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Netflix’s ‘Trial by Media’ Exposes Sensational Cases, Press Manipulation

Fern Siegel

When courtroom dramas become entertainment — or the media is manipulated to twist public opinion — justice can be skewed. Or worse.

“Trial by Media,” the six-part Netflix docuseries premiering today, looks at some of the more sensational cases, according to The Chicago Sun-Times.

The show revisits the 1984 Bernard Goetz case, dubbed the “subway vigilante,” to the corruption conviction of Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich. The wrongful death suit against “The Jenny Jones Show” is examined as is a horrible gang rape in New England, which became the basis for the film “The Accused.”

Other cases include Richard Scrushy, a high-flying Alabama businessman and Christian TV host, charged with money laundering, extortion, obstruction of justice, racketeering and bribery. One episode centers on the unarmed African immigrant Amadou Diallo, who was killed by NYPD in 1999 when they mistook him for a rape suspect.

The tabloids had field days with all the cases, setting off a feeding frenzy in print and often turning courtrooms into reality shows. After all, TV is all about ratings.

While the series covers how public opinion — and the media — can alter the course of events, “Trial by Media” relies on archival footage and a fact-based approach to relay a serious story.

The docudrama is executive produced by George Clooney, Court TV founder Steven Brill and New Yorker writer Jeffrey Toobin.

‘Trial by Media’ Trailer