PLANET ESCHEWS HALL “TRIO TRIAL” BECAUSE WE ARE NOT YOGI BERRA … MASSLIVE BESTING ‘THE BORING BROADSHEET’ IN TRIAL COVERAGE
By DAN VALENTI
PLANET VALENTI News and Commentary
(FORTRESS OF SOLITUDE, THURSDAY, JAN. 23, 2014) — THE PLANET looks with amusement as the faux “controversy” making the local rounds about why we haven’t provided coverage or commentary on the Adam Hall “Trio Trial.” Fair question, granted, although we shall puncture the balloons of more than a few of our most loyal followers (they would be our critics) in saying that there aren’t any deep, dark reasons for our reticence.
There’s not a grassy knoll here. Sorry, all you cabalists.
Both the Springfield Republican‘s masslive.com site and the Boring Broadsheet have been providing daily coverage of The Trio Trial. Granted, he story has been a headline grabber since it first surfaced. THE PLANET has never said otherwise. Granted, our coverage would blow both out of the water.
Keep in mind a couple of points:
(1) THE PLANET doesn’t have time in our busy schedule to be in Springfield for days on end. How else could we be making out West Coast commutes, for instance? Earlier this week, if was in the low 70s in Needles, Calif., by the way.
(2) Since we are honest to a fault with our readers, we would never provide coverage of a case like this if we weren’t actually sitting on press row, in the flesh, in the Hampden Superior Court for a first-hand view. In court cases, you simply have to be there. If other outlets are doing it in abstentia, that’s their business.
The key to a story like this isn’t the process. It’s the outcome. In a trial, the outcome will be the verdict.
Keep in mind a third point:
(3) Our first loyalty here on THE PLANET is to our readers, and we have judged they will be best be served by our continuing to go where other local media fear to tread. As we say, the local media has The Trio Trial covered. THE PLANET would rather devote our limited time (what, you think this is all we do??) to essentially serve as the independent monitor of political power as well the thermometer and barometer of communal, civic, and political Pittsfield, primarily, and the county. Right now, the city is running a bad fever cause by the daily microbes that infect the corporate body. Some of those we touched upon in the last couple of days. The Trio Trial, while a product of that same disease, has been cut out — lanced, if you prefer — and has made its way to the Superior Court. The court will do the talking. We will let other media do the reporting.
Be clear, though: We have not claimed, are not claiming, and will not claim the story of the trial is insignificant or unworthy of coverage, as has been falsely implied. THE PLANET agrees with our critics: The Trio Trial can say much about the times and the places in which we live. Our involvement with the story, with whatever degree, doesn’t not alter that one bit or byte.
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PRELIMINARY SCORE: MASSLIVE IS BESTING THE BB
THE PLANET has not done a formal content analysis of the respective coverages, but we’ve looked at enough of the dispatches to say that Masslive.com has been providing better coverage than the Boring Broadsheet, although in fairness to our good friend Andrew Amelinckx, it’s not clear he’s even in the courtroom.
That is to ask: Is the paper that $%^&*# cheap that it can’t pay his gas and mileage to and fro or, God forbid, put him up at Motel 6 (or even a Raid roach motel, if it came to that)? On Amelinckx’s Twitter account, he words it this way: “I’m live blogging the Adam Lee triple murder trial. Catch it on berkshireeagle.com.” He doesn’t say he’s in the courtroom, in person, only that he’s blogging live. Is he actually there? Naturally, when you click on the live link to the BB as AA asks you to do, it takes forever to find coverage of the Hall trial, the BB‘s website being about as negotiable as a three dollar bill and as user-friendly as cuneiform.
The Triple Trial has featured jilted lovers, hatchets and hacksaws, dismemberment, motorcycle gangs, David Capeless playing the part of Hamilton Burger, and other such spicey-bits. These elements provide what we term the “sensational.” Coverage of the sensational can and should produce “sensationalism,” and there’s no harm in that. We would be surprised if the media did not play up that angle. Outside of the time factor we mentioned above, THE PLANET has eschewed the opportunity to chew such low-hanging fruit so that we can go after stories right here in the backyard that would otherwise not see the light of day. We like to the digging. Having it handed to us isn’t necessarily an attraction.
The unfortunate murder of three people, however tragic, is a one-and-done. Bad government, however, hammers We The People ever day. Like the woods walker in Frost‘s poem who faces a fork in the road, he knows he cannot take both and still “one traveler be.” Neither he nor THE PLANET are Yogi Berra (“When you come to a fork in the road, take it”). THE PLANET, therefore, watches the trial at a distance, with our gaze going where others will not dare go, for fear of rocking the boat on turbulent seas too close to home. The little tin captains want you to believe the water is smooth as a mirror.
“America … Your machinery is too much for me. You made me want to be a saint. There must be some other way to settle this argument.” — Allan Ginsberg, “America,” (1956).
“OPEN THE WINDOW, AUNT MILLIE.”
LOVE TO ALL.