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"Finally, A Celebrity Has Been Convicted!"

Reported by Ellen - March 18, 2005

First, the good news: Ellis Hennican, not a conservative, guest-hosted last night on FOX News Live with Alan Colmes. As I reported in an earlier post, Eric "The U.N. Is Like The Mafia" Shawn, was the guest host the previous night on this program FOX News markets as a liberal show to satellite radio. Hennican's discussions - drilling in the ANWR and an interview with a Native American about why Native mascots in sports perpetuate stereotypes - were in line with what a liberal talk show should be. However, Hennican proved that he has the FOX "hang-em" mentality when he repeated several times throughout the night his glee that "Finally, a celebrity has been convicted."

That was bad enough but then, during the third and final hour of the program, Hennican made the following tasteless and heartless comments. "I do want to send a shout-out... to (hip hop singer) L'il Kim on her conviction today. Thank you, L'il Kim."

Hennican continued: "I was beginning to think that no celebrity was ever going to be convicted of anything again. OJ walked, Puffy walked, Kobe walked, Robert Blake walked and Michael Jackson could easily walk... but here was L'il Kim... the rare exception that proved the celebrity rule. She was stomping into the chill of Pearl Street in lower Manhattan with a potential 20-year prison term hanging over her head... proving that yes, it is indeed possible, my friends... for a celebrity to be convicted of a serious crime! I was startin' to get doubtful - don't tell me Martha Stewart incidentally - that little trivial thing - five months in jail, five months of mansion arrest. I don't even call that a conviction...."

Next, Hennican took a call from Androy (sp?) in Greensboro, NC. Androy, a typical FOX News caller, said, "L'il Kim... I hope she burns. I hope they fry her with 20 years or more." According to the caller, she spit in the face of a hotel manager who wouldn't or couldn't give her an iron. Then, as if to say that Kim's conviction didn't quite measure up, he said he doesn't consider Kim a major celebrity.

"No, she's no Jacko," Hennican agreed. "But the difference is SHE is on her way to prison." He sounded delighted.

Comment: It is absolutely appalling to me that a professional newsperson would openly disparage the verdicts of juries, especially if that person did not sit through the entire trial himself. As a former paralegal and having served as a juror on two trials, I can state unequivocally that being a juror is different from being a spectator. A jury operates within a very specific set of guidelines that a judge lays out for you and, in case Hennican is not aware of this, the burden of proof is on the accuser. A jury must acquit if they feel the state has not proved its case beyond a reasonable doubt. Listening to the FOX pundits, one would think that the problem with US jurisprudence is that we need activist juries to convict on the basis of "a gut feeling" instead of the law.

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