Here’s how NYT tweaked its obit for O.J. after massive backlash

O.J. Simpson passed away from prostate cancer on Wednesday at the age of 76, and the media reaction to his death brought to the surface once again the angst many Americans felt when the NFL player was acquitted in the brutal stabbing deaths of ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson and Ron Goldman.

But few reach the depths that The New York Times achieved in running cover for the accused double murderer. In fact, the newspaper was forced to tweak its obituary after major blowback over the claim Simpson’s life was ruined when he was charged with murder.

The obit stated, in part: “He ran to football fame on the field and made fortunes in movies. But his world was ruined after he was charged with killing his former wife and her friend.”

The sanitized version now reads:  “He ran to football fame and made fortunes in movies. His trial for the murder of his former wife and her friend became an inflection point on race in America.”

Another change followed this scandalous line, “The infamous case, which held up a cracked mirror to Black and white America, cleared Mr. Simpson but ruined his world.”

The reworked line reads: “The jury in the murder trial cleared him, but the case, which had held up a cracked mirror to Black and white America, changed the trajectory of his life.”

In what was billed as the “trial of the century,” Simpson went before a jury for the murders with an abundance of evidence against him, given the sloppy crime scene and Simpson’s actions. However, whether it was incompetent prosecutors or a racially biased jury — or both — O.J. walked.

His acquittal — perhaps the most shameful moment in US jurisprudence history — resulted in many black Americans celebrating, with little regard to the two victims butchered with a knife. For many, Simpson getting off for murdering two white people was seen as a balancing of the scales.

The Times’ sympathetic tone cannot be missed, as seen here:

 In 1997, a civil suit by the victims’ families found him liable for the deaths of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ronald L. Goldman, and ordered him to pay $33.5 million in damages. He paid little of the debt, moved to Florida and struggled to remake his life, raise his children and stay out of trouble.

In 2006, he sold a book manuscript, “If I Did It,” and a prospective TV interview, giving a “hypothetical” account of murders he had always denied committing. A public outcry ended both projects, but Mr. Goldman’s family secured the book rights, added material imputing guilt to Mr. Simpson and had it published.

 

There are few serious people who actually believe Simpson was innocent and did not kill two fellow human beings in cold blood. It also became clear that he was a wife-beater. His acquittal proved to be great fodder for those seeking to drive racial division and cast America as a racist nation.

Here’s a quick sampling of responses to the story, as seen on X:

Tom Tillison

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