Media Coverage & O.J. MAG

By Unknown, Unknown, Unknown

   Media Coverage & O.J.

by K. B., Merrick, NY

Media coverage of the O.J. Simpson case has plagued our television screens and newspapers for the past six months.

When should the press draw the line on what information about this case should be released to the public? I feel this line was crossed a week after the murders when the outrageous car chase was televised over all major networks.

What exactly was it these cameras were trying to capture? It seems to me sheer sensationalism was on the minds of greedy television execs who were sitting at the edge of their seats waiting for our so-called American "hero," O.J. Simpson, to blow his brains out.

The Simpson case has even managed to lessen the journalistic integrity of such news magazines as Time. On a Time cover published soon after the murders, Simpson's mug shot was doctored, giving the impression that he was guilty. Not only did this go against every ethical principle in the book, but it also dispelled the statement that this country is built on, "Man is innocent until proven guilty."

Competition for the best story and latest information have reporters disregarding a very important quality - accuracy. Many times information surrounding the case has been untrue, or simply a rumor, because the media was only interested in making their broadcast or newspaper number one. This further confused the case and violated more journalistic principles.

The pre-empting of daytime broadcasts to televise the courtroom events is ludicrous. Interruptions were made when Simpson's attorneys (a.k.a. "the Dream Team") requested small items for their client, which had nothing to do with the trial. I have to admit that this could have a positive effect. Broadcast of the hearings and trial gives us an up-close look at the court system and a better understanding of how it works. However, it isn't essential and should not monopolize the major networks.

Another positive aspect of the case is the way domestic violence is being brought to the forefront of social issues. Allegations pending against O.J. Simpson for wife battery and the 911 calls made by Nicole Simpson have more people aware of spouse abuse.

Whether he's guilty or not, O.J. deserves a fair trial. The media overkill placed on the case is only hurting the rights this country gives him and every other citizen. One can only hope that with the actual trial drawing near, journalists will think before they report and the public will wise up and turn off their televisions.

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