Cable News Switcheroo


New York criminal defense attorney Scott Greenfield riffs on my post about Wendy Murphy yesterday and tells this amusing tale from the cable TV trenches:

Way back when MSNBC used to do 6 hours stints with lawyers doing the color commentary on the court case of the day, I was a regular doing the defense side.  Once an hour, we would be expected to sit at a desk and do a five minute stint, me and whoever was doing the "former prosecutor" job that day.  Our five minutes would consist of a two questions, each taking up about 90 second and including some mischaracterization of the nature of the legal issue, and concluding with the words "how do you feel?"  We had ten seconds to respond before the talking head turned elsewhere.

One slow day caught up with us.  The "former prosecutor" and I got bored playing cards, waiting for our next stint, and there was absolutely nothing worthwhile to say on the case du jour.  We had just finished our stint with Ashley Banfield (back when she was blond and didn't wear her "interested" glasses), and some unknown kid in a peculiar Caribbean-green-colored shirt was the next hour's anchor.  We decided to goof with the kid by switching sides.  I would take the prosecutor side and the former prosecutor would pretend to be the defense.

The anchor, Rick Sanchez, was very nice and solicitous, as they sat us at our desk, and we nodded nicely back, knowing that there would be someone else we didn't know there in an hour.  He ran through his question and we responded.  Just backward.  Rick didn't skip a beat, and we filled our five minutes like good little lawyers.  Just backward.  Nobody, not Sanchez, not a producer, nobody, even noticed.  Our sound bites were good.  Our time was filled.  And everybody was happy.  It meant absolutely nothing.