Friday, November 19, 2004

The "Media Circus" TV Permit

Via Instapundit: A good article about the real cost to a municipality of a media-circus court proceeding. In particular, the uber-high profile death penalty cases where it appears we are actually supposed to actively cheer for guilt, death and the glory of the conquering prosecutor-hero.

Cheers broke out among the hundreds of onlookers who gathered outside the courthouse -- some of them pumping their fists in celebration on hearing the news on the radio. They cheered Laci's family and booed Scott's as they left court.

As we all know, these sorts of events are here to stay. The networks, especially cable, make far too much money from being able to reliably plug in a given story, over and over again, week after week, whenever, as Glenn says, there is no real news to report. [Emphasis added] So, the networks benefit greatly from these stories, and the local municipalities get stuck with a huge bill.

With some degree of reluctance, since I prefer less government to more, let me offer a suggestion. The next time one of these cases comes down the road and a small town or county is looking at getting stuck with the bill, they need to invent a special “media-circus” TV permit. If networks want to setup shop for months on end to cover a trial it is going to cost a mere fraction of their profits from covering it; charge them for the inconvenience to locals. I’m talking about serious charges here. $500,000 or $1 million for the permit. If they were smart, they would also raise hotel taxes while they were at it, since it would most directly impact the networks covering the trial, rather than ensnare residents with raised sales tax or something of the like.


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