Sunday, February 04, 2007

O.J. Simpson Is An Argument For Double Jeopardy

If there's ever been an argument for double jeopardy, it's the case of O.J. Simpson, who almost certainly has gotten away with murder, at least in terms of serving the long prison term he deserves.

This becomes even clearer in the partial transcript of Simpson's interview for his abortive book project, published in a compelling Saturday article by Russ Buettner and Edward Wyatt in the New York Times. The excerpts were leaked to the newspaper.

They show journalism at its best, because, after all the notoriety the Simpson case has received, it is certainly in the public interest that the truth about the sordid Los Angeles murders of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ronald Goldman emerge clearly.

Anyone reading the partial transcript can have little doubt that Simpson committed the crimes.

The fourth paragraph article suffices to form that definite conclusion. It reads:

"At one point during the interview, Mr. Simpson says: 'As things got heated, I just remember Nicole fell and hurt herself. And this guy kind of got into a karate thing.' It was then, he says, that "I remember I grabbed the knife." Later, asked about whether he had taken off a glove before handling the knife, Mr. Simpson says, "You know, I had no conscious member of doing that, but obviously I must have because they found a glove there."

It turns out, later in the transcript, that Simpson had an accomplice in the crimes, a man named Charlie who gave him the knife and disposed of bloody clothes thereafter.

Thank goodness, that in a rare instance of displaying (belated) good taste, Rupert Murdoch decided not to publish either the book, in which Simpson supposedly imagined the crime, or the interview. A Tim Rutten column in the L.A. Times was among the angry critiques which finally moved Murdoch to that wise decision.

--

The New York Times does not come off as well in the tasteless publication of a picture of a soldier killed in Iraq. A letter also appearing in the Saturday paper from Lt. Gen. Raymond T. Odierno, the number two U.S. commander of forces in Iraq, protested the photograph of the dying soldier, which he asserted dishonored a promise made by the reporter, Damien Cave, and the photographer, Robert Nickelsberg.

Odierno writes, notably, "This story can and should be told. That is not in question. What is disturbing to me personally and more important, to the family of the soldier depicted in the photograph and the video, is that the young man who so valiently gave his life in the serving of others was displayed for the entire world to see in the gravest condition and in such a fashion as to elicit horror at its sight.

"This photograph will be the last of this man that his family will ever see. Further, it will cause unnecessary worry among the families of other soldiers who fear that the last they see of their loved ones will be in a New York Times photograph lying grievously wounded and dying."

There is no editor's note under this letter, but the New York Times owes the family, and the Army, an apology. It is not the first instance of the newspaper not being sensitive enough about Iraq casualties.

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