Tag Archives: Rodney King beating

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.”  http://www.amazon.com/The-Honeycomb-Adela-Rogers-Johns/dp/0451063503. 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.

Trial Do’s and Don’ts ‘Suggestions’

Orientation —

 Rules and guidelines for the press.

Will they all heed them?


Starting with the 1992 Rodney King beating trial, the first high-profile in which I was involved as a court-media liaison, I prepared a list of court and trial policies and rules and held a meeting in advance with the media who planned to cover the trial. Each trial after that, and there were several, the list and the meeting was more detailed and sophistic. By the time the Simpson case was underway, the rules and guidelines was in the form of a booklet and the meetings was an “orientation”. Although we urged attendance and indicated that failure to do so could result in consequences, such as the possibility of less than favorable courtroom seating during the trial. But even attending the orientation and getting the booklet didn’t guarantee that they would (1) look at the booklet or (2) be mindful of the contents.

Do You Remember Where You Were?

I sure do remember where I was when this happened.

VIDEO: 19th anniversary of the OJ Simpson white Bronco low-speed chase (archival photos)  http://www.scpr.org/news/2013/06/17/37767/video-19th-anniversary-of-the-oj-simpson-white-bro/


As the Los Angeles Superior Court information officer and media liaison with Rodney King-beating and Menendez brothers trials under my belt, I was soon to learn what a real media tsunami was.