ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Art and Life in America-The Trial of O J Simpson

The Trial of O J Simpson Carol Upadhya The trial of 0 J Simpson was broadcast like a soap opera but ended like a football match, with blacks and whites cheering opposing sides. Why did this happen? The racial tension that it generated had something to do with already existing racial divisions and inequalities in American society, but much more to do with the way in which the case was projected and produced by the media. The transformation of a murder trial into a race issue is but one example of the increasing control which the media exerts over the terms of public discourse in the US AS the trial of O J Simpson (ex-football star, television personality and probably the most famous person in America ever to go on trial for murder) for the brutal killings of his ex- wife and her male friend ground on for nine months, it began to look more like a long- running TV soap opera than real life. Millions of Americans watched the proceedings on TV, which were covered exhaustively by CNN, and an estimated 135 million people, or half the population, are thought to have watched or heard the verdict, which was carried live by all the major networks and cable channels (during which time advertising slots reportedly were sold at five times the normal price). With all of the interest generated by media hype, the case became a spectacle in which many of the tensions and contradictions of life in the US a 1995 were articulated and projected in black and white on to a large screen. As the verdict of 'not guilty' was read out, reports say, most whites reacted with dismay while many blacks cheered. Thus in the end the trial was transfromed from a TV drama into a football game, with blacks and whites largely championing opposing sides.

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