The American Thinker has an outstanding consideration of Sidney Lumet’s famous movie. As he says, it is agitprop, but it is also “it's also a terrific film, full ofgreat dialogue, drama, intensity, and superb acting, so tightly produced that there is not a moment or shot wasted.”
Margolies Sees 12 Angry Men as “a precusor and contributor to liberal reforms of court procedure that transformed the justice system in the 1960s and beyond, accompanied by a vast increase in violent crime rates.” What struck me, however, is how the dishonest methods he criticizes in the movie now permeate our criminal justice system and the tabloid media.
For instance, he does not like how Henry Fonda handled the evidence:
Fonda was not saying the boy didn't stab his father, but it's possible he didn't. Fonda was not saying the woman didn't see the boy stab his father, but it's possible she really didn't. Fonda was not saying the old man didn't hear the boy shout "I'll kill you" to his father and then see him running down the stairs, but it's possible he was mistaken or lying. Fonda's juror # 8 no doubt could have said with similar ease, "I'm not saying it wasn't Islamic terrorists who plowed two planes into the WTC, but it's possible." With jurors like Fonda, forget DNA, just open up the prison doors and let everybody out.
There were plenty of echoes of Fonda’s methods in the defense of DA Nifong in the Duke lacrosse case. For months a cadre of ex-prosecutors like Georgia Goslee and Wendy Murphy made the same sort of suggestion as the evidence of innocence piled up.
“It’s possible they wore condoms.”
“It’s possible she was given a date rape drug.”
“It’s possible the cab driver was paid off.”
“It’s possible the lawyers lied in their motions.”
“It’s possible the nurse did not notice her injuries.”
“It’s possible that one of the lax players has flipped and cut a deal.”
“It’s possible the DA has held back his best evidence.”
Yadda yadda yadda.
Nancy Grace and Bill O’Reilly are determined to make us a nation of angry men and women. They paint a picture of America where children are under siege and homicidal predators lurk behind every tree. Judges and lawyers conspire to protect evil-doers while innocent kids suffer.
Grace, of course, boasts of being an ex-prosecutor. BO’R is happy to give a platform to Murphy and Goslee. None of them care that the facts contradict their picture. Would Margolies call what they do agitprop?