Friday, March 1, 2013
OSCAR PISTORIUS AND TIME MAGAZINE: OJ'vu?
The image is a powerful one. Oscar Pistorius sporting his carbon-fiber blades while encouraging
a small child, who was also physical challenged and outfitted in the same type of equipment that helped Pistorius become an icon in South Africa. With a genuine smile splashed across his face, Pistorious was a hero to the child and a real inspiration to many around the world who are disabled.
In a sports world polluted by athletes like Lance Armstrong Marion Jones, Roger Clemens,
Tiger Woods and many many others, the "Blade Runner" was a breath of fresh air and seemingly beyond reproach.
How wrong we were. Again.
And that heart-warming image of Pistorius with the young girl whose face is framed with
unbridled joy, has been rinsed away by the one that appeared on the cover of Time magazine
this week. Pistoris is pictured as a fallen star, sporting the look of the world's number one
villain. His image and inspirational story has been forever shattered, the shooting death of his girlfriend destroying everything that Pistorius stood for.
Man. Superman. Gunman are plastered across the picture of Pistorius and the magazine.
Alone and half-naked, the editors of Time magazine seemingly wanted to accentuate that
Pistorius is half-man, half-machine, incredibly human, but also some kind of cyborg out of a
sci-fi movie.They could have chosen a picture of Pistorius, perhaps hanging his head in the
court room, but surely that would not have created the shock value of this one.
One doesn't need the word "guilty" in big block letters to realize that Time has painted Pistorius
as a man whose once incredibly life as he knew it, it over. He is naked now, with all the adulation,
endorsements, fame, and fortune disappearing on that tragic Valentine's night in his homeland.
The picture and the word, "gunman", say it all.
In a case that is strikingly similar to the one involving OJ Simpson almost two decades ago,
which was filled with celebrity, police blunders, a rogue cop, and a world-wide audience, this
cover is as powerful as the one Simpson appeared on in 1994. The editors chose to use a mug shot
of Simpson and made it more ominous by intentionally darkening the image of Simpson, who had just been charged with the murders of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ron Goldman
Innocent until proven guilty? No chance. Time made sure that OJ was made out to be a 100 percent
guilty, not to mention the worst person on the planet, which certainly many of us felt he was. But
Time magazine just fueled the hate and the opinions we had of Simpson with that cover. This was
about the time, "shock value" became part of the media's culture, and Time squeezed every ounce
of it from this photoshopped picture of the Juice.
Time ran both covers shortly after Pistorius and Simpson were arrested, and well-before their
trials even started. Nobody even needed to read the other articles involving either one to help form
their opinion. It's what many of us do, we see a picture or read a headline, and surmise what the
article is about and what the facts are without actually reading the article.
Yep, guilty until proven innocent. That's just how it goes in the court of public opinion and from
the media who try to influence opinions with covers like the one with OJ and Oscar.