The news media have faced some criticism (really?!) for near round-the-clock coverage of the trial of George Zimmerman, accused of murdering a Florida teen. Washington Post columnist Kathleen Parker provides some perspective:
The Zimmerman trial is riveting not because two men got in a scuffle and one of them died or because one was a teenager and the other an armed adult. It is that one was black, the supposed victim of a profiling vigilante, and the other white. …
The point: Media are only interested in stories involving tension, whatever its underpinnings. And, inarguably, the media are providing what people, too, most care about. One Google trends chart “of interest over time” shows that people are more focused on the Zimmerman trial than they are on Egypt or the fate of Mohamed Morsi.
It is pointless to blame the media for essentially doing their job — providing information the public wants. Our attention, thus, would be more appropriately aimed at our own prurience and, given the human appetite for same, the court’s responsibility in protecting the defendant’s right to as fair a trial as possible.
Free market. And all that.