Derik Schneider Online

Life is a Highway

Life is a Highway
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Friday, 19 April 2013

ESPN: Video: June 17th 1994: The OJ Simpson Ford Bronco Chase




I remember this very well, because I had just graduated from high school. And was in Delaware vacationing with my family and I believe I was watching the NBA Finals on NBC. And then of course NBC News breaks in with live coverage of this chase which was different from other Los Angeles car chases. Which of course aren’t rare in Los Angeles, but what made this care chase different was that it involved a celebrity and NBC News and other news organizations breaking into a championship series, or whatever they were showing and stopped showing, to cover this tabloid story. Is just another example and perhaps the biggest example of what news has become in America. At least TV news, where its not what’s important to cover that is important, but what is popular to cover and how you make the most money. Covering that story to spend so much time and energy covering one murder trial. Not that it shouldn’t of been covered, which of course the supporters of the coverage will say. But to cover it basically at the expense of every other news story thats going on.

So-called reality TV, which of course isn’t reality TV, but tabloid TV, didn’t start in the late 1990s or 2000, with Survivor on CBS. It started in the mid 1990s in 1994 with OJ Simpson. And his famous duel murders and his Trial of The Century. Before social networking and before Google, but right in the early days of cellphones and the Internet. And when cable news was becoming very important with the 24 hour news cycle. You also have to remember that OJ, was not just an actor, but an accomplished one and perhaps not someone you want doing your taxes for you, but smart enough and with the personality to get people’s attention and put the focus on him. He knew he was going to jail and perhaps never coming out and had money and a gun in his truck. And I guess was going to make a run for Mexico, but perhaps smart enough to know he probably wasn’t going to make it.

The Ford Bronco Chase, was the ultimate publicity stunt and so-called reality TV. But it wasn’t what is called reality TV, which is not reality TV, but tabloid TV. Where producers of those shows encourage people to act out to get the most ratings possible. But this chase was real reality TV. A grown man, who up to this point was a very well-liked and respected man. Who had a Hall of Fame NFL career and one of the top 5-10 running backs of all-time. Who put together a solid sportscasting career with NBC Sports and acting career and did commercials. Who was going through a horrible time, I imagine and perhaps feeling horribly guilty about his two murders and perhaps lost it and didn’t know what to do about it. But again, we are talking about an actor here and this could’ve simply been a publicity stunt. But this was real reality TV and not made up.