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The Cold Filtered Ramblings of Gene Mueller

Why is the Jodi Arias trial a wall-to-wall cable news fascination?

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Someone is murdered and someone is accused of doing it.  Sadly, it happens almost every day in this country.

So why does one of these situations rise above the pile and capture a goodly share of national attention plus almost round-the-clock cable news coverage?

Sometimes there's celebrity sizzle--we love watching the famous and near-famous squirm.   That's not the case with the latest muder-of-the-century that's devouring hours of time on a channel who's last name is news, that being CNN's offshoot Headline News, or HLN for short.

They've done it before, making household names of the likes of Jane Velez Mitchell and Nancy Grace while generating big numbers.  There's an appetite out there for this stuff, and HLN is more than happy to feed the beast.

Courtroom drama is a TV staple--think "Perry Mason" or, more recently, "Law And Order".  Those are fiction, though, and they eat up network hours devoted to entertainment, when America shuts off it's brain and looks for a diversion.  Should real-life homicide be reduced to macabre reality TV with shrill hosts stoking public opinion, generating derisive names for participants and leading the rush to judgment?   More so, should it be happening on a station that's supposedly a news outlet?   Arias is certainly noteworthy, but is she wall-to-wall?   The exhaustive coverage leads a viewer to think there's nothing else going on in the world, that the only thing that matters is this ugly, lurid story about a young woman and her murdered boyfriend.   If only the globe were that sadly simple.

We vote with our remotes and the jury--pardon the pun--seems to be in: a bunch of Americans really are fascinated with this story, and HLN is guilty of nothing more than filling their need.





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