Monday, November 20, 2006

At long last, Rupert Murdoch admits he was wrong about something

That something, of course, was the proposed book and Fox TV special, If I Did It, by Orenthal James Simpson. After over two dozen affiliates of the Fox network said they were not going to air the show and at least one book store chain said they had no intention of stockng the book on its shelves, Murdoch the self-proclaimed "billionaire tyrant" was forced to retract the concept and pulled the plug; offering a written apology to the Goldman and Brown families.

Frankly, I don't know if OJ did it or not. I lean towards not. But, that's not the point. The point here was a guy who wrote a book imagining how he might have done it. This isn't a mystery novel we're talking about. These are two real life people whose lives were cut down. They were friends ... they possibly might have had a special relationship, or just good buddies. Nicole Brown was by no means perfect (from some contemporary accounts at the time she fell in with the drug crowd), but she was also just trying to get on with her life after a pretty rocky marriage with the Juice. As for Ronald Goldman, he was totally innocent. All he was trying to do was return a pair of glasses that Nicole had left behind at a restaurant.

The criminal trial was a total disaster. Few if any remember the judges who presided over the trials of Charles Manson, Sam Berkowitz or Ted Bundy. But everyone still remembers Lance Ito; whose own wife got dragged into the sordid affair when the lead investigator, Mark Fuhrman, made some rather nasty remarks about her. In the end, Simpson got acquitted not because of his stellar legal team or the glove that didn't fit, but because the jury -- after meeting for just four hours -- were convinced his limo driver got his timing wrong about when he picked up OJ the next day. I guess that counts for reasonable doubt, but I don't think anyone thought he was going to be acquitted -- whether he was truly culpable or not.

We all know about the civil trial so I won't retread that. But here's what it comes down to. Any responsible person who was truly innocent would not exploit the murders of those he or she was accused of killing. After vindication, one would sue the government for malicious prosecution and spare no effort to find the real killers; or at least keep reminding people there was still a cold case. OJ didn't sue the LAPD, or the LA District Attorney; even though both dealt with evidence that was in part tampered with. He instead hit the golf course -- and by law his NFL pension of $25,000 a month is protected from the civil damage award levied against him. He'll only ever have to pay if he wins the jackpot in a lottery or casino and he's not that stupid.

Compare that to, say, Guy Paul Morin. After ten years, he was finally cleared of wrongdoing and eventually settled out of court for his legal expenses. The inquiry that followed revealed the cops to be truly inept in their investigation. He still appears occasionally to remind us all that the real killer of Christine Jessop is still out there. He's a real gentleman.

And for once, Rupert has proven he is one too. He actually just one time listened to the outrage of both conservatives and progressives and decided enough is enough.

OJ is not. Even if he's innocent, one doesn't just imagine how he would have killed two people. He would instead "work the refs" and try to get to the bottom of what really happened. The fact he hasn't tells me he is a freak, and people should treat him as such.

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