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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Fox has second thoughts about Simpson confession

    Justyn DillinghamEditor-in-Chief
    Justyn Dillingham
    Editor-in-Chief

    Who would have thought that Rupert Murdoch had a conscience?

    Murdoch’s decision to cancel Fox’s scheduled two-part interview with disgraced football star O.J. Simpson was undoubtedly prompted by numerous Fox affiliates’ refusal to show it. Murdoch also cancelled the accompanying book, “”If I Did It,”” which several national bookstores had refused to carry.

    In the interview and book, the man at the center of the most notorious American trial of the ’90s was set to confess that he was, indeed, the murderer of his ex-wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, and her friend Ron Goldman. (“”If”” was a cop-out that fooled no one; what innocent man trying to clear his name explains how he might have done it?)

    Well, that’s not exactly news. Simpson’s trial, a mind-numbingly drawn-out affair that consumed the attention of the entire media for most of 1995, may have ended with him walking free, but it left most people convinced that the one-time hero to millions was a cold-blooded, unrepentant killer. And now Simpson himself was ready to cash in by confessing.

    The Simpson confession prompted not only a firestorm of controversy but also a backlash within the borders of Murdoch’s globe-straddling media empire. Fox News’s hapless pundits, inundated with hundreds of angry e-mails, protested that their network had nothing to do with the Fox Broadcasting Company.

    “”Has O.J. Gone Too Far This Time?”” an ABC News headline asked, hilariously. That’s right, O.J. – murder is one thing, but let’s not get carried away.

    There’s little to be said for Simpson himself, whose reaction to the cancellation was described by his lawyer to be “”indifferent.”” If he’s guilty, his confession comes far too late – he couldn’t be punished now even if he turned himself in. In the unlikely event that he’s innocent, one can only assume that 11 years of living in a country full of people who think he’s a murderer has finally driven him insane.

    The real story here is Fox. They’ve been profiting from bad taste and vulgarity as long as they’ve been around, from “”Married With Children”” in the late ’80s to the yellow journalism of Fox News in the late ’90s.

    Murdoch probably acted more out of self-concern for his reputation than out of any regard for decency. But he wouldn’t have acted at all if other people hadn’t recognized that. Even in a degraded and decadent culture where profit always takes precedent over morality, this was just too much.

    There was something downright heroic in the spectacle of countless NewsCorp employees rallying against this appalling project, and even getting it stopped.

    It almost gave one hope for the future. If corporations can be human, so can the rest of us.

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