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Media coverage and public opinion of the O. J. Simpson trial: Implications for the criminal justice system

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This article considers some of the beneficial and detrimental influences of media coverage of celebrity criminal trials based on a survey administered during the criminal trial of O.J. Simpson. Analysis indicates those who exhibited a stronger psychological involvement with Simpson developed through repeated media exposure were more likely to believe his innocence. African American respondents also were more likely to believe in Simpson's innocence than were others. Gender had no effect on beliefs of Simpson's guilt or innocence. Those with a strong belief in the fairness of the United States justice system more strongly supported unrestricted media coverage of the trial. Anglo Americans more than African Americans believed Simpson's lawyers used the media effectively for their advantage. Learning about the justice system by following the case resulted in increased interpersonal discussions about the legal system.
... 215). PSR has persuasive influence on knowledge, perceptions, and behaviors concerning specific social issues such as health, environment, and politics [3,24]. Audiences are also likely to perform the behaviors advocated by celebrities and adopt attitudes and beliefs similar to those held by celebrities [4]. ...
... Brown and Basil [3] discovered that young adults' emotional involvement with "Magic" Johnson through PSR increased their concern about AIDS and the risk of AIDS to heterosexuals, and promoted HIV prevention practices. In line with this, Brown et al. [24] noted that PSR with OJ Simpson affected audiences' beliefs about him, with those who had a stronger parasocial bond with him tending to believe his innocence regarding his murder charges. Brown [4] found that viewers who had stronger involvement with the celebrity, through PSR and identification, were more likely to increase their support of wildlife conservation. ...
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This research adds to the growing body of literature on the role of celebrities as emergent spokespersons in climate advocacy using Twitter. This study investigates the effects of framing of celebrities’ messages (emotional framing and framing of celebrity involvement) on public attitudes and behaviors to address climate change. A sequential mediation process is examined with structural equation modeling. In addition, this study assesses the role of parasocial relationship (PSR) with celebrities as predictors and moderators of the impact of framing of celebrity involvement. The results indicate that fear appeals were more effective than hope appeals in driving participation in activism, but emotional framing did not affect any other variables. Framing of celebrity involvement appeals using first-person pronouns led to more positive attitudes, but had no effect on behaviors. In addition, PSR was a strong positive predictor of attitudes and behaviors.
... Extending the process of identification to mediated persuasive influence, Fraser and Brown (2002) found that through identification, a spectator may consciously role model and change his or her lifestyle to match a media personae's lifestyle. The image the spectator creates may be more positive than that of the actual person, even to the point where someone accused of committing murder may be acquitted despite overwhelming evidence indicating guilt (Brown, Duane, & Fraser, 1997). ...
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The three-process model of opinion change, by Herbert Kelman, suggests people change their opinions through compliance, identification, or internalization. This dissertation used same sex marriage as the vehicle to test and further the model, utilizing four pre-established scales, four research questions, and three hypotheses. The correlation variables pointed to an intriguing inverse relationship between same-sex marriage acceptance and same-sex marriage support with a significant near-perfect inverse relationship of -.90. This inverse relationship was found for political orientation and religious affiliation. The politically conservative, Mormons, Muslims, and Christians were more accepting of same-sex marriage when compared to the more politically liberal and religiously unaffiliated; conversely, the more politically liberal and religiously unaffiliated were more supporting of same sex marriage when compared to the politically conservative, Mormons, Muslims, and Christians. Theoretically, along with adding to the spiral of silence theory, minority influence theory, and agenda setting and framing theory, this research demonstrates that adding parasocial interaction to Kelman’s model is valuable for three reasons. First, face to face interaction is not necessary for identification to occur. Second, strong parasocial interaction with a media persona increases identification with that persona. Third, stronger identification with a media persona who is perceived to support same-sex marriage actually suppresses internalization of same-sex marriage support. This relationship between acceptance and support has tremendous cultural implications, and not just for same-sex marriage. People may only accept something, while not actually supporting it despite what polling data suggests. Thus, the truth is actually, even if unintentionally, being suppressed.
... In reality, he drew 6.5 cc; the 8 cc he testified to was merely an estimate. However, the defence used the discrepancy to their advantage, claiming it was part of a conspiracy by police to frame Simpson for the double homicide [72][73][74]. ...
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Over the past few decades the field of forensic science has experienced a remarkable development and sustainability enhance the public profile. Due to increasing the different techniques to do the crime, there must be some unique and diverse methods to investigate it. The prominence of forensic science has concluded from scientific and technological advancement, increase in reliance of law enforcement and judicial system. Some of the crimes are smartly occurred, that in investigation there are no clues and evidence would be found to excess the further investigation. Anthropology is a unique and old way to easily notice the clues at crime scene. With the help of forensic anthropology, anthropologist can distinguish the possible stories behind the crime. Even in psychological way, the method can also sense the psychology of the criminal. This review paper aims to identify how best to organize and deliver forensic science education. It also explains the relation the important part of the anthropology in forensic science and how forensic anthropology can be useful at crime scenes. This paper also endeavours that how forensic anthropology can easily detect the clue physically and psychologically to investigate the crime scenes with the help of some hypothesis cases.
... The O.J Simpson trial has attracted extensive academic commentary, a portion of which has focused on media coverage of the trial. See for instance Alexander (1996) ;Brown, Duane and Fraser (1997); Furno-Lamude (1999); Gerbner (1995); Hindman (1999). 2 Section 41 has since been interpreted as including a ban on the use of filming proceedings. See further Re Barber v Lloyds Underwriters [1987]; R v Loveridge, Lee and Loveridge [2001]. ...
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This article offers a revisionist history of the banning of photography in English and Welsh courts in 1925 and explores the contention that a complete rationale for the ban has never been adequately articulated. While existing accounts of the ban have placed emphasis on the outrage caused by press coverage of a handful of sensational murder trials, this article offers the first comprehensive analysis of photographs of trial scenes in the decades leading up to the ban. In doing so it argues that the exposure of the legal system to scrutiny by the press and public, made possible by new technologies and reporting practices, was much more pervasive than has previously been suggested. It also contends that although parliamentarians claimed that the purpose of the ban was to protect vulnerable members of the public, it actually did a much better job of preserving the interests of the legal, political and social elite, including judges, against a backdrop of fears about an increasingly disrespectful populace. More particularly it is suggested that the ban allowed the state to take back its monopoly over the production, management and consumption of images of judges and other key actors in the courtroom in an effort to re-impose social order and retain the mystery of law.
... In circumstances where live reporting of trials is permitted, and where journalists are able to use live social media during proceedings, a new form of social media journalism is arising. Just as the live broadcast of the trial of OJ Simpson heralded changes in both the media and in the criminal justice system (Brown, Duane, and Fraser 1997;Thaler, 1997;Williams and Delli Carpini 2000), so reporting of trials on social media has the potential to change reporting and the courts. Strategies for reporting trials on social media were evolving as journalists adapted and responded to circumstances, and for an observer of social media and journalism, this proved fascinating. ...
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The use of social media is now widely accepted within journalism as an outlet for news information. Live tweeting of unfolding events is standard practice. In March 2014, Oscar Pistorius went on trial in the Gauteng High Court for murder. Hundreds of journalists present began live-tweeting coverage, an unprecedented combination of international interest, permission to use technology and access which resulted in massive streams of consciousness reports of events as they unfolded. Based on a corpus of Twitter feeds of 24 journalists covering the trial, this study analyses the content and strategies of these feeds in order to present an understanding of how microblogging is used as a live reporting tool. This study shows the development of standardised language and strategies in reporting on Twitter, concluding that journalists adopt a narrow range of approaches, with no significant variation in terms of gender, location or medium. This is in contrast to earlier studies in the field.
... Because of the major momentum that took place in the media with the Simpson trial, scholars took a special interest in this trial with an agenda setting perspective (e.g. Lowry et al. 2003;Brown et al. 1997). However, scandals such as this one are from the 1990's and the literature does not highlight newer and ongoing scandals. ...
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Utilizing agenda setting theory, this study investigates the Bill Cosby sexual assault allegation scandal and how the scandal is framed by the media. In order to examine if and how varied networks reported differently on the Cosby scandal, sixty articles from three, distinct networks (CNN, FOX News, E!) were analyzed and coded under seven different categories. Results demonstrate a significant difference among the analyzed networks and media frames most reported in the sample for this study. Although all networks address Cosby’s rise and fall of an American hero, agendas set and story frames presented varied. Specifically, CNN highlighted victims’/survivors’ powerful voice whereas E! and FOX News highlighted Cosby’s support from the black community, celebrities and co-stars. Additional results, discussion and future directions follow.
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Objective On 6 March 2018, the Cleveland Cavaliers power forward Kevin Love penned an op-ed for The Players’ Tribune. In big, bold letters, the title, ‘Everyone Is Going Through Something’ gave way to his proclamation of personal mental health struggles. This study assessed the impact of Love’s personal mental health testimony on the audience. Design Content analysis of Instagram user’s responses to Love’s 2018 announcement of panic disorder. Setting Data were collected on 19 June 2018. Comments on Love’s post were manually copied into an Excel spreadsheet. Due to Instagram’s ‘top comments’ and ‘newest first’ algorithms that determine both the visibility and order of user responses, not all comments were accessible for analysis. A total of 1,234 comments served as the sample. Method Two trained coders analysed the comments for exhibitions of audience involvement with Love, emotional responses and perceptions of social biases surrounding mental illness. Results Social media users who expressed hope were more likely to share their own mental health experiences. In addition, users who expressed hope were significantly more likely to mention wanting to reduce social bias surrounding discussion of mental health than posts without hope. Conclusion Building on previous work that determined social media users can respond to a celebrity’s physical health testimonial with positive, future-oriented emotions, this study established that the same response can exist when analysing a celebrity’s mental health testimonial.
Article
In 1966, the US Supreme Court overturned a conviction after pervasive coverage of a crime and court proceedings deprived a defendant's fair trial rights. Two North Carolina judges subsequently issued a rule of court restricting the information trial participants, court workers, and law enforcement officers could publicly release between the time of an arrest and the end of a trial. Journalists indicated a virtual blackout on crime news followed as law enforcement officers cited the rule when refusing to release crime and accident reports. Editors initially presented the rule as a threat to press freedom, which undermined the press' responsibility to scrutinize criminal justice. News editorials criticized the rule, reflecting journalists' fears that the North Carolina experience exemplified the potential for police and judges to create broad blankets of secrecy. Members of the press and bench, however, ultimately came together to address ways to protect free press and fair trial rights. This article uses interviews of Judge E. Maurice Braswell and historical analysis of the archival paper collections of Judge Raymond B. Mallard, Samuel T. Ragan, and Elmer Oettinger, Jr. This article aims to describe the North Carolina judges' motivation for issuing the order, judges' reactions to the order, press reactions to the order, judges' reactions to that press coverage, and methods that one of the judges and one of the journalists ultimately recommended to address free press and fair trial rights.
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The manuscript proposes a theoretical model of the development of parasocial relationships (PSRs) building on Knapp’s model of relationship development. Through synthesis of research across disciplines, the model conceptualizes the relational goals and parasocial interactions (PSIs) specific to the PSR. The model identifies variables that predict engagement at that level, describes the stage’s outcomes/effects, and considers the utility of existing measures to assess these stages. The conceptualization of PSRs as a dynamic process rather than intensity of a monolithic experience offers new directions worthy of empirical examination.
Chapter
There is an extensive body of literature examining legacy media and crime, and over the past ten years scholars have begun to explore the impact of new media on crime. Traditional media theories were created at the time of broadcast culture and today’s culture is a digital one. Therefore, traditional theories may or may not hold weight with the advent of social media. This chapter begins by defining legacy media and new media, followed by a discussion of media consumption trends with particular attention to social media. Then, the chapter overviews a selection of key media theories—social construction, moral panics, and fear of crime/cultivation theory—on crime and examines the applicability of new media to each theory. The chapter concludes by discussing theories and concepts directly applicable to new media and crime such as theoretical work by Yar (2012) and other research regarding the impact of the internet, networking, and digital culture.
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This investigation examined the role of motives, attitudes, and audience activity in explaining the affective, cognitive, and behavioral involvement of 328 daytime soap opera viewers. Because inter correlations were found among motives, attitudes, activities, and involvement variables, canonical correlation analysis was used. There were two multivariate patterns. First, except for viewing to pass time, more salient viewing motivations (especially exciting entertainment and social utility), perceived realism, viewing intention, and attention were related to parasocial interaction, post viewing cognition, and post viewing discussion. Second, viewing for social utility, but not for voyeurism, and the lack of realism were related to post viewing discussion, but not to parasocial interaction. These audience orientations and the role of involvement in media uses and effects were discussed.
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During closing arguments in criminal trials, prosecutors routinely implore the jurors to convict the accused as a method of "sending a message" to the community and especially to would-be criminals that the community will not "tolerate" the sort of criminal conduct with which the defendant has been charged. The absurdity of such pleas ought to be self-evident, because a not guilty verdict does not in way signify or imply that the jury has decided to tolerate or surrender to drug dealers or child pornographers or terrorists or anyone else who has committed the kinds of offenses that were allegedly involved in the case on trial.Nevertheless, even though most state courts have correctly condemned such arguments as obviously improper, and even though such prosecutorial comments are always roundly condemned by federal trial judges, they have been almost unanimously approved by the United States Courts of Appeals, typically on the basis of the assumption that it is proper for a prosecutor to invite a jury to convict as a means of exercising its prerogative to act as the "conscience of the community." As a result, federal prosecutors throughout the nation continue to use this highly prejudicial and misleading form of closing argument.This article offers a detailed explanation as to why such closing comments are improper, unethical, unconstitutional, and involve a serious distortion of the the criminal justice system and the jury's role in that system in particular. It explains why this problem poses a direct and pervasive threat to the integrity of the American criminal justice system, and also examines the way in which this problem is greatly compounded by the increasing tendency of political leaders, public figures, media outlets, and even jurors themselves to speak openly about the supposed "message" that is sent when a jury votes to convict any man charged with a horrible offense.
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In this exploratory study, data were gathered from 258 telephone respondents indicating the existence of a para‐social interaction by the viewing audience toward local television newscasters.
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In the MacDonald case, no evidence was found to support a change of venue or venire; yet what people know about a crime appears to influence prejudgment, and—again—mere arrest seems to predispose to ‘guilt’.