Byline: THE WASHINGTON TIMES
When a California jury convicted Scott Peterson for the murders of his wife, Laci, and unborn son, Conner, on Friday, the celebrity trial that involved no celebrities came to a pleasing, if overdue, end. Any double-murder trial is serious business, but at times it seemed as if the five-month ordeal played out like a bad soap opera. That said, we disagree with Tom Rosenstiel, director of the Project for Excellence in Journalism, who told USA Today that the trial "doesn't have any inherent significance" and was "just a tabloid tale." In fact, the reverberations of the Peterson trial began nearly a year ago and will be felt for some time.
For once, the media circus that surrounded the proceedings did some good. The daily reports and cable news coverage always separated Mrs. Peterson's death from Conner's, perhaps because the Petersons' unborn child had a name. Pro-life activists and Washington conservatives rightly took advantage of the publicity by pushing ahead with the Unborn Victims of Violence Act, which grants legal status to unborn children killed during the commission of a federal crime. In April, three months before Peterson went to trial, President Bush signed the legislation, already dubbed "Laci and Conner's Law. …