Jewish World Review
July 28, 2000 / 25 Tamuz, 5760
Stop milking The Juice
BARBARA WALTERS thinks she deserves a pat on her silk-bloused back. Did
she save a life? Expose some injustice? Take a lonely stand for truth or
faith or freedom?
No. All she did was invite O.J. Simpson to appear on her yammering women's
TV show, "The View," which garnered considerable publicity. Then, when her
staff and viewers finally convinced her what a disgusting spectacle it
would have been to host America's most reviled football star /suspected
murderer, Walters disinvited O.J. -- a move that garnered even more
publicity. Newspaper headlines heralded the decision. Walters' studio
audience cheered on cue when she announced her disinvitation earlier this
ABC's exalted interviewer should bury her famous face in shame. What was
Walters thinking when she booked O.J. in the first place? Perhaps she
envisioned a cozy coffee klatch with O.J. and her "View" mates, all
blithely swapping souffle recipes and skin care tips with the man whom a
civil jury found guilty of the brutal murders of his ex-wife and her
friend. Perhaps Walters thought she could score a confessional revelation
or some other news-breaking tidbit.
Nah. Walters, the doyenne of fluff journalism, was thinking of only three
things: Ratings, ratings, ratings. She abandoned The Juice reluctantly, a
result of nagging peer pressure rather than a genuine desire to put honor
above Nielsens. Not that we should expect much from this morally-stunted
celebrity chaser. This is a grown woman, after all, who considers Monica
Lewinsky a "brave" and "fascinating" gal pal.
There are some news organizations on the O.J. bandwagon, however, which
should know and act better. Take Fox News. The 3-year-old cable network
supposedly offers the American public a conservative-friendly alternative
to the sycophantic mainstream media (like the NBC's Today Show, which also
welcomed O.J. for an interview this week). "We report, you decide," the
Fox News Channel's slogan boasts. I've been a fan of many of the Fox News
shows and personalities, but I've decided to stop watching most of them.
The network should change its slogan: "When O.J. talks, Fox listens."
On Tuesday, Simpson appeared on "Fox News Live" in the afternoon and on
"The Edge With Paula Zahn" in prime time. The network's website hyped the
interviews, which coincided with Simpson's hype campaign for his own
Internet pay site endeavor (which we will refrain from advertising here).
Teases and cross-promotions were endless. Fox News.com proudly directed
visitors to an archive of Internet videos of past O.J. appearances. "Juice
Explosion," one clip was captioned. "Bitter Juice," decried another.
|O.J. with Zahn at Fox
In October, Fox News rushed to put a 911 call on the air in which Simpson
reported having trouble with a girlfriend he claimed had a drug problem.
In June, the network had a field day when Simpson called in to "The Fox
Report with Shepard Smith" and insulted Denise Brown, his ex-wife's sister.
Over the past two months alone, a half-dozen different FOX shows have
devoted hours of "news" coverage, including: "O.J. Simpson Goes on the
Defensive, "Fallout Continues from O.J. Simpson-Denise Brown
Confrontation," "The O.J. Simpson Trial: Six Years Later," "Can O.J.
Simpson Prove His Innocence?," "Personal Story: O.J. Simpson's New Job,"
and "O.J. Simpson Gets Angry."
Fox chairman Rupert Murdoch should just make their tawdry relationship
permanent and give the low-life Simpson his own show.
Fox News president Roger Ailes tried to put a hard-nosed reporter's spin on
the most recent O.J. appearances: "(I)f he won't answer questions, then I
won't waste the time." But why waste air time probing Simpson for warped
answers that serve only to perpetuate lies, hate, and denigration of the
two dead, defenseless victims? This is not investigative sleuthing; it's
the journalistic equivalent of dumpster diving.
While Simpson promotes his latest venture on yet another trashy publicity
tour, the families have yet to collect a penny of the $33.5 million civil
judgment against Simpson for the murders of Nicole Simpson and Ronald
Goldman. They will be waiting a long time. Simpson, however, won't remain
in financial bankruptcy for long. He's cashing in on the moral bankruptcy
of media organizations that greedily embrace evil as
JWR contributor Michelle Malkin can be reached by clicking here.
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© 2000, Creators Syndicate