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Oscar Pistorius to be Indicted for Possible Murder, ESPN Not Interested
by Chuck Modiano
If you forgot about the other big alleged murder story, it is not your fault.
News comes in this week that Oscar Pistorius will be indicted for the death of Reeva Steenkamp, but ESPN viewers may have missed it. The AP generated story was only a few sentences. There were no attached videos or photos — an ESPN staple. The story was buried on ESPN.com’s back woods far from front-page feuled “feuds” between RG3 and Donovan McNabb. In contrast, Yahoo.com quadrupled the length of their own Pistorius indictment story and also added video coverage.
Joey Gines from Bronx Community College was the lone commenter able to locate the Pistorius story, and stated:.
“This guy’s something else. I’d like to rip off one of those blades & smack him across the face with it. A beautiful wife, an athletic career & the admiration & inspiration for many fans, gone in an instant…”
Yes, it also seems that lately, the Oscar Pistorius alleged murder story has gone in an instant. Just last year, Oscar Pistorius — the inspirational double-amputee known as “Blade Runner” — transcended all borders and Oscar was an ESPN international favorite.
However, in the last two months ESPN.com has only devoted two completely buried articles of Pistorius while devoting up to 306 articles, 131 audios, 25 videos, and 13 photos to Aaron Hernandez. If we estimate that about 75 of those articles are purely football related, here is the estimated tally of last two months:
ESPN entries since mid-June:
400 Aaron Hernandez ESPN Estimated Entries 2 Oscar Pistorius ESPN Entries (both buried articles)
While we should not expect Pistorius to receive NFL-like coverage, that just does not explain the crack vs. cocainesque disparity in attention.
If the “crack vs. cocaine” analogy implies Oscar’s white privilege at work, it would be consistent with ESPN’s track record. How much tied-in corporate interests are at work also needs exploring. There is a great article over at The Atlantic today on The Global Dominance of ESPN, and many would argue such dominance is grounded in an economic model rooted in promoting narratives of white male privilege and supremacy. No, not the pointy-hat kind, just the see-no-evil-for-a-decade-Lance-Armstrong-Joe Paterno-and-owners-are-Gods kind.
While “Numbers Never Lie”, some ESPN context is needed to fend off predictable “resistance-without-research” responses often fueled by a knee-jerk “anything-but-race” mentality.
ESPN completely embraced the 2012 Pistorius hero story, but not the 2013 Pistorius murder story in both quantity and visibility.
303 ESPN.com entries devoted to Oscar as Hero in 2012 67 ESPN.com entries devoted to Oscar as Killer in 2013
What about ESPN’s video coverage of Pistorius?
Video is a far more powerful and impactful on viewer’s minds than print articles. On websites, they can be replayed over and over and over. Here are the stats:
25 videos of Aaron Hernandez via ESPN.com in last two months 0 videos of Pistorius on ESPN.com in 2013
How significant are indictment-related stories?
At ESPN, they are big news. When the son of baseball player Torii Hunter’s was not indicted in February, even he received an article.
129-word article of upcoming indictment of Pistorius 373-word article of non-indictment of Torii Hunter’s son
With a story like this and stats like these, questions need to be asked:
Why did ESPN not issue its own larger expanded story from the Associated Press — a regular practice?
Why not a single video on ESPN.com?
Why haven’t Skip Bayless and Stephen A. Smith debated the Pistorius story?
Before his trial has even started, Bayless publically stated that “Aaron Hernandez is A Natural Born Serial Killer”?
What is Skip’s opinion of Pistorius?
Why did ESPN choose to bury this story instead of give it Top-10 headline-listing routinely reserved for pot-busts by young Black college students? Or like the NBA’s Michael Beasley just last week?
And what about readers?
Be honest, before the pending indictment, did you have temporary amnesia about Oscar Pistorius and the death of Reeva Steenkamp?
While soaking in Hernandez daily, did you say this week, “oh yeah, I forgot about Pistorius”?
If so, then what force is a more powerful?
This article first appeared on www.popsspot.com