... and too bad

Jenny Jones: Jury reflected growing frustration with irresponsible entertainment.

May 15, 1999

A JURY recently sent a message about responsibility: It hammered Jenny Jones' tawdry talk show with a $25 million judgment in a civil lawsuit.

Jurors sympathized with the family of a man who was murdered after he revealed on Ms. Jones' show that he harbored a secret love for a male friend. He was shot days later by the humiliated friend.

The First Amendment offers Ms. Jones and her ilk necessary -- but not limitless -- protection. Such shows should not misrepresent topics, violate rights of privacy or goad participants into doing harm to others for entertainment.

Ms. Jones apologized for Scott Amedure's death at age 32, but argued that she could not have foreseen Jonathan Schmitz's rage following the March 1995 show. Whether that defense ultimately prevail in an appeals court, it is losing in the court of public opinion.

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