Betsy McCaughey, former lieutenant governor of New York writing for the New York Post, argues that Trump’s trial needs to be televised. Why? Because in McCaughey’s view, the sole purpose of the trial is to cripple Trump’s candidacy; and that by having cameras in the courtroom, will create transparency in what will be a highly controversial trial.
Donald Trump: The Trail of the Century?
I’m conflicted, but I’m listening…
McCaughey is alluding to what many believe: that Trump’s indictment is politically motivated, rather than legally motivated. McCaughey believes that televising the trial will force the judge to treat both sides fairly, and will expose the prosecution’s case, nation-wide, as paper-thin.
I agree that the case deserves to be monitored – and that the public deserves to be kept abreast of daily developments. And I agree that the case against Trump appears to be, legally, a stretch – and that the prosecution should be made to demonstrate that the case they’ve developed is not a political schtick.
But I also have concerns about feeding into what is quickly becoming a media circus; I have concerns about making Donald Trump the once-again world-champion of media coverage. As I’ve argued before, Trump will be old news only once we’ve decided he’s old news.
Trump and the Media
It’s liberals, especially, but conservatives, too. People just cannot quit Trump. They cannot turn away.
They tried, for a minute there; we talked about Ron DeSantis and Kamala Harris and Hunter Biden. But we couldn’t stay the course. Like a life-long cigarette smoker trying to quit cold turkey, we all longed desperately for a quick drag. We chewed our Nicorette gum vigorously, and we drank coffee by the liter, trying to get by on coverage of Mike Pence’s book tour and Nikki Haley’s campaign announcement.
But it wasn’t quite the real thing, was it.
And now, Manhattan DA Alvin Bragg, is offering up the real thing. Bragg went ahead, lit up a Marlboro, stuck it under our nose, and let the fumes waft all over us. You know you want it, Bragg mocks us, just do it.
What McCaughey is proposing, full-television-coverage of a Trump trial, would be like spitting out the Nicorette and taking down three filterless cigarettes all at once. No, it’s probably more like mainlining heroin. It’s the mother-load. The Super Bowl. We’ve been building up to this for almost a decade. It’s almost as if it were pre-ordained, as if there were no other possible conclusion to the Trump Saga – a public criminal trial.
And I’ll tell you who wants a Trump trial worse than any liberal. No secret here – it’s the media. CNN. Fox. MSNBC. The New York Times. The Washington Post. The media has sustained themselves on Trump for years. Nothing, nor no one generates ratings or subscriptions like Trump. And while democracy may die in the darkness, ratings definitely die without Trump.
Still, I understand McCaughey’s point. “With a televised trial, viewers can draw their own conclusions,” McCaughey wrote. “A televised trial will allow people to see for themselves whether the judge treats both sides fairly and if the prosecution’s key witnesses – convicted perjurer Michael Cohen and porn star Stephanie Gregory Clifford, known as “Stormy Daniels” – crumble under cross-examination.”
And as McCaughey points out, “all states except New York and Louisiana already permit cameras in court.”
Prosecutorial transparency is important, yes. And so is moving beyond Trump.
Harrison Kass is the Senior Editor at 19FortyFive. An attorney, pilot, guitarist, and minor pro hockey player, Harrison joined the US Air Force as a Pilot Trainee but was medically discharged. Harrison holds a BA from Lake Forest College, a JD from the University of Oregon, and an MA from New York University. Harrison listens to Dokken.