Trial in death of Trayvon Martin

Trial in death of Trayvon Martin (Joe Burbank, MCT / June 22, 2013)

Cable news was mostly bad news in Day One of the Trayvon Martin trial.

Why am I not shocked that once again 24/7 cable news failed to rise to a big-news occasion loaded with powerful sociological implications?

MSNBC promised fabulous live coverage of the trial. But when prosecuting attorney John Guy used the F-word as the third word in his opening argument, MSNBC didn't have a delay in place.

And they still didn't have one in place when he used it a second time for dramatic effect.

Finally, they went to Chuck Todd who apologized on behalf of his channel for not having a delay in place and promised that one would be put into place.

I wonder how long real journalists from NBC like Todd are going to let themselves be debased this way by their association with MSNBC. Really, I am not using that word loosely. Todd is way too good to have to front for such ineptitude.

The larger question: Is MSNBC capable of doing anything professional? Come on, they no longer even try to cover news with real reporters. At least, when they point their cameras at a live event, they ought to know how to cover it.

For those few not familiar with the opening arguments Monday, Guy used the f-word in quoting the words of defendant George Zimmerman on a call made to police as he was following Martin shortly before he shot the 17-year-old. "(Expletive) punks," he said. " These ---holes, they always get away."

MSNBC and HLN were the two cable channels with live coverage of the opening arguments. HLN was wall-to-wall, and I was fine even with the overkill among host and analysts, until I saw the promos the channel was airing for its coverage: re-creations of the night of the murder.

One featured someone getting out of a vehicle and the image of a hooded figure walking down a path on a rainy night.

Onscreen, we see and hear the real words of Zimmerman on a tape to a police dispatcher:

"This one looks like he's up to no good..."

"Are you following him?" the dispatcher asks.

"Yeah," Zimmerman replies.

"Okay, we don't need you to do that."

A woman's voice is then heard talking to a female dispatcher: "There's a gunshot."

"You just heard gunshots? How many?" the dispatcher asks.

"Yes, just one."

At first, I thought it was real footage. After all, the audio it is mixed with seems to be the same audio I've heard in news reports."

Then, coming to my senses, I thought, "How in the heck could they have real footage?"