L.A. seeks no-fly zone, fearing further violence
Carol J. Castaneda; James Harney
LOS ANGELES - With jurors expected to begin deliberating this weekend in the
Rodney King beating trial, the media - criticized at times for its coverage - are
dueling again with authorities.
Los Angeles officials want the Federal Aviation Administration to ban aircraft
under 2,000 feet from flying over the city after verdicts are read.
Police Chief Willie Williams Tuesday likened the request to closing off a street
in a crime: "You can't convince me the news media can't cover the city without
But local TV crews - including a news helicopter pilot who flew low last year to
videotape the beating of white trucker Reginald Denny - call the police request
"Denny was not saved by the police department, but by four heroic
African-Americans who saw Denny's beating on live television," says Bob Tur,
who works for local TV and radio.
"I don't think the police like us to show what is happening," said Jose Rios, news
director for Fox TV Channel 11. "Our job is to show people what's going on."
FAA spokesman Fred O'Donnell said a decision hadn't been made on the no-fly
Some critics maintain that live TV coverage of last year's riots fueled violence.
"If media hadn't been out there with their cameras showing police standing
around not doing anything, maybe people wouldn't have taken advantage of the
situation," says Ana Barbosa, president of the Latin Business Association.
Intense coverage of the second Rodney King beating trial - print and broadcast -
has left little doubt that the world is watching.
The U.S. Marshals Service says 195 press credentials have been issued for King
trial coverage; 58 foreign journalists, representing 15 nations, have attended
since opening arguments in late February.
In covering the trial, the media must "walk a thin line of being properly
informative while not slipping off into underplaying it or overplaying it," says
Ben Bagdikian of the University of California Berkeley's graduate journalism
ABC Radio reporter Jane Platt says: "I feel a great responsibility to always be
balanced and unbiased. I was aware that the first trial was controversial; I'm
triply aware that this trial is."
Contributing: Sally Ann Stewart and Jonathan Lovitt
PHOTO,b/w,CBS via AP