The dramatic coverage that surrounds the trials of Andrea Sneiderman and Hemy Neuman may calm down now that Sneiderman has been convicted of 9 out of 13 counts of perjury and sentenced to five years imprisonment, four with time served. Sneiderman and Neuman have been the center of wild speculation outside of the courtroom throughout both trials. According to a “Friends of Andrea” blog post written by Gayle Stephenson, Sneiderman is a victim not only of former GE boss Hemy Neuman's mental illness and forward advances, but also of the agendas of those involved in the legal process and media coverage of the event.
On Aug. 19th Stephenson published a post entitled “Support and care for Andrea Sneiderman” which begins, "I would like for you to know that you have been so unjustly maligned, mistreated and persecuted by a group of soulless people whose only interests lie in using any tactics and means allowed by the law to further their own agendas of fame, ego, notoriety, and power."
Later Stephenson also calls out specific media coverage of the trial, stating that “the 11 Alive News Team has chosen to pre-determine your fate and guilt with very biased dissertations and comments, and even an evening program with a "show" Judge sitting in to comment on your guilt and the meaning of the trial events.”
This case certainly has all of the elements necessary to grab the public eye with possible multiple affairs, scandal, mental illness with religious overtones, and an outcry from the victim's family for justice for their loved one.
Somehow however Rusty Sneiderman, the victim, has gotten lost in the maelstrom of media coverage. This is often the case when situations such as this end up splashed across the front pages, such as the infamous Debra Lafave scandal which never even went to trial. It is up to interpretation whether or not Sneiderman is a victim as well, of both the courts and possibly even gender disparity in the United States. Perhaps Sneiderman was the target of initially unwanted sexual advances of a mentally unstable superior, and perhaps those advances became a dangerous obsession.
While Sneiderman's potential victimhood is up to interpretation, it is certain that the media was quick to condemn, often sending out conflicting messages. Take, for instance, the interview between Dr. Drew, Judge Karen Mills-Frances, and criminal profiler Pat Brown. Mill-Francis and Brown take turns painting Snedeirman as a manipulative woman who seemingly took advantage of the mental state of Neuman, and Neuman as a seemingly cold-blooded and almost psychopathic killer. Mills-Francis and Brown even go so far as to state that the use of the insanity plea is a last ditch effort by Neuman to get away with murder. If Neuman is not bipolar, and therefore in an easily manipulated mentally weakened state, then how could Sneiderman take advantage?
Journalism is changing, and a 24-hour news cycle creates a demand and expectation for information that may be counterproductive and even damaging to society. These situations serve as a stark reminder that truth and justice may not always go hand-in-hand. Perhaps Stephenson makes a fair point when she states in the same blog post that “unfortunately media theatrics now take precedence over the Law, and over common decency.”