I have issues with bowing to pressure to pull or change programming that comes from a small slice of the populace magnified by the Internet or by the alliance of government regulator's sensibilities with those of that small slice, like say, the indecency flap.
But when masses of people are in general agreement–crossing political and economic boundaries to go get there–that something is just wrong, that there is a qualitative difference between that wrongness and, say, The Top 100 Things Imbedded in the Human Body, or some other abhorrent reality, then I am OK with the media responding to that.
It seems to me what editors should do. If pulling the show was the right thing to do, as I believe it to have been, Fox should not have stuck with it simply because yanking it could be interpreted as bowing to undue pressure.
I guess my point is that I don't think this was undue pressure, but I understand the concern for the precedent given the media's tendency to cave for the sake of political expedience.
But, if they were going to change course, this was the way to do it. More than one person commented Monday that it was the equivalent of a blizzard in Beelzebubland when Rupert Murdoch apologized for something his media outlets did.
I don't know if that is true or not, but it allowed me to use the name "Beelzebub," so I will take in on faith.
That is a long and convoluted way of getting around to saying that Fox/News Corp. was wise to pull the plug on the O.J. fiasco. Of course, it was like killing the engine on a runaway lawn tractor headed for your family, which is to say something of a no brainer.But you would be amazed how many times the simple apology that would stop the bleeding goes unsaid.
"I'm sorry. I did not understand the offensiveness of the term "macacca." I meant it chidingly and I apologize for using it. And while we are at it. I am proud of my Jewish heritage. I was trying to respect my mother's wishes that we not talk about it, but it is one of the reasons I would not say something derogative about another race or religion."
Three sentences and George Allen would have won in Virginia and the Republicans would still control the Senate.
Fox could have pulled the show with petulant reluctance or clueless resignation, talking about the undue pressure and their journalistic independence and, instead, Rupert Murdoch issued a real apology. Not one of those "I'm sorry if what I did offended anybody," but an "I'm sorry for what I did" numbers.
It was short, to the point, and without cavet: “I and senior management agree with the American public that this was an ill-considered project. We are sorry for any pain this has caused the families of Ron Goldman and Nicole Brown-Simpson.”
Not sorry "if" this has caused any pain, sorry for any of the pain it did actually cause.
Say what you like about Fox, and everybody will continue to do so, somebody there knows the difference between picking at a festering wound and cauterizing it.
"Festering" and "Beelzebub" in the same item. This day has gotten off to a good start.
By John Eggerton