Court TV Criticized Over Camera Error
Members of the electronic media covering the O.J. Simpson murder trial are criticizing Court TV because of a snafu this week that resulted in an alternate juror being shown, and may ask for another operator to take over the pool camera.
Sylvia Teague, president of the Radio & Television News Assn., a professional organization coordinating media pool coverage in the courtroom, said electronic media representatives have raised concerns about Court TV’s ability to handle the pool camera.
“There are some people who feel it is a problem, and they have suggested that maybe it would be a good thing to change the pool,” Teague said.
An association meeting to discuss Court TV and several other issues is planned for Monday, Teague said. The meeting was scheduled before last week’s incident.
Court TV came under attack Tuesday after it inadvertently broadcast a brief shot of an alternate juror during the prosecution’s opening statements. Judge Lance A. Ito angrily ended the court proceeding when he learned of the slip-up from Court TV officials and briefly threatened to pull the plug on the camera in the courtroom.
Although dissatisfaction has been expressed with Court TV, Teague noted that other organizations have not rushed forward to take over the pool job. “Someone else would have to step up to the plate, and there have not been many volunteers,” she said.
Steve Johnson, executive producer of Court TV, said he understands the concern.
“Obviously, we botched it, so we can understand why some people have problems with us,” Johnson said. “But there have been other problems that haven’t been our fault, like during the hearing when O.J. was heard on the microphone talking with the bailiff.”
He added: “Our concern is that whoever does this doesn’t let it happen again. It also has to do with whoever Judge Ito is comfortable with. Whoever he is comfortable with, we will be comfortable with. Obviously the judge has his own concerns.”