Has O.J. Gone Too Far This Time?

What a week.

Brings me back a dozen years, when I was a trial reporter for a local TV station in Los Angeles, with one two-year-long assignment -- the trial of the century.

A divisive, even explosive courtroom drama in which O.J. Simpson, a once-beloved athlete, was seen as a victim of police misconduct by some -- including the jury -- and as a ruthless killer by others.

And now the case has exploded back into pop-culture consciousness with the media equivalent of a car crash -- hard to look at and, for those who covered it, especially hard to turn away from.

But has O.J. gone too far this time?

Outrage is at high alert over a book few have read, a book that promises new details about the Brentwood murders of Simpson's ex-wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, and her friend Ron Goldman -- from a man the book's press release said "knows the facts better than anyone."

Advance orders put it at No. 29 on Amazon.com.

Late Thursday night, with anger over the book project growing, Simpson's publisher, Judith Regan, made a dramatic turnaround, releasing a statement in which she said that she set Simpson up in a bid to get a confession out of him on behalf of battered women everywhere, herself among them. Regan's statement also said she "contracted with a third party" who told her that the money from the book would go to Simpsons' children.

Along with the upcoming book, Fox Television is promoting a two-part interview with Simpson to be broadcast later this month.

'Everybody's Talking'

Vanity Fair writer Dominick Dunne seemed to speak for many when he told ABC News, "I don't think it should be shown. I think people should boycott it, but they won't.

"I would love to say, 'I'm not going to look at it.' But I know I will look at it.

"He's got everybody talking about him again," Dunne went on to say, in an interview that airs on "20/20" Friday night. "Everybody. Wherever you go."

Dunne said he "went to get some milk this morning at the country store here," in rural Connecticut, "and … they're talking about it in there."

Dunne said he blames Regan -- a friend of his, he said -- for pushing O.J. to reveal more and more, a charge she denied in her statement Thursday.

"And Rupert Murdoch and Fox ... for exploiting this and ... I think they're cheapening themselves," Dunne said.

He credited Regan for her savvy as a publisher.

"She's very funny, and she's fun to be around," he said. "I'm sure she starts talking to these writers, and she can get them to tell her stuff that nobody else could get them to do.

"I'm sure she became great pals with O.J during this period," Dunne said. "You know, 'Go further. Go further. Go further.'"

'What Have We Become?'

Former Los Angeles Police Department Detective Mark Fuhrman, himself once the target of widespread scorn after he was recorded making racially disparaging comments, told ABC News he believes the Simpson book project is a sad benchmark on the nation's long decline into news as pure infotainment.

"Really, what have we become as a nation?" he asked in an interview with ABC News. "We have somebody we know commits a double murder, slashes two people, stabs them to death … the mother of his children! He's writing about 'Well, if I did it, this is how I'd kill your mother.' This is entertainment?

Page
  • 1
  • |
  • 2
Join the Discussion
blog comments powered by Disqus
 
You Might Also Like...