#JuiceOnTheLoose: How the OJ Trial Would Have Played Out In Modern Day Media
March 29, 2016
Do you remember your whereabouts for the O.J. Simpson trial of ‘94 and ‘95? Were you glued to the television screen watching the renowned white Bronco chase or thumbing through the latest copy of People Magazine to catch up on the latest trial updates? The last few weeks I’ve been absolutely captivated by each episode of FX’s The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story, absorbing every detail and eager to learn when and how the leather gloves come in to play or make more sense of “the Juice’s” dream team. Needless to say, this is my chance to relive such an earth-shattering event in history.
All of this reliving and rehashing of the trial made me start to think: What would the trial have been like had it occurred today, in 2016? It’s hard to believe the number of significant technological advancements we’ve encountered over the last 20+ years. For starters, an article by The Washington Post discussing the lasting impact O.J.’s trial left on today’s media landscape reminds us that FoxNews and MSNBC had yet to make their cable debut at the time of the murders. How’s that for a flashback?
It’s hard to remember the days before popular cable shows, especially with today’s domination of DVR’d programs, Netflix, Hulu and more. A separate article from The Huffington Post encourages us to consider how the O.J. trial would pan out in present day. For starters, had O.J. had a cell phone attached to his hip around the time of the murder (which is more likely than not), chances are police would have been able to track down his location or uncover other details essential to the investigation. Dare I say the Bronco chase may have never taken place?
In addition, consider how episodes of the FX series have resurfaced questions about the dynamics of O.J. and Nicole’s relationship. Were they faithful to each other? Was he violent? Was she terrified of him? Just imagine how many questions O.J.’s cell phone would have been able to answer for both officials and the rest of the world through texts, call history, mail and web searches.
To take it a step further, as we sit behind our computer screens, tablets or mobile devices, scrolling for updated live streams, images and news feeds, imagine what our social media accounts might have looked like at the time of the trial. A quick look at the below timeline offers a refresher of when today’s popular social media platforms became a part of our everyday lives.
Had we had access to today’s vast array of media platforms in ‘95 we would have logged on to find streams of “Free O.J.” or “We love the Juice” images on Instagram, or have our choice of news clips and interviews to view on our Facebook feeds. We could have tuned into Twitter, monitoring for any word from O.J., his family and friends, or even members of the dream team. Similar to O.J.’s cell phone, imagine the insights O.J.’s social media profiles, and Nicole’s for that matter, would have offered about their relationship. Maybe their digital conversations with other users would have raised red flags about their relationship or images and statuses they shared would have suggested additional explanations for the murders that were needed at the time of the investigation.
Each week as I tune in to The People vs. O.J. Simpson, I already know that he will be found innocent, yet I’m completely engrossed. I find myself parked in front of the tv, soaking in every detail of the case and welcoming the opportunity to get to know the influential players the second time around.
Written by: Erinn Lawson