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Some observations on media coverage of the Nanny case. This case has demonstrated that trial coverage is becoming very much like political coverage, with the focus on who is ahead, who is behind, who wins and who loses. This was particularly evident during the testimony of the defense witnesses, especially defendant Louise Woodward (every nonverbal behavior of this woman was microscopically analyzed over the weekend during the break in her cross-examination). First, everyone is ripping the defense (and usually making reference to Barry Scheck, who was not even the lead attorney) for not going with the lesser included charge of manslaughter. If I am a defendant, and I firmly believe I didn't commit a crime, should I risk the jury having the "compromise" option of manslaughter, and then being serving time and being branded a felon for the rest of my life? On tonight's (Friday) Fox News, host Bill O'Reilly chided the defense for not taking the plea bargain (supposedly a plea of guilty of involuntary manslaughter in return for time served) even though the defendant insisted she was innocent. Should innocence be so easily traded? Second, coverage of the trial assumes that the jury was trying to find a compromise. How do we know? No jury member has revealed what went on in the jury room. We have no real idea of what went on, yet the pundits on Fox, Court TV, CNN, New England Cable News, etc., assume that was what the jury was trying to do. Maybe most jury members started with 1st degree murder and were talked down to 2nd degree murder. Third, these news outlets are trying drum up more drama by suggesting that Judge Zobel will overturn the verdict next week. While he may, in the last two decades, he has only intervened in interfering with a jury decision twice, thus making his intervention next week highly unlikely. Fourth, part of the motivation for drumming up this drama comes from the fact that the pundits blew it. Each outlet, while careful to not be too definitive, strongly suggested that Louise Woodward would be acquitted. Yet, she was found guilty of 2nd degree murder. These pundits (for example, Johnny Cochran and Rikki Kleiman) then indicated how they thought the judge would have "the courage" to overturn the verdict that they had not predicted. It's too bad, because, aside from the commentary, the trial itself showed tremendous lawyering on both sides. Anyway, enough soapbox. Rod Carveth University of Bridgeport email@example.com