The Cops Framed a Guilty Man

September 29, 2010

I spent many years as TV Journalist.

From Fairbanks, Alaska to Los Angeles, California, and a few places in between. I have done hundreds, maybe thousands of stories. Covered some very big ones, and lots and lots of very small ones. And don’t think all the small stories happened in the small town of Fairbanks.  Even though it is on the last frontier, and far, far away, it is plenty wacky, with enough mayhem, senseless violence, corruption – well, you know the same stuff you see on your local news anywhere.

I never went to J school — I learned by doing.

And somewhere along the way I was taught DON’T BURY THE LEDE!!!

That means… don’t make anyone hunt for the point of the story.  Make it plain as day. And that usually was tough for me, as I liked to try to draw people in slowly – in the telling. And journalists spell it “lede” instead of “lead” – so it is clear what they are talking about.

I covered the OJ Simpson trial as a member of the LA TV press corps.  Those who had books to sell called it The Trial of the Century. If you are too young to have lived through that trial, know that the world stopped to watch. It set the standard by which all future media circuses will be judged.

I as part of the scrum.  The gang-bang.  Always looking for pictures and sound… always trying to get someone to say – something that was new and different – something worth putting on TV. I coordinated all of our field coverage.  Gathering much of it. Some days there were 4 reporters, camera crews, sometimes helicopters, live shots.  I was in the courtroom, out of the courtroom and hustling along with everyone else on our great team to help us win award after award for our coverage.

Here I am harassing one of the attorneys as he left the courtroom for lunch. By the way, I am the one not wearing a suit.

The moment was captured by Pulitzer Prize Winning Associated Press Photographer Nick UT (you know him – he helped changed the course of the Vietnam war by photographing  Napalm Girl running down the road, naked, screaming, half burned). Nick was (and is to this day) a great guy, doing the great work of telling stories daily with pictures in LA.

Anyway, I am doing this post because the AP travelled Nick’s picture of us questioning attorney Robert Shapiro 16 years ago today. It must have been a slow news day if Nick put me in a picture. Made me a bit nostalgic to look back at this photo. I have lots of stories from the trial.  I hope they will seep out, along with lots of other things, on this blog over the years to come.

But there is one big question that everyone who knows I lived that trial asks.

Why DID OJ Walk?

And I tell them my theory, as I tell you now…

The jury decided to let OJ walk as payback because they felt … (insert title of blog post here).

Oops, I did it again.

Another lede buried.


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