:

    Protect the criminal? Be a minority in large city and get accused of a crime. 81% chance you will be found guilty even if you are innocent. 99% chance if you cannot afford an attorney. Naive people