Thursday, March 1, 2007

TV Squad Daily with Brigitte: 03-01-2007

A Ban on Paris

There are few people in today's media world who are harder to ignore than Paris Hilton, but that is just what the AP did for a whole week. In an article posted at, an AP national writer talks about what began as an experiment to see if anyone would notice the lack of coverage of the young star. It wasn't a bold journalistic move and it wasn't an attempt to direct the attention of the public to more pressing concerns, like the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, it was just an experiment to see what would result.

The plan was never to make the ban permanent, and they knew that when they finally broke the ban they would look hypocritical to some. What was the result of the ban, none of the outlets that depend on the AP for news items called looking for Hilton related stories, and none of them felt like there was some news item that was missing. There were some questions about the nature of the ban, some asking who would be banned next - one writer suggested North Korea. The experiment started on Feb. 19, and during the week that followed the AP did not report her birthday parties in Las Vegas and Beverly Hills, when Hilton visited Puerto Rico to sell her fragrance, staff writers there were asked not to cover the event.

Her name did make it into other stories about Nicole Richie and Britney Spears, her name even made its way into a main page article on the primary in Las Vegas. It turns out that the AP isn't the first to come up with the idea of not covering the young star. Lloyd Grove the writer of the Lowdown column for New York Daily News had a similar ban for a number of years until his column was discontinued. Did Grove maintain the ban on Hilton for some high minded reason about the press and what should be news, no according to his own reports he did it as a way to gain publicity.

When word of the ban started to leak to the media outside the AP, reactions came back in shocking support of what they felt the AP was doing. Some letters commended them for seeing through the evil that they claim Hilton to be, and the AP was declared to be hero's. The ban of course was broken when Hilton was arrested once again for a driving related infraction on Sunset Blvd. Understandably this is an incident that in theory could result in jail time for our young star.

Opening Statements

A Note to readers

I wanted to put in a short post again, to let everyone know who I am. I am a journalism student in Northern California, going to Humboldt State University. I have set this blog up as a way for me to gain experience writing and maybe to produce a finished product that could enable me to get employment as a journalist. I am not the best writer in the world, or to be more accurate I am not the best typist or speller in the world. I have a lot to learn, and this is the grounds in which I plan on learning how to produce better copy for print.
So I have been covering the Jessica Lunsford Trial, and I am not sitting in the court room, while I plan to continue to cover the trial, I wanted to share some of my sources. I do this for the most part because their work should be recognized, legal or not I feel like if I were to do otherwise I would be putting myself out there as something I am not. There are three main sources for my information; Chris Curry is blogging from the court room for , this is one of the better organized sites; at is another blog from the court room, this is a running blog and has a lot of information about the feel of the court. Anthony McCartney is blogging from the court as well for, his blog probably has the most information about the daily proceedings, but it is a little disorganized at times.

Thank you for reading and please feel free to take time to leave a note, to say "hi", to tell me something you like or to tell me something you don't like.


Anna Is Going To Get A Funeral

The Bush Administration is moving away from some of its claims that North Korea had an active nuclear weapons program. While there was high confidence that North Korea had the materials to create a weapons program, but there is less confidence that the country has done so. This stands in sharp contrast to the certainty the administration had about the weapons program it was accusing North Korea of having. Further it can only cast more doubt on the pressure the administration is putting on the country of Iran, which the administration has also claimed to have a developed or developing nuclear program.

On Wednesday Night John McCain announced his intentions to run for president, this will be his second attempt for the White House. McCain made his announcement on the David Letterman show, telling him, "I am announcing that I will be a candidate for the president of the United States". McCain enters into a crowed field on both side of the party divide, with a history of being a centrist, and working across party lines.

Critics are now coming forward against the claims by James Cameron that he found the true body of Jesus Christ. Critics are calling into question not only the interpretation of the data, but the foundation of the claim. Among points that were made against the claim; Mary Magdalene was called "Maria" by the church in the first and second centuries, but never by the name "Mariamene" as found in the tomb. According to critics, Jesus was not called "Jesus son of Joseph", again as the name is found in the tomb. Further they question how this could have been kept a secret for so long, when the location of the tomb was known to others. It would have had to have been a secret location in order for the believe of the resurrection to maintained. Some other points include that Jesus would not have been afforded such a rich tomb, that DNA is impossible to prove a connection with and the lack of religious symbols in the tomb.

Even in Rehab Britney Spears is making news, it is being reported that in an effort to secure her privacy that she has booked an entire wing of the facility. She reportedly wanted to avoid interacting with other patients out of fears that pictures of videos might be taken and leaked out to the press, or the internet. On this account she seems more than justified in fearing for her privacy, photo agencies would be more than happy to purchase pictures taken of her by fellow patients. It is being reported that Spears is paying hundreds of thousands of dollars for rehab, a price that I am sure is well worth it. I am a journalist, and I would defend the right of photographers to their pictures, but I think that there are some places where privacy should be honored, and this is one area. when someone is making an effort to do something good for themselves like this, they need support, not people taking from them.

On Wednesday a federal appeals court upheld the ruling of the court that Anna Nicole Smith's body be buried in the Bahamas. Smith's family has said that she would not appeal this ruling, clearing the way for Smith's body to be buried as soon as Friday. TMZ is now reporting that her funeral is scheduled to take place tomorrow in the Bahamas. TMZ also has a copy of her death certificate, here.

Allenna Williams Ward, a middle school teacher in Clinton, South Carolina, is being accused of having sex with 5 underage males, some of which were her students. The encounters with the 14-year-old and 15-year-old students took place at a number of locations, including the school, a motel and behind a restaurant. She was arrested by authorities on Wednesday.

Michael Devlin, the man arrested for the kidnappings of Shawn Hornbeck and Ben Ownby, is having federal charges added to his sentence. The charges relating to one victim, only identified by the letter "S" are, four felony counts of child pornography and two felony counts of transportation of a minor for sexual activity. The indictment alleges that the activities of sexual abuse took place between October of 2002, through till 2007.

There is a war breaking out between celebrity gossip rags, the New York Post, and The feud began when a writer for Gawker published a story about one of the Posts new hire had caused a scene at a party, using the much abused line, "don't you know who I am". The reporter for the post was fired in connection to the incident. The Post is returning the favor by publishing reports that Heather Snodgrass, assistant editor at Gawker, has been going to events, getting drunk, belligerent and amorous with guests at parties she was covering.

First Day of Trial

Court had recessed for the day in the Jessica Lunsford murder trial, and it appears to have been a productive day. The day opened with the statements from the prosecution and the defense, this is where each side maps out the case that they will present to the jury.

The prosecution talked about how they found Jessica buried in two plastic bags with her fingers sticking through the plastic. The body had been found just under the surface of the ground, the fingers poking through the bag point to the fact that she was alive when she was buried. She was buried in two bags, one that had been tied with her feet in first and the knot at the head, and the second over that with the knot at her feet. Her hands were tied with a speaker wire that was traced back to an antenna that John Couey had made for his sisters trailer. Jessica's blood found on Couey's mattress, which was mixed with his semen, and sexual trauma on her body consistent with being sexually assaulted are some of the key evidence against Couey. The prosecutor called the day Jessica disappeared the last normal day for her family.

The tactic of the defense team seems to be to acknowledge the nature of the crime and the acts that are being charged against their client, while asking the jurors to use reason. This goes along with the theory that the defense team is not going to attempt to show that Coeuy is innocent, but rather to save his life. This is a case that can be very emotional, you are talking about burying a little girl alive, and if the defense is going to have any success in saving Couey's life it is going to be by getting the jury to focus on the facts, and then attempt to prove the facts show that Coey is retarded. This seems to be the core of the defense strategy, claiming that Couey was mentally retarded, abused by the police and overwhelmed by the media and the attention that the case generated.

In a case like this there is always going to be emotional testimony involved, and in trial today a number of Jessica's family members testified on the stand to the events of the last day. Sharon Armstrong, a friend of the Lunsford family, took the stand and talked about what an easy child Jessica was and how she had been teaching Jessica sign language.

Jessica's father took the stand and talked about the last day that they shared together, the last day he would spend with his little girl. In an interview Saint Petersburg Times on Feb. 9th, he talks about how life isn't worth a damn now that she is dead. He says that people will never understand how angry he is because they can go back to their normal lives, and he can never do that. He has worked over the last couple years in close contact with another father and victims rights advocate, John Walsh, and has pushed to toughen laws against sexual criminals. Today he talks about watching TV with Jessica, the show Lost was his favorite, and about getting home and discovering that Jessica and the toy dolphin he had won her were missing. Dan Lewan only asked Lunsford a few questions about the time he got home, Lunsford and Lewan have had a contentious relationship in the past, and it could only be guessed the effort it took for a father to keep his cool being questioned in court.

After lunch the trial moves away from the emotional testimony of family members, and into evidence that was collected at the Lunsford trailer when the police arrived. Prosecutors believe that a screen with an 'L' shaped cut in it, is how Cuoey was able to gain access to the residence. Couey's sister Dorothy Dixion took the stand and talked about how she allowed the police to search the trailer, which is when they found the blood in Couey's room. She described how Couey had stayed inside the trailer when the police were swarming the area looking for Jessica. Dixion was originally charged with obstruction of justice relating to the case, but charges were later dropped. While she has emotionally denied that she knew that Jessica was in the closet, this is something that is still in doubt in a lot of peoples minds. Lewan, a defense attorney for Couey attacked her on this very point, trying to prove that she, or other members present, must have known that Jessica was in the trailer. She also tells the court that she would take Couey to his job, he worked at the school that Jessica attended as a construction worker.

Couey's niece, Dixion's daughter Madie Secord, took the stand to testify that she had bought Couey a bus ticket in her name to Savannah, Ga. Lewan asked her questions about the search of the yard and if she allowed the search and if she would have allowed a search of her home. She answered that she had allowed the search of her yard and would have allowed a search of the home as well if she had been asked.

Officer Love, and officer with the Savannah police department, was the first to interview Couey after Couey had been found at the homeless shelter. Couey in this interview denies that he had anything to do with Jessica's disappearance, at one point saying that he did not have her in his pocket. A tape of this interview was shown to the court, this is of course not the tape on which Coeuy confesses to killing Jessica because that will not be admitted into evidence.

Jessica's father Mark Lunsford attended the trial with his trade mark long hair and wrap around dark glasses. He was wearing a navy blue suit and had prepared for the hard wood benchs by bringing in a red pillow in a plastic bag. Sharon Armstrong, who tutored Jessica in math and had a close relationship with the family had such an emotional reaction to Couey being brought into the room that she had to be taken out for a moment. Armstrong was like a mother to Jessica, and had taken her to youth bible camps.

When You Come Home (Jessie's Song) video

Paris Hilton Arrested Again

Paris Hilton is going to be riding in the passenger seat of her car for a while. She was stopped once again by police Tuesday night. Police officers say they pulled Hilton over after they saw her speeding down Sunset Blvd with her lights off. After her DUI in September, Hilton had been released, but was put on probation and had her driving lincense suspended. After police discovered during her most recent stop that she was driving on a suspended license they arrested her and impounded her car. This stop could result in jail time for Hilton, up to 90 days, Hilton was under a judges order to obey all laws.
X17 Online has video.

TV Squad Daily with Brigitte: 02-28-2007

TV Squad Daily with Brigitte: 02-26-2007


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