If George Zimmerman goes to trial for shooting Trayvon Martin in Florida, “it has the potential to be as big as the O. J. Simpson trial — and just as divisive,” CNN’s Piers Morgan tells the New York Times. Already, the fallout from the killing has become a prolonged and politically controversial news story. Along with giving Americans a shared national conversation, “it has filled the void left by a political process that lacks excitement or suspense,” said Jonathan Wald, Morgan’s executive producer.
“The electronic media is thankful that this took place in Florida,” said Jeffrey Toobin, The New Yorker staff writer and CNN legal analyst, “because Florida has the most open rules in the country about cameras in the courtroom.” The Zimmerman trial almost certainly would be televised live on channels like HLN, a sibling of CNN that showed the Casey Anthony trial. HLN set a ratings record the day Anthony was judged not guilty of killing her daughter. “Could this be the trial of the decade?” the MSNBC host Ed Schultz asked, in a clip satirized by “The Daily Show.” One of that show's correspondents, John Oliver, joked, “People are already calling it the trial of the millennium.”