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Jordan Reid

Author; Founding Editor, Ramshackle Glam

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Why Trump’s trial should be televised

Aug 10, 2023

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Former President Donald Trump has pleaded not guilty to four felony charges accusing him of attempting to overturn the 2020 election results. While a trial featuring the former president would appeal to many viewers, including some members of Congress, federal criminal courts prohibit the presence of cameras or recording devices in the courtroom.

Straight Arrow News contributor Jordan Reid says now is the time to bend the rules. Reid lays out crucial reasons why watching the trial unfold in real-time, instead of relying on interpretations of potentially biased journalists, is so important.

First, and to my mind, most importantly, we have grown into a culture where the press is deeply partisan. Fox, obviously, but, come on, your choice of mainstream news outlet will very likely impact your mindset on important issues up to and including the guilt of the former president.

So being able to watch those proceedings live, to unpack the evidence for ourselves, to hear testimony with our own ears, at least somewhat, assuages the risk that citizens will simply hear information from third parties.

Of course, of course, newscasters will still put their own spin on the recap of the day’s proceedings. That’s inevitable, but offering people the opportunity to see the evidence for themselves is unquestionably a step in the right direction.

Second, the trial is going to be a circus. Even if Trump supporters don’t show up en masse — which, given recent precedent, they just might not — the press is going to be just sheer madness outside that courthouse and some feel that if a single livestream camera is present in the courtroom, feeding live to various channels, that’ll take away some of the pandemonium, which, maybe, I don’t know.

Sometime late this year, or more likely early next year, hopefully early, the most consequential trial of our time perhaps of all time will be held. The very future of democracy is hanging in the balance. If Trump was acquitted on charges of election interference prior to the election, it could very well give him that precise, “see, they were out to get me” ammunition that he needs to win again. 

 

Interestingly, one topic that both sides of the aisle seem to agree on is that the proceedings should be televised for the public. This isn’t a given or necessarily even a probability, though, because federal court rules prohibit cameras in a criminal trial setting. But we need to suspend those rules, according to me, and also everyone from journalists to lawmakers. And here are the primary reasons they give.

 

First, and to my mind, most importantly, we have grown into a culture where the press is deeply partisan. Fox, obviously but, come on, your choice of mainstream news outlet will very likely impact your mindset on important issues up to and including the guilt of the former president. So being able to watch those proceedings live to unpack the evidence for ourselves to hear testimony with our own ears, at least somewhat assuages the risk that citizens will simply hear information from third parties. Of course, of course, newscasters will still put their own spin on the recap of the day’s proceedings. That’s inevitable, but offering people the opportunity to see the evidence for themselves is unquestionably a step in the right direction. 

 

Second, the trial is going to be a circus. Even if Trump supporters don’t show up en masse — which, given recent precedent, they just might not — the press is going to be just sheer madness outside that courthouse and some feel that if a single live stream camera is present in the courtroom, feeding live to various channels that’ll take away some of the pandemonium, which, maybe, I don’t know. 

 

The final reason is what I find fascinating. It’s apparently a fact that individuals who serve on juries frequently leave the experience with a greater respect for the judicial system. They realize that more often than not, it works. So for Trump defenders to actually see the process played out and be confronted with evidence that they genuinely may have never been privy to before because of the biases of their preferred news station. It could be huge in terms of swaying those who are on the fence about Trump to finally step away from his side. Selfishly, I want to see the trial played out live rather than listen to often biased reports accompanying pastel court imagery. I think we all want to, in fact, I think we all need to. This is a good moment to break the rules.

 

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