Post-Verdict Attitudes Toward The O.J. Simpson Murder Trial: The LSU Study
Were the reactions to the O.J. Simpson murder trial verdict as deeply split along racial lines as reported by local and national news media, or were such reports exaggerated? That was the question that motivated this study of students and townspeople in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Three viewpoints about the trial and its media emerged. All three typologies converged on the point that Simpson's status played a key part in prolonging the trial and encouraging media attention. They also concurred that, to some extent, society is unjust and racist. Two types were critical of media coverage. African Americans overall were very critical of the media, but more for reasons racial than journalistic. Both those who had not followed the trial and those who watched almost daily tended to believe in Simpson's guilt, leading to the conclusion that race played a larger part than trial knowledge in forming the attitude that he was innocent, or at least that his guilt was not established.