COLUMN:Not televising Moussaoui trial the right decision

Blaine Moyle

On Friday, U.S. District Judge Leonie Brinkema made the decision to keep the ban on photographing and broadcasting federal criminal proceedings. His ruling came after a much disputed debate over the rights and the media and the public to view the courtroom proceedings of Zacarias Moussaoui, the only man charged in the Sept. 11 attacks.

C-SPAN and Court TV challenged the ban on the grounds that it was unconstitutional to not allow the press free access to the trial, claiming this right outweighed any sort of security to the witnesses or jurors.

Once again, the Constitution has been drug out of its glass case to be used and abused, although this time it’s all for the ratings.

It’s interesting that these two haven’t challenged the ban before now, if it was always in the best interests of the public to view federal cases, as they argue.

This attempt to repeal the ban is little more than an attempt to try and boost ratings higher than the O.J. Simpson trial. It’s more than a safe bet that a large portion of the country would tune in every day to see the “justice done” and the death penalty imposed.

Court TV and C-SPAN also requested the lifting of the ban to help ensure a “fair trial.” Of course the judge, jury and people present wouldn’t make sure of that, but the home audience could act as watchdog for any sneaky antics being pulled by the prosecution.This is just another step by certain areas of the media to run up their numbers by sensationalizing an event that has affected so many.

Transcripts from each day are going to be posted on the Internet. Newspaper reporters are going to be present to watch and record what they see. There will be a wealth of information for us to gobble up, just not a live feed from inside the courtroom.

I say forget the trial. Let’s give the public what they really want. Let’s skip straight to the execution; that’s what everyone is really interested after all – seeing vengeance . er . justice done.

Regular cable just won’t do. After all, with so many out for blood, it would be a missed opportunity if the government didn’t find a way to cash in, and the quickest way to do that is on Pay-Per-View.

Now we can satisfy both political parties. Using the money from the event and channel it into Social Security, or any other programs that are slowly running themselves dry.

I’m all for the death penalty, but if I’m paying $39.95 I’m gonna want my money’s worth.

As desensitized as the public is, though, something new will have to be thought up. Current forms of capital punishment don’t last long enough, aren’t painful enough or are just downright boring; something much like “The Running Man” is only a short step away.

There will be those who say criminals have the freedom from cruel and unusual punishment. This is easily resolved. The death penalty has already been used often enough that we have set the bar that it isn’t a cruel punishment.

At first this may seem unusual, but once we have decided on this course of action, there really isn’t anything unusual about it. So it all works out as far as the constitution is concerned.

It may seem a bit over the top, but is it really that hard to imagine? Two television channels dedicated to bringing the real world into our lives ignore the possible harm they could do by making witnesses targets.

We should all be glad Judge Brinkema valued the lives of witnesses over the entertainment of the public. We can all be rest assured that justice will be done though the normal channels and not tried over the boob tube.

Blaine Moyle is a senior in English and secondary education from Des Moines.