Law v. Internet


One thing is clear about Aaron Sorkin’s abruptly-ended show, Newsroom (HBO), he used it to expose the friction between old media (big, slow institutional news agencies) and the new media (speedy, viral, crowdsourced platforms). And then on top of those tensions he added a layer of ethical conversation about what role our legal system plays in adjudicating public accusations of criminal activity.

Character Don Keefer, an executive news producer at the network, while vetting whether or not an accused and accuser should appear together on air, warned:

It is a huge, dangerous, scary mistake to convene your own trial in front of a television audience where there is no due process, no lawyers, no discovery, no rules of procedure, no decisions on admissible evidence, no threat of perjury, no confrontation of witnesses, or any of the things we do to ensure an innocent person isn’t destroyed. The law can acquit; the Internet never will. [S3 Ep5]


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