Huge Media Interest In Huguely Trial: A Question of Race?


More than 200 reporters, photographers, and TV producers are credentialed to cover the George Huguely-Yeardley Love murder trial in Charlottesville, Va., says the Washington Post. Among those who've registered to cover it are representatives from the three broadcast networks' morning shows, CNN, “48 hours,” “Dateline,” “20/20,” the New York Times, the New York Post, the Wall Street Journal and several authors researching books on the case. The Times of London is covering it, too. (Huguely and victim Love were young white college students.)

The only thing that's stopped the case from turning into a full-blown circus is Judge Edward Hogshire’s decision to ban TV cameras from his courtroom. Why, in a nation that averages more than 15,000 murders a year, do a few crimes or trials gain such attention? Scot Safon of the HLN cable network denies that factors such as the race, wealth, age and telegenic qualities of the victim or the accused are critical, but the Post says the almost all of the media spectacles surrounding crime and punishment have involved young white women, celebrities, or wealthy people. Says Northeastern University criminologist James Alan Fox: “Most readers and viewers are white. They identify with crimes involving white people. When it's a black person, unfortunately, they don't identify with the victim.”

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