The Day the News Died…

The date was June 17, 1994 – An event that changed news and the way it was reported forever.  The scene… a Southern California freeway, the 405 to be exact! 

Every television station in the country honed in on the signal from the local news chopper following the infamous white Ford Bronco as  Los Angles police vehicles pursued slowly behind.  Inside the SUV were Al Cowlings and some guy named Orenthal James Simpson.  Simpson had failed to show up at one of the police department precincts as agreed upon between his attorneys and investigators to inquire about the double murder of his wife Nicole and her friend Ron Goldman.  While there were over a thousand reporters who showed up for what they though would be Simpson turning himself in, now there were an estimated 95 million watching on television.  This was “Cops” before there were cops.  This was a live pursuit of a famous football player, movie star, sports announcer and rental car pitchman who a large portion of America recognized on sight and adored.  He was suspected of killing his wife and her companion, a white woman no less.  And word on the street was that he made what seemed like threats to kill himself during this slow chase.

And this my friends is in my opinion the event that changed the way the news is reported forever.  The subsequent rumors, innuendos and gossip that followed leading up to the trial became headline news from LA to Boston, from Minnesota to Texas… the OJ trial was the talk of the nation.  Names like Kato, Darden, Fuhrman, Garcetti, Ito, Clark, Cochran, and Dershowitz became household.  And there was a demand to get the inside scoop on it so they added legal experts like Greta Van Susteren to the mix.  She ended up with her own TV show and after the trial a show called Court TV was born.  All because of this OJ event.

What I remember most was the verdict.  It was broadcast all over radio and television.  At the time I worked at a company where our whole operation depended on telephone lines being manned at all times.  Each of us operators left our desk and gathered around a radio at the reception area and the boss didn’t utter a word.  She was right there with us.  When they read the not guilty verdicts the reaction of the White secretary said it all.  She burst into tears on the spot sobbing as if Nicole were her sister.  Most black folk including myself were not as convinced of Simpson’s guilt, especially in light of the way the police handled the evidence as well as the lying testimony of bigot Mark Furhman.  Nevertheless the country was split straight down the middle.  White folks were going Hebrew biblical tearing their clothes in sat-cloth and ashes.  Black folks who honestly didn’t give a damn about OJ post his Buffalo Bills playing days, felt it was about time a black man wasn’t convicted just because he was accused even as white folks wanted his head passionately regardless of evidence.  Opinions ran strong and feeling deeply expressed across offices nationwide.  This took the sensationalism of the news media to a whole new level.

Initially we had investigative journalistic shows like Geraldo Rivera.  He made the genre famous and paved the way for Hard Copy and from there we got a mild but now notorious blowhard Bill O’Reilly on Inside Edition.  By then that Pandora’s Box had been slammed wide open as television producers figured that they could combine the news with the gossip.  Stations like CNN and Fox News were popular, but the OJ trial put them over the top as viewers flocked their cable stations to see the latest speculation and opinions of so called experts.  Local news cast figured they’d better get in on the mix less they be left out.  I mean who wants to hear about local politics and the school board when Cochran was rhyming, “If it doesn’t fit you must acquit?” And if that wasn’t enough, once Princess Diana was killed in that car accident, it was a wrap!  News and popular culture would be forever intertwined with mainstream media. 

I believe this is the origin of and main reason we suffer from a news media that is so entertainment centered while the important issues get’s dilluted.  Bleeding no longer leads as much as scandal sales.  

So there you have it! 

That’s my take.  What’s yours?

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Pick One

Barack and Michelle or Will and Jada (Coolest couple to hang with for a night)

Stevie Wonder or Ray Charles

Denzel Washington or Billy D Williams (heart throbs in their prime)

Denzel or Sidney Portier (acting skills only)

Dianne Carroll or Ruby Dee 

The Grammys or the AMA’s

Bird or Miles

Venus or Serena

Cracker Barrell or IHOP

The Pope or the Dalai Lama (to dine & have have an open and honest dialogue with about religion & world affairs)

Malcolm or Martin (one conversation…why)

OJ or Clarence Thomas (black folks that black folk don’t care about the most)

OJ or Osama (person of color Whites hate the most)

Rush or Hannity (most ignorant racist in media)

The Five Heartbeats or The Temptations

Hannible Lecter or Kevin Spacey in Se7en (coldest criminal)

Losing in Las Vegas, or The Negro Nobody Cares About….

When thinking of this blog the words of a wise man came to me….

You’ve got to know when to hold’em

Know when to fold’em

Know when to walk away…

And know when to run…

Yes that great wise man Kenny Rogers broke this revelation down many years ago.  And yet some of us just don’t get it.  This is such the case with one Orenthal James Simpson, who after escaping the wrath of justice over a decade ago never knew when to say when… never understood that he needed to stay down and keep a low profile…. never understood you can’t keep pulling the tail of the tiger without the beast biting your head off.  Now the cat is behind bars for kidnapping, armed robbery, along with 10 other charges.  I mean, how many times does a prosecutor win on every count they give to the jury?  And how is this for irony?  He was convicted exactly 13 years to the day after the murder aquittals! 

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I said recently that The Juice should have taken whatever plea the prosecution offered.  It was clear he was going to do time.  No way he was going to win another high profile case in America… regardless of the circumstances.  With thoughts of Rick Pitino – Johnnie Cochran, F Lee Bailey, and Alan Dershowitz were not walking through the court’s doors.

“Take the knee Juice,” was my advice.  Look at the other notables who are either in jail or are doing jail – folks with just as much money if not more than is in his bank accounts.  Marion Jones, Michael Vick for example.   Sure those were federal cases, cases the feds generally never lose – but this was set up in the same fashion.  It was clear that after the infamous case where names like Ito, Darden, and Clark failed to do what America thought should have been done, he should have figured out he was going to have to do some time – so at least take a plea and get it over with.  But naw… The Juice thought he was Teflon Don… an now he is probably going to spend the rest of his miserable life signing footballs for guys named Tiny. 

What a tragedy… especially for Simpson’s kids.  God bless them.  But this was bound to happen.

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BBG C-Notes – Week Ending Sept 12-4

I know there has been a mostly serious tone in the house lately.  So let’s lighten it up a bit for the weekend while “still keepin it real.” 

First I have to give love to those in the gulf coast especially in Texas.  Thoughts and prayers to you as Ike approaches.  And now… the C-Notes.

** Memo to Orenthal – I know that up until this point you have practically been superman!  You’ve rolled like the man of steel.  You’ve been bulletproof!  But you may want to strike a deal with the prosecutor for that sting operation you pulled last year to get your gear in Vegas.  Do a lil jail time, feed the wolves and go about your way.  These white folks are NOT going to let you skate again.  The squeeze is on Juice.  Take a knee on this one.

** I am a huge Lance Armstrong fan!  Loved his book and found it quite incredible and inspirational.  Winning all those Tour De France titles was legendary – even amid all the doping speculation as well as the utter hate by the French.  You’ve won man – you proved your point!  No need to get back in the game now.  Don’t get me wrong, if anybody can do this it’s Livestrong!  But its clear that even cyclist who achieve greatness often stay a bit too long tarnishing their legacies.  This is an example of American arrogance.  Leave it be Lance!  Between your age and the fact that the whole nation will be holding fort at the airport with syringes when you get there… no way this goes good for you. 

*** Had a conversation the other day and was reminded how sweet this time of the elections would  be if Tim Russert were still with us.  He would not be letting this election distraction of Palin get by.  He would question her record and without missing a step keep John McCain’s feet to the fire.  Remember as horrible a selection as Palin is, the more people talk about her the less they talk about McCain.   He has been able to skate by on his lack of substance by putting her in the bright lights.  Many Americans are falling for this misdirection play.  Talk about lipstick on a pig….! 

***GAS GRASS (Coke) & ASS

So did you hear about the scandal involving several oil company representatives and the people they are working to have off shore drilling approved?  It seems that an investigation found that these oil executives where doing, (ahem) their own brand of off-shore drilling to the same people whose agencies offer offshore drilling leases and collects royalties.  Talk about partying like rock starts!!!  Apparently the cats at Chevron, Shell, and Hess among others really know how to “get down” with the MS Chicks!  Well at least you know why your gas prices are so…. uhhh “high”. 

*** I still can’t help but to be saddened by the fall of former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick.  I was proud when he got elected.  I was rooting for him!  Got to see him during my one visit to Detroit and found him quite impressive.  This article from the Detoit Free Press does a good job of detailing a balanced perspective.  Kwame has flavor and charisma, and he rose at a very young age.  But the young brother got caught up and I don’t know that he can ever come back politically from this.  Stay close to your family brotha.  They will help you find peace and then pick up the pieces.

*** Big game in college football this weekend!   

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Who ya wit?!!!

“I got Southern Cal – them Big Ten teams are too slow to hang with this killa squad!”

Have a blessed weekend family~