O.j Simpson’s Case And The Media


Orenthal James Simpson, also known as 'OJ Simpson' or 'The Juice', is a former NFL football star, actor, advertising spokesman and broadcaster. OJ was living his dream, reaching the approach of many people through the football world, even he was the 'MVP and AP Man Athlete of the Year in 1973'. He was a very well-known celebrity when suddenly he was accused of murder. It is believed that on July 12 of 1994, OJ Simpson killed his ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson and a close friend of her Ronald Goldman, a waiter from the Mezzaluna Restaurant. It is presumed that two years after their divorce, Brown was having more than a friendship with his friend Goldman and that was the reason for the stabbing to death in front of Brown´s condominium.

OJ´s early years were calmed and full of fame and money, which make these accusations hard to believe, but the fame and money is not all. Many years after this unsolved scandalous, he and three other men were arrested in Las Vegas by armed robbery and kidnapping. Many evidence was shown in the countless trials, but any trial could conclude if Simpson was guilty or innocence of the death of his ex-wife and her friend, since he counted with the presence of many intelligent and good lawyers friends.

Crime Setting

The death of OJ´s wife and her friend took place in Nicole´s condo and they were found t around 12:10, there are many version of the location of OJ at that time, but he suggested that he was at McDonalds with a close friend known as Brian Kato and then they arrived home because of the scheduled flight at 11:45 to Chicago. This is the begging of the nightmare of OJ because the next day many people were pointing to him as the prime suspect. He was accused by the limousine driver who suggested that at 10:55 he saw a 'shadowy figure' at the entrance of OJ´s home. Many theories began following the evidence found by detectives at the crime scene, for that reason the day that OJ return to Los Angeles he was being wanted to arrest him but he had disappeared. The agreement that Simpson and his lawyer, Robert Shapiro, had not shown up and 'the police announced that he was a fugitive from justice'. Here is where began the 'trial of the century'. He had promised that he will have a meeting with the authorities on June 17, 1994. That day this agreement ended on a 'chase through the highways of Los Angeles, with helicopters capturing all of it from above, as Simpson made his way to his home in Brentwood, the exclusive - and almost exclusively white - suburb of LA's Westside' (Webster, 2016). Not only that, at that moment his lawyer was exposing a suicide note that OJ wrote before the persecution of the LAPD. This event of the suicide notification and crazy chase gave much to talk about this celebrity.

Authorities investigated too much to have the answer that everyone wants to know. According to a University of Colorado Law Review, the prosecutors relied on three proofs such as the mood and behavior of the celebrity, the physical proofs, and scientific pieces of evidence. At that moment he was angry because his ex-wife breaks up with him and sad because he was losing his current relationship with his girlfriend Paula Barbieri. When we talked about the physical proofs, the investigators found a blood-soaked glove, a cut on OJ finger, a knitted hat and bloody shoe prints. On a YouTube video, BuzzFeed (2017) suggest that the scientific evidence showed that the blood found out in the glove is a mixture of OJ, Nicole, and Ronald together, his friend who accompanied him to McDonalds said he did not have that cut on his finger at that time, the fiber analysis of hair of the hat matches with OJ´s and the shoe that he was using that day matches with OJ shoe size but that shoe was never found.

Theoretical Analysis of the crime

One theory that explains the OJ´s crime would be the Dominant ideology because the Marxism people like OJ have the power to change the information that is exposed to him from media. OJ Simpson was pointed as guilty for many reasons and enough proof was shown but they are ignored because they failed to persuade the jury. Enough proofs could be the physical and scientific evidence but it is estranged how with this quantity of proofs the authorities and investigators could not find the guilty. Nevertheless, there is evidence that pointed OJ as the killer of Nicole Brown, that is the fact that she was afraid of him because he was having a bad behavior toward her. Media suggests in many ways that Simpson had plenty of motive to killed his ex-wife, he was prone to hit her, stalk her and degrade her. Even a YouTube Video, suggested that that is not the first time that she is scared of his ex-husband. On that video is demonstrated how the police exposed a record that suggests Nicole Brown a year before her death called 911 to ask help. There is a lot of coincidence and evidence in this case to stays as an unsolved case.

On the other hand, there are theories of other possible suspects but somehow they are related to OJ. As BuzzFeed (2017) explains, the other possible suspect could be the serial killer Glen Rogers because he confessed that he killed Nicole Brown and Ronald Goldman but only because he was hired for by OJ to steal a pair of Nicole´s earring from her house which suggested that OJ still being guilt. The last suspect is OJ´s son, Jason Simpson, he was pointed by a private investigator since he was at that moment on probation after attacked his boss with a knife and not only attacked his boss but also has attacked girlfriends. Jason has assault two times with a knife and he had been diagnosed with intermittent rage disorder and he stopped taking the prescribed medicaments at the moment of the murder. All of this makes him even more suspiciously on the crime scene.

The hegemony is shown in this case because the powerful classes obtain approval by their actions instead of by coercion. Like everybody knows OJ belongs to the dominant class due to his career as a football player and he gained the love and support of many people. The media exposed the version that everyone knows but it was not enough to obtain the hate of his followers, even many people outside the jury were doing protests to support the freedom of this celebrity. Though the case of the murder of Nicole Brown and his friend is unsolved, OJ was arrested for months until the many trials suggested that he was not guilty. 'Johnnie Cochran, OJ Simpson's lawyer, was able to win an acquittal for his client by making the mid-nineties trial about race, not a double murder. To do so, he manipulated the media, according to Christopher Darden, one of the prosecutors charged with trying Simpson.' With his mentioned is notorious how media could be manipulated by a powerful person with financial resources for him to look not guilty.

Media Involved in the Case

As I mentioned before the media was very involved in this case since the first day, they knew everything about the crime scene, even better than the detectives. The obsession with damage to the image of a celebrity is everywhere and violence of a very well-known person is newsworthy and violence is a primary part of news selection. The notorious impact of social media in the Simpson trial is that they have minute by minute updates and conversation on the proceedings. 'Despite the lack of social media, the Simpson case still permeated pop culture, particularly television' (Adweek, 2016). At that moment, people do not have the media that we have today which helps us to be aware of everything around the world, but that was not a problem for people because too many people were in touch with the crime since the media exposed everything that they know about the event.

OJ was being watched for too many people, maybe he was not aware of the magnitude of his actions when he committed the murder but too many media were involved in this case. It is countless and we do not have precisely how many people were knowing this crime. According to Los Angeles Times (2017), 'CBS' coverage led the broadcast networks with an audience of 3.1 million viewers, followed by ABC (2.3 million), NBC (1.9 million) and the Fox broadcast network (1.3 million). Fox News Channel led the cable networks with (1.7 million), topping CNN (1.1 million), HLN (559,000) and ESPN (471,000)'. This event took the attention of Los Angeles and many other countries since he was a very well-known personality of the TV thanks to his fame. An article wrote by JStorDaily (2016) suggested that Derek Alderman mentioned that 'Guinness Book of World Records lists the Simpson case as the ‘most viewed trial' with a daily average of 5.5 million Americans watching live coverage.' (Caldwell, 2016). With this, he pointed out that this case was the center of American cultural life, and people did not want to know any news if that was not related to the O.J event. When it comes to a famous person, the attention of the media is more involved and this crime was not an exception.

Perspective concerning the media effect in case outcomes

Clearly, the presence of the media is any time on these events, not only the murders but also on any crime event. Media was obsessed with the case, people could not see the news or turn on the TV without listening or watch anything about the trial or the case. The presence of media created both sides, the population who support him and the population who was against him. According to an analysis of O.J verdict posted on Frontline (2005), Brooke Gladstone suggests that 'O.J. left an enormous and rather dark legacy across all news media, and particularly cable news.' Cable news was around the OJ´s trial day after day, which shake the opinions of the many people. OJ and his group of lawyers created disputes around the black and white population they suggested that OJ was being accused because of his race.

A study of public sympathy for O.J Simpson conducted surveys to analyzed who believes if he is guilty or not, and this study concluded that race has a big influence on American society and like they use this as an excuse they gained the support of many people. Females and blacks believed that he was not guilty, while older people, higher-income individuals, and educated individuals believed he was guilty. It is notorious that for blacks always criminal justice will be against them. All opinions were born thanks to media because they were who published anything that was happening on the trials if they were not there anyone would be aware of the ideologies of OJ and his lawyers. Media created controversies among society and without a doubt still different beliefs about the OJ case despite the number of years that have passed.

Works Cited

  • Adweek. (2016). How Social Media Could´ve Changed the O.J. Simpson Trial. Retrieved from: https://www.adweek.com/digital/this-is-how-social-media-couldve-changed-the-o-j-simpson-trial/
  • Alderman, D. (1997). TV News Hyper-Coverage and the Representation of Place: Observations on the O. J. Simpson Case. Geografiska Annaler. Series B, Human Geography, 79(2), 83-95. Retrieved from http://www.jstor.org/stable/490620
  • Battaglio, S. (2017). O.J. Simpson’s parole hearing is a ratings dud with 13.5 million viewers. Retrieved from: https://www.latimes.com/business/hollywood/la-fi-ct-simpson-parole-ratings-20170721-story.html
  • BuzzFeed Multiplayer. (2017, Mar 4). The Shocking Case of O.J. Simpson. [Video File]. Retrieved from: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YLmDE_JYUNU
  • Caldwell, E.C. (2016). O.J Simpson: Media Spectacle Then and Now. ‌Retrieved from: https://daily.jstor.org/o-j-simpson-media-and-spectacle-then-and-now/
  • Enomoto, C. (1999). Public Sympathy for O. J. Simpson: The Roles of Race, Age, Gender, Income, and Education. The American Journal of Economics and Sociology, 58(1), 145-161. Retrieved from http://www.jstor.org/stable/3487883
  • Glandstone, B.. (2005). Rating the Media´s Performance. Frontline. Retrieved from: https://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/oj/themes/media.html
  • Michaux, C. (2017, Aug 6). OJ Simpson What Happened | Documentary 2017. Retrieved from: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RhpkJ8VF040
  • Mueller, C.. (1996). Introduction: O.J. Simpson and the Criminal Justice System on Trial. University of Colorado Law School, 67, 3-22. Oct, 15, De Colorado Law Faculty Scholarship. Retrieved from: https://scholar.law.colorado.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1684&context=articles
  • Staley, O. (2017). OJ Simpson´s Lawyers Manipulated the Media as Masterfully as Trump, According to the Prosecutor the Beat. Retrieved from: https://qz.com/1036593/how-did-oj-simpsons-lawyer-johnny-cochran-win-by-manipulating-the-media-according-to-the-prosecutor/
  • Swieciki, Z. (n.d). Media Coverage and Effects of the OJ Simpson Trial. Retrieved from: https://evolutionofcrimenews.tumblr.com
  • Webster, A. (2016). The OJ Simpson story: Why vision of that low-speed car chase still haunts America. Retrieved from: https://go-gale-com.proxy.lib.fsu.edu/ps/i.do?p=AONE&u=tall85761&id=GALE%7CA455416798&v=2.1&it=r&sid=ebsco
16 December 2021
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