George Zimmerman is in a Florida court again this afternoon, facing charges of felony aggravated assault after he allegedly pointed a gun at his girlfriend. The cable networks all took the short court appearance live.
Robert F. Kennedy stood up for his cousin, Michael Skakel on CNN last night, then faced off with CNN legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin. Toobin was “stunned and amazed” that a Connecticut judge ruled Skakel is eligible for a new trial. Toobin thinks Skakel, convicted in 2002 for the 1975 murder of Martha Moxley, could be out of prison by the end of the week.
The judge ruled that Skakel had an inadequate defense attorney in Mickey Sherman. Before he was sent to prison for tax evasion in 2011, and released in 2012, Sherman was a regular talking head on cable news. Sherman is married to Fox News legal analyst Lis Wiehl.
As for Kennedy said Toobin, there’s a long history attached to this case. Kennedy said Toobin has been biased against his cousin from the start, then demanded an apology for “besmirching” the name of another Kennedy cousin, Tommy Skakel. WATCH:
CNN is planning specials every night at 10 PM this week, focusing on the George Zimmerman murder trial.
The specials– titled “Self-Defense or Murder? The George Zimmerman Trial”– will be hosted by Anderson Cooper. Every night, Cooper will be “joined by Mark Geragos, Marsha Clark, and Jeffrey Toobin will condense that day’s opening statements, testimony, and analysis,” CNN says.
There will also be special guests. Tonight they include the Martin family attorney, and a linguistic expert whose testimony was thrown out over the weekend. The format sounds similar to the “AC360″ round-table editions that CNN experimented with at 10 PM earlier this year.
All this week, Anderson Cooper will be pulling double-duty, not only hosting “AC360″ at 8 PM, but new editions of “AC360″ at 10 PM… with an entirely different format.
The 8 PM show stays the same, but the 10 PM editions of the show will utilize a panel format through Thursday night, with Cooper serving as the host. CNN chief international correspondent Christiane Amanpour and senior legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin will be guests all week, as will Amy Holmes from TheBlaze. Every day there will be a different guest joining the panel as well. For Monday’s show, the guest was blogger Andrew Sullivan, a good friend of Cooper’s. Cooper, you may recall, formally “came out” as gay in a post on Sullivan’s “Daily Dish.”
One thing seems certain: the 10 PM re-run of “AC360″ will not be sticking around much longer. Whether it is replaced by a new format “AC360″ or by some other program, the channel is aggressively testing out other options there.
Update: It looks like the panel format may be worth repeating. 10 PM’s “AC360″ placed first among all the cable news channels in adults 25-54, though it remained third in total viewers.
Today the Supreme Court held oral arguments regarding the future of California’s Proposition 8, which made gay marriage illegal in the state. Tomorrow the court will hear another case related to gay marriage, as it responds to questions of the constitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act.
Cable news coverage of the arguments looked very similar to last year’s arguments regarding the constitutionality of President Obama’s healthcare bill. In content, however, there was a difference in tone. Rightly or wrongly, the preliminary analysis from reporters becomes news in of itself, and this time around caveats were the name of the game.
NBC News law and justice correspondent Pete Williams last year said that the health care law was “in trouble,” and that it was “very doubtful” that the Supreme Court would find the healthcare law constitutional. He did include caveats in his analysis, but his comments (along with those from fellow court-watcher Jeffrey Toobin) ended up dominating the news cycle for over a day, sparking multiple segments on Fox News and CNN, in addition to MSNBC and NBC News.
“The last time my handcuff necklace was admired on the air, I would like to point out that you were present, you, [Jeffrey] Toobin and Mark Geragos,” Grace told Cooper, who asked if she had any suspects. “Don’t try to throw me off the scent, don’t try to throw me off you.”
CNN says that it received a package from Christopher Jordan Dorner, a former Los Angeles police officer turned murder suspect. The package was addressed to Anderson Cooper. “Inside was a note, DVD, and a coin shot thru with bullet holes,” Cooper tweeted. ”AC360″ will address it tonight.
Dorner also wrote a rambling manifesto attempting to justify his crimes, and cites a number of TV news personalities and other entertainers in it.
Dorner is accused of killing one police officer and shooting three others. He is also believed to be behind the murder of the daughter of another police officer.
Dorner’s manifesto starts somewhat cohesive but rambles off when he starts sending notes to politicians, TV news personalities and entertainers. He praises New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, former President George H.W. Bush, Hillary Clinton, Charlie Sheen, Larry David and Ellen Degeneres, among others.
Politics and law were the hot topics at Time Warner Center last night as colleagues, friends and family came out to fete Jeffrey Toobin and his new book, “The Oath,” about the often confrontational relationship between the Obama White House and the Supreme Court.
On “Reliable Sources” this morning, Howie Kurtz and his panel discussed the Supreme Court mis-reporting mess that Fox News and CNN found themselves in Thursday morning. The panel focused on CNN’s Supreme Court expert Jeffrey Toobin, whose predictions in the weeks leading up to the decision, that the mandate would be overturned, turned out to be wrong.
“I think it shows ignorance, with all due respect to Jeffrey Toobin,” said Mark Feldstein, author and journalism professor. “The problem with speculative journalism, horse race journalism, who’s ahead, who’s behind… By having him focus on predictions, that no one can know, you’re asking for trouble.”
TVNewser’s Gail Shister was also on the show this morning talking about the week’s other big media story: the anchor change at the “Today” show. That clip after the jump.
Alex has written about how CNN got it wrong this morning in reporting the Supreme Court health care ruling. Now Fox News has issued a statement of its error, or more accurately, its inaccurate report.
As we reported in our first post on this mess, FNC’s Bill Hemmer reported at 10:07, “The individual mandate has been ruled unconstitutional.”
Shannon Bream then reported that news further from the steps of the Supreme Court.
At 10:09, Megyn Kelly jumped in: “Wait we are getting conflicting information, we are getting conflicting information. If you follow SCOTUSBlog.com which covers the high court they say that despite what Shannon just read that the individual mandate is surviving as a tax. This is not confirmed by us yet this is according to SCOTUSBlog which also has the opinion…”
Instead of admitting the network’s error, Michael Clemente, EVP of News for Fox News, took a shot at other networks:
“We gave our viewers the news as it happened. When Justice Roberts said, and we read, that the mandate was not valid under the Commerce clause, we reported it. Bill Hemmer even added, be patient as we work through this. Then when we heard and read, that the mandate could be upheld under the government’s power to tax, we reported that as well — all within two minutes.
By contrast, one other cable network was unable to get their Supreme Court reporter to the camera, and said as much. Another said it was a big setback for the President. Fox reported the facts, as they came in.”
Unlike CNN, which misreported the news on air, online and through social media for about six minutes before a clarification, FNC’s two minutes of inaccurate reporting was solely on TV. Here’s how it played out on air: