Barnes & Noblead



Investigating The President


Investigating The
President Headlines

 Clinton Reaches Out To Congressional Leaders (9-8-98)

 Clinton's Attorney Asks To Review Starr Report Before It Goes To Congress (9-7-98)

 Clinton's Democratic Support Slips Further (9-6-98)

 House Leaders Will Discuss Starr Report (9-4-98)

 Sen. Lieberman Says Clinton's Behavior 'Immoral' (9-3-98)

 Clinton Defends His Lewinsky Speech (9-2-98)

 Clinton's Team Will Attempt To Counter Starr Report (9-1-98)

 More Stories


 Players, timeline, documents, quick votes, quiz, archives. AllPolitics' in-depth look at the investigation into the president's relationship with Monica Lewinsky has it all.


 People In Other Countries Say Clinton Doing Fine (8-27-98)

 More Polls


 Sen. Joseph Lieberman Speaks On Clinton (9-3-98)

 Text Of Clinton-Yeltsin News Conference (9-2-98)


 Senator Lieberman calls Clinton's behavior 'immoral and harmful (9-3-98)
Windows Media: 28K | 56K


 Bob Lang: Our New Secret Weapon(8-27-98)

 More 'Toons



Courthouse Coverage, A National Tradition

by Charles Bierbauer/CNN

Eric Newton

WASHINGTON (Aug. 7) -- If you think the courtside circus surrounding Monica Lewinsky's grand jury appearance in Washington marks a new dimension in press and public frenzy, think again.

The technology might have changed, but curiosity is nothing new to sensational cases.

Washington's district court is like a giant magnet . The media was drawn Thursday by the irresistible attraction of Lewinsky's testimony. So was the public. Some came to support the former White House intern, some to vilify the president.

"When you put the right person together with the right allegations, you have something that captures the public interest," Newseum Managing Editor Eric Newton commented.

William Kennedy Smith
William Kennedy Smith

Celebrity, sex, race, wealth and murder combined to create the O.J. Simpson sensation.

The sexual assault trial of William Kennedy Smith was compelling because of who he was, a Kennedy elite.

The national horror at his crime drew massive coverage of Timothy McVeigh's trial.

The growth in media has contributed to the volume of coverage.

But the scope is really nothing new.

"It's all been done before in different media or in different times," said Newton.

Lizzie Borden
A courtroom sketch artist drew
this picture of Lizzie Borden

When aviator Charles Lindbergh's baby was kidnapped in 1932, radio was the hot medium. Seven hundred reporters covered the 1935 trial of accused kidnapper Bruno Hauptman in Flemington, New Jersey.

In 1925, the legal giants Clarence Darrow and William Jennings Bryan drew massive coverage to the Scopes "monkey" trial and the controversy of teaching evolution.

The 1892 ax-murder trial of Lizzie Borden predated television and radio, but not courtroom sketches.

"It's almost exactly the kind of story play that you saw 100 years later, when O.J. Simpson was found innocent in the first trial," Newton said.

Ruth Snyder execution
The execution of Ruth Snyder

But for sheer media audacity, little beats the 1928 case of Ruth Snyder, convicted of killing her husband.

"The New York Daily News snuck into the execution to take a hidden camera picture of her at the moment of her electrocution, so that the public could see the most sensational criminal justice picture ever taken," Newton explained.

What has changed? Less than you might think.

The technology is different. But the courtroom curiosity is still the same.

In Other News

Friday, August 7, 1998

Lawmakers Have November On Their Minds
Appeals Court Lets Leaks Investigation Continue
Business As Usual At The White House
Ickes Role In Fund-Raising Gets 'Considerable Review'

Election '98
Tennessee Governor Wins GOP Nod; Party Outsider Wins Democratic Nomination
Tennessee Primary Results

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