Birth of the “Media Circus” Debated

My Facebook Friend, and longtime actual friend, Linda Deutsch, posted this on the other day:

“Judge Lance Ito was a question on tonight’s Jeopardy. Some stories live forever!”

That prompted this comment from FB Friend (also longtime actual friend) Scott Shulman:

“The answer is…he pioneered the terminology, ‘Media Circus’.”

Having been on the high-profile court scene since the run-up to the 1992 Rodney King beating trial, I begged to differ with my wonderful friend Scott as I recall that trial also being called a media circus.

Since Linda Deutsch’s high-profile trial experience goes back to the 1970 Charles Manson case (she’s been with The Associated Press for more than 47 years), I asked her if that court scene was called a media circus. Linda reached back to the 1930s and the Charles Lindbergh baby kidnapping and murder case, which was dubbed “The Trial of the Century.” No verdict yet on whether it was referred to as a media circus.

The Lindbergh trial was indeed called “The Trial of the Century” (as were other trials of the 20th Century), as cited in Hearst newspapers reporter and best-selling author Adela Rogers St. Johns’ autobiography “The Honeycomb.” It might have been a circus, but I doubt if it was called a media circus, as the word media wasn’t ubiquitous in those pre-TV days like it is now.

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