The View from Mudsock Heights: Memories of a Big, National, Overly Covered Trial

By Dennis Dennis | Posted at 18:48

This month saw the end of another murder trial that was covered by the news media as if it were of vast national importance. I’ve always puzzled over how this case and not that one is chosen for close and continuing scrutiny, and I’ve concluded it is the same phenomenon that causes the goldfish to erupt in a feeding frenzy over this flake of fish food and not that one.

Some crimes, though, have an aspect that does suggest that they will and perhaps should be covered extensively, if for no other reason than to demonstrate that no one is too rich or famous to be above the law (or that some are so rich and famous as to be above the law).

They come to mind: the O.J. Simpson case, of course, and Martha Stewart; the Rhode Island society trial of Klaus von Bulow on charges that he had tried to kill his wife. This kind of thing has been around for as long as there have been media to cover it. Every few years there’s a brand new “trial of the century,” going right back to the first decade of the last century, when Harry Thaw shot the architect Stanford White to death on the roof at the old Madison Square Garden. White had been a little too friendly with Thaw’s wife, the “actress” Evelyn Nesbitt. Thaw was ultimately found not guilty by reason of insanity.

These trials feed, too, our prurient interest, and a history of movies, plays, books, and television programs stands as proof that crime and punishment always fascinate.

Nor have I any right to criticize this. My own modest career benefited greatly from a “trial of the century.”

The defendant was Jean Harris, headmistress of the posh Madeira School in McLean, Virginia, who on March 10, 1980, had shot her paramour, Dr. Herman Tarnower, four times, killing him. Harris was notable because her suburban Washington school educated many Congressional children. Tarnower was famous because he had written a best-selling diet book. Harris was charged with second-degree murder (in New York, first-degree murder is very narrowly defined, and rare). The trial was a circus.

It lasted 14 weeks, not counting the more than two weeks the jury deliberated.

I had just started work as a writer and editor at WOR Radio in New York. My work week was Wednesday through Friday. The trial took place in White Plains, where I lived. So on my two days off I went to the courthouse, watched, and phoned in updates. (Never up for feeding frenzies, WOR did not have anyone assigned to the trial.) Soon, during the days I was at work, my girlfriend went to the trial, and phoned me with the latest.

After a couple weeks of this, my news director, the great Reg Laite, assigned me to the trial full-time and, more significant, said I was cleared to go on the air. This was a very big deal — newswriters normally faced a huge obstacle in making the leap to having their voices on the radio.

It was a great assignment. But then the case went to the jury. Day after day the jurors filed in, deliberated, and filed out without reaching a verdict. The crowd of media folk grew and grew. Jimmy Breslin was there. A little baby Meredith Vieira, just started at Channel 2 in New York, was there. If memory serves, Brian Williams, then also from Channel 2, was there. Geraldo Rivera was there, of course. The networks were there. “Nightline” devoted programs to the trial, and this was back when people watched “Nightline.” National Public Radio’s Nina Totenberg was there, and before it was all over, “All Things Considered” broadcast its entire show from the lobby of the Westchester County Courthouse.

The media crowd grew but, with the jury out, there was no news: more and more people with less and less to say. The first few days we all reported on how there was no verdict yet. Then we reported on what the lawyers had to say (which was nothing) about the meaning of the extended deliberations. Then we reported on each other — what reporters were doing to pass the time.

The middle of the second week, an enterprising reporter had some teeshirts made up, which he sold. On the front they said, “Intent?” and on the back, “Free the Tarnower Press Corps!” (The defense had offered the theory that Harris meant to kill herself, not Tarnower, which might have made sense if she had shot him once — but four times?)

I spent awhile scoping out the courthouse, because if there were a verdict sometime, there would be a race to the telephones — cellular phones did not exist in 1981. There were no phones on the floor where the Harris courtroom was, but there were on the floors above and below. I had decided to run up the stairs, because everyone else would head down.

Finally there was indeed a verdict: guilty. I ran upstairs — and the door was locked. So I ran up two more floors, found a phone, and called in.

The 5 p.m. newscast had just begun. I was put immediately on the air with Lester Smith, the dean of New York radio newsmen. I gasped out the verdict. Lester ad-libbed a little to let me catch my breath. Then I told the story of the verdict, the mood in the courtroom, and so on.

We were, by a couple minutes, the first on the air with the story.

It was the most satisfying feeling, ever. Well, for me — Jean Harris wasn’t as pleased.

Dennis E. Powell is crackpot-at-large to Open for Business. Powell was an award-winning reporter in New York and elsewhere before moving to Ohio and becoming a full-time crackpot. You can reach him at dep@drippingwithirony.com.


banh trung thu yen sao

Đây là dòng bánh trung thu cao cấp duy nhất trong nước. Bánh trung thu cao cấp Yến Sào Khánh Hòa sử dụng các nguồn nguyên liệu hoàn toàn là các món cao cấp như : yến sào, hải sâm, vi cá, trứng muối, mứt gừng, mứt bí… Đây hoàn toàn là nguồn nguyên liệu cao cấp và được chế biến với công thức riêng được nghiên cứu tỉ lệ kỹ lưởng để tạo ra một chiếc bánh thung thu thơm ngon, vừa ăn và không bị ngấy do ăn nhiều. Bánh đặc trưng với vị đậm đà nhờ phần gia vị đã được ủ và thấm đều kỹ càng, đây là một trong những đặc trưng mà các hiệu bánh trung thu khác không có được.

Posted by banh trung thu yen sao - Jul 5, 2017 | 7:08


Re: The View from Mudsock Heights: Memories of a Big, National, Overly Covered Trial

Với các thành phần đặc biệt quý giá từ thiên nhiên như yến sào, vi cá, hải sâm; Bánh Trung thu cao cấp Yến sào Sanest Moon Cake banh trung thu yen sao khanh hoa là sự kết hợp hài hòa giữa nguồn nguyên liệu ngoại nhập và nguyên liệu truyền thống, giữa công nghệ hiện đại và bí quyết kỹ thuật cổ truyền. Bánh Trung thu cao cấp Yến sào Sanest Moon Cake banh trung thu yen sao được sản xuất trên dây chuyền công nghệ khép kín hiện đại nhất, được nhập khẩu từ Đài Loan, theo hệ thống quản lý chất lượng quốc tế ISO 9001:2008 và HACCP. Chi cục An toàn vệ sinh thực phẩm - Sở Y tế Khánh Hòa đã xác nhận công bố hợp quy sản phẩm Bánh Trung thu cao cấp yến sào của Công ty Yến sào Khánh Hòa.

Posted by Thanh - Aug 17, 2017 | 7:31

Re: The View from Mudsock Heights: Memories of a Big, National, Overly Covered Trial

The reason for the body so that my life has a lot of restrictions, and the so-called way out in my understanding is to break through obstacles are the way. No matter what kind of person you are, always someone can afford you, some people look down on you. So that people who like their own can afford, but also a success, others do not give up before you, not can not give Nike Mens Shoes Outlet up their own, but no right Wholesale Nike Air Max Shoes to give up their own. Do not give yourself any excuse, uphold this belief, you can cut off the road, only the continuous efforts to go beyond their own beliefs in order to harvest their own success. Pay must be harvested, Mens Air Jordan and the harvest is good or bad, do not look for objective reasons, do not go to shirk their duties, courage to deal with reality, life is always ups and downs, without fear, later excited, only to pay to harvest, The beauty of the errand. Shi Tiesheng fell, no legs, which for anyone who is a heavy blow. But he did not Authentic Nike Air Max Shoes lose confidence in life, but with their own brains and hands to express the infinite love of life. People's life, do not know how much to encounter rough and hardships. A lot of things are happening unexpectedly. And frail I am more brave to face difficulties, choose to go strong. To learn not to complain, do not complain, sometimes, the situation is not very good, will complain, like the sea always whispered whimpering there. If so as to keep complaining about life, complaining about people and things around, then will live very tired, Nike Dunk SB Mens very tired, one day, will be abandoned by life. Life on the road wind and rain, everywhere is thorny, only to struggle, to struggle, will have flowers and applause waiting for us. Celebrities say that frustration is an abyss for the incompetent, and for those who dare to face setbacks, it is a successful tiptoe stone. Junior high school graduates no longer go to school, the lack of a lot of knowledge, experience, only at home self-study. Heavenly pay, paid hard and hard to get paid. To overcome the difficulties, can stick to it, that is, winners. If Authentic Nike Shoes the wise man is not hard and will become stupid. Those who are not clever will become clever if they are diligent. Whether it is learning or work, hard work in order to achieve better results.

Posted by solo - Aug 25, 2017 | 6:02


Re: The View from Mudsock Heights: Memories of a Big, National, Overly Covered Trial

Remind yourself that, despite your problems, you are a unique, special, and valuable person, and that you deserve to feel good about yourself. You are, after all, a miracle of consciousness, the consciousness of the universe. Identify and challenge any negative thoughts about yourself such as ‘I am loser’, ‘I never do anything right’, or ‘No one really likes me’
getintopc

Posted by JamesWilliams - Sep 17, 2017 | 10:53

Please enter your comment entry below. Press 'Preview' to see how it will look.

Name:
Sign In to Your Account
User Name:
Password:
Location:
Homepage:
E-mail:
Subject:
:mrgreen: :neutral: :twisted: :arrow: :shock: :smile: :???: :cool: :evil: :grin: :idea: :oops: :razz: :roll: :wink: :cry: :eek: :lol: :mad: :sad: :!: :?:
Home About Connect: Twitter Facebook RSS
© 2001-2012 Universal Networks, All Rights Reserved. Some content rights may be held by Universal Networks' providers and used under license. Powered by ServerForest and SAFARI. Learn about our privacy policy here.