Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Will Dateline's jury mole queer the Spector verdict?

The scrappy, old school Los Angeles news site The Enterprise Report reports that NBC Dateline is, as would be expected, slamming together a big one-hour special to run after the verdict in the Phil Spector murder trial. But what's most disturbing is the promise that NBC News plans to "exploit to the fullest" one of the jury members-- an NBC Dateline producer who'd been covering the Spector story when he got a seat on the jury!

ERS News writes:
"According to sources familiar with the planning for the Dateline special, it will feature NBC Dateline producer Adam Gorfain, who's inside knowledge and special access and direct relationship to the other jurors, will be exploited to the fullest by NBC... Gorfain, a 41 year old Senior Producer working for NBC News out of its Burbank studios... was less than forthcoming on his jury questionnaire when asked about his experience and views on issues related to DNA evidence and other matters relevant to the murder...

"ERS News originally reported on Gorfain's own admission he had been working on the Spector case for months before being seated on the Spector jury panel. In his juror questionnaire released by the court last Gorfain wrote that 'for several months, I have been assigned to this case for NBC News as a senior producer,' and informed the court that he had already read numerous court documents in the case. He also pointed out that he was not new to high profile celebrity criminal cases due to his professional experience. He told the court that he had experience covering high profile trials, 'I have covered Simpson, Jackson and worked on many others,' Gorfain stated."
With network tabloid mag shows like Dateline and 20/20 paying money under the table to "lock up" jurors in high profile cases, and agents nabbing jury members for book deals, there's been concern that the filty lucre could influence outcomes-- because "guilty" verdicts are usually bigger news than acquittals (and then the nets dont have to throw all those "allegedlies" in).

But a network news producer getting on the jury? Especially one who covered the case and certainy formed an opinion after veiwing and reviewing evidence his felow hurors won't be privy to? One can only wonder how he is influencing his peers, whether he has "outed" himself to them as a journo mole, and whether he has already promised them big network deals if they'll come on his show. And is he communicating in some way with his newsroom, as Evel Dick Donato received coded messages from his son inside the Big Brother house?

In most cases, in every case we've been involved in, a journalist can avoid jury duty simply by stating his or her occupation, field of expertise-- or especially a personal connection to the crime scene! Harvard boy Gorfain, who's married to another Dateline producer, most definitely wanted on that jury. His book is probably already on the works.

In a trial like Spector's, this spanner in the works is stupefying.

Ethics? That's a county outside London, baby. Should Phil Spector be found guilty of the murder of Lana Clarkson-- and there's a good chance he will-- look for Dateline NBC, who many years ago perverted the news re-enactment genre that had recently been invented by Rafael Abramovitz and Peter Brennan at A Current Affair-- to be be in the middle of a new scandal.

(from the House of Blues security camera)
(And a link and a tip of the Tabloid Baby hat to ERS News, a site we've liked since they wrote that the old series Strange Universe-- executive produced by our own Burt Kearns-- is "The Enterprise Report's personal favorite hard hitting news program.")


Anonymous said...

That's pretty surprising. It may help Spector's attorney get a mistrial or at least overturn the verdict. That's really tainting the jury pool! Not that LA is going to riot over this verdict, but still. (Maybe sleeping with the mayor ain't so bad.)

sexy said...