QUOTE (MJDANCER123 @ Aug 20 2004, 09:23 AM)
I waited outside building "F" at the courthouse to get my first ever media badge as a reporter for TheJusticeSystem.net. I couldn't have known then what was about to happen to me. I was immediately brought into the ranks of some of the most influential reporters and commentators of our time. I sat right in the midst of the folks who report the news - whether we like what they say or not. Here are my personal reflections of the experience.
I found running into the big media players amazing, since we here on MJJF talk about these people everyday:
Mike Taibbi - NBC. A gentleman.
Art Harris - CNN. Front row seat.
Linda Deutch - AP. The Grand Dame.
She was very nice, and, even as she was talking to the sea of reporters waiting to get into court, I didn't hear her say one rude or untrue word. She was polite and she welcomed me aboard. "If you have any questions, just ask me," she said.
William Longeness - Fox News.
He had his daughter with him. He asked me if I was a lawyer reporter, saying he was "naked" and had no one in the court room to be his eyes while he did his reports outside. I told him I was just a new cub reporter for the http://www.thejusticesystem.net
, and he asked if I could do color commentary for him. I wasn't able to do that this time, but look forward to future opportunities like this.
Laurie Levenson - Loyola Law School Professor.
She talked to reporters as if she were at a PTA meeting and not a court hearing. That surprised me. I was all eyes and ears! Laurie talked about the same everyday issues we all face: kids, school, and what the family did on vacation. I'm sure that's normal, since being at a court hearing was just no big thing to them.
Jane Velez-Mitchell - Celebrity Justice.
Diane Dimond - Court TV.
They were conversing while we were waiting for the afternoon session to begin. Velez-Mitchell was gushing over Dimond's ability to just go out before the cameras and start talking without even taking notes! During this conversation, Dimond and Velez-Mitchell talked about everything but the major bombshell of the day: Sneddon admitting that he lied about knowing Bradley Miller worked for Geragos, and that he knew this fact before the search! That was not mentioned by these two. But when a reporter whom I don't know leaned toward the two women and began to eavesdrop, Dimond turned to the reporter and said, "Excuse me, but I'm trying to have a conversation here. You need to lean back."
Sharing unguarded moments with these people I've heard so much about was almost surreal. Many of them stated they were from the OJ Simpson media, and some of them called this a "wannabe trial of the century!!" (Their words, not mine.) In the Courtroom, Diane Dimond audibly expressed her displeasure at Sneddon's slip-ups and misstatements on the stand. In one exchange, she admonished Sneddon under her breath saying, "Oh you shouldn't have said that." Another time she groaned, "Why doesn't Mesereau just stop asking so many questions?" She also said that Sneddon and his team looked like undertakers. (Her words, not mine.) Diane being Diane.
I also overheard Attorney David Cole say to Laurie Levenson that he wanted to watch Mez take Sneddon apart. Levenson, However, later told a reporter outside that she felt Sneddon's credibility was bruised, but didn't think the defense would win this one.
A few things struck me as strange. One thing Sneddon said in the morning was that he knew Mark Geragos only because of Laci Peterson and Winona Ryder. He said that the only thing he knew about that was that Mr. Geragos' client (Ryder) got convicted. What? No Susan McDougal? It's kind of scary to think that a man in Sneddon's position could be aware of current events only at the level of the Winona Ryder trial. Isn't it a shame we can't hold our county legal representatives to a higher intellectual standard?
I also found it odd that a reporter from Entertainment Tonight, a celebrity driven television show, asked me for basic information about the Jackson family. For example, he wanted to know who from the family was there at court? He didn't know who Grace was, and he didn't know Karen Faye. He also asked if all the members of the Jackson Five were there. I had no response to those questions. Then he asked if LaToya was back on board. I said, " According to reports, she has been on board for years since her divorce from Jack Gordon. The situation in her personal life caused her to make some bad decisions. This is her way of setting the record straight." End of comment.
More than anything, I was struck by the incredibly genuine nature of Katherine Jackson. I ran into her in the ladies room, and found her to be a friendly, warm and open woman - exactly like her son! No surprises there! I was delighted to find that she is just a Mom who loves her children and wants the best for them, exactly as she represents herself to be.
All in all, it was a very exciting initiation into reporting. I will take away from this day a feeling of happiness in one sense, because I believe that the majority of reporters on the scene have changed their thinking since the charges were first filed. Many of them really do know that Michael is innocent. Off the record, they said they did not think Michael was a child molester.
But, in another sense, I feel great sadness. The truth about Michael and his family is going to cripple these people in their pocket books. I will not say that all reporters are bad people, but at least among the media professionals I met, it seems to me that ratings and getting the big story is more important than the life of a wonderful human being and the pain of his family. When I asked if they were going to report today's bombshell, they replied with smiles on their faces, "Why would we do that?" I answered, "Because its the truth!!!" But they repeated, "Why would we do that?"
And that folks is why we have TheJusticeSystem.net and MJJForum. We are not afraid to report the truth.
I was proud to represent TheJusticeSystem.net and to be able to bring this information to everyone at MJJForum. In the future, you can look for more reports from me. For that, I can thank Carol Davis, along with many of the veteran journalists who have been helpful to me.
We're planning some exciting coverage of the trial. No details out yet, but we'll cover the trial in a way that has never been done in the history of the media. Stay tuned.
Signing off for now, Gail Felix