The Spectacle: Media and the Making of the O.J. Simpson Story

The Spectacle: Media and the Making of the O.J. Simpson Story

The Spectacle: Media and the Making of the O.J. Simpson Story

The Spectacle: Media and the Making of the O.J. Simpson Story

Synopsis

In the "Year of Simpson", the country was caught in the throes of the biggest story ever. No other single news event in our history could match the sheer scope and intensity of coverage given to the O.J. Simpson murder case. But the media did not just report the Simpson case, they were instrumental in creating it - a spectacle of such stupendous proportions that it "hijacked" American culture. In this critical expose of American media, Thaler presents a riveting narrative about the men and women who gave us the story of the century. It is a tale of the media grappling with their role as news-reporting entities; seduced by the values of entertainment and tabloidism; and faced with increased competition, fragmented audiences, and frantic pressure to keep both eyes on the bottom line.

Excerpt

In the Year of Simpson we kept our eyes fastened on the big story. Few could argue that the story was not of epic dimensions. Indeed, no other single news event in our history could match the sheer scope and intensity of coverage given to the murder case in Los Angeles.

From June 1994 through October 1995, the Simpson story overtook our culture, sweeping away all other news--in fact, virtually all other public discussion--in its path. This was an event, one critic so aptly noted, that had "hijacked" American culture. To not know SimpsonSpeak circa 1994-95 spoke to a person's cultural illiteracy, as well as to where America regrettably had arrived in the fading moments of the twentieth century.

Simpson was a story of obsession. Even in the aftermath of the criminal trial, it became a weary recitation by the trial's winners and losers. Typically, the replays argued over the legal machinations and the personal subplots that infested the case. But for all the chatter, the bitter perception remained that something had gone horribly awry in Judge Lance Ito's courtroom--that justice had failed miserably. The blame was placed on virtually every major trial participant: from the judge who lost control, to the "inept" prosecution, to the defense team that unabashedly played its race card at every turn, to the jury that blinked at the massive evidence before coming to its near-instant decision.

Strangely, for all the post-trial finger pointing, lost in the sound and fury was a broad critique about the pivotal role the media had played in the so-called Trial of the Century. As the sentinels of a . . .

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