O.J. Simpson Coverage From New York Times Draws Outrage for Saying the Accused Killer’s Trial ‘Ruined His World’

NPR was also criticized for not mentioning the killings when first sharing news of his death

A Black man smiles as he sits, relaxing on a couch.
O.J. Simpson poses for a portrait at home on Jan. 8, 1973 in Los Angeles. (Photo by Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)

Media outlets covered the death of O.J. Simpson in a variety of ways, but social media users took issue with posts from NPR and the New York Times in particular. No, it wasn’t for the usual reason of alleged liberal bias — it was over obituaries that seemed too deferential to his NFL accolades while minimizing his murder trial.

On Threads, NPR’s initial post on Simpson’s death read, “BREAKING NEWS: The football great Orenthal James Simpson, known as O.J., has died.”

The story’s headline read, “O.J. Simpson, football legend acquitted of notorious killings, dies at 76.” It didn’t mention the murders or Simpson’s trials until the third paragraph, first noting his status as a legendary football player, his cancer and his appearances in movies and commercials.

While Simpson was found not guilty in a criminal trial, many who observed the highly publicized proceedings disagreed with the verdict. Simpson also lost a civil case finding him liable for the murders. NPR’s piece didn’t mention the civil judgment but introduced the murders with the phrase, “In 1994, he made headlines for another reason.”

The story was later updated to mention the murder allegations, as well as his acquittal, in the story’s lead.

NPR’s initial post was made to Threads due to NPR no longer posting on X. The network left the platform in protest following Elon Musk’s purchase of Twitter and the subsequent spread of misinformation.

Meanwhile, the New York Times was taken to task for writing that O.J. Simpson’s trial “ruined his world.”

It later removed the phrase from its story, headlined, “O.J. Simpson, Football Star Whose Trial Riveted the Nation, Dies at 76.”

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