While it is not in the least bit surprising that Rupert Murdoch, News Corp. chair, gave in to public pressure, and threats of boycott from several Fox affiliates, it is shocking. More importantly, what may get lost in the shuffle here is that one person, and one corporation, News Corp., has the power to pull the plug on a T.V. special, as well as the planned Harper Collins publication of the Simpson book "If I did it;" Murdoch's News Corp owns both the Fox network and Harper Collins.
While only those who like to watch people being loaded into ambulances will miss the scheduled OJ interview, what the rest of us can't afford to ignore is that consolidation, or the ownership of several companies under the umbrella of one corporate giant, has taken hold in this country, and the dramatic results. On the other hand, even the most devout proponent of the First Amendment would have trouble with the fact that major bucks were to be made from speculation by the man found responsible in the civil case, about how his former wife, and the mother of his two children, as well as Ron Goldman, were murdered.
Now if only we could believe good Mr. Murdoch when he says that he and News Corp. management "agree with American public that this an ill-considered project." Clearly, the only thing "ill-considered" was whether he could keep his sponsors, his afffiliates, and get high enough ratings to make the project lucrative enough.
Few, if any, will lament the loss of the OJ book and special, but make no mistake, unprecedented media and newspaper consolidation poses the gravest threat to freedom of expression, and the First Amendment, that this country has seen since its inception.