Why the O.J. Simpson Bronco car chase was a game-changer

Jere Hester argues that slow-speed, high-stakes pursuit of O.J. Simpson forever changed the media landscape.

Twenty years have elapsed since the dramatic O.J. Simpson Ford Bronco car chase, and journalist Jere Hester argues that the media landscape hasn't been the same since.

Hester joins guest host Brent Bambury to argue that the slow-speed, high-stakes pursuit kicked celebrity culture into high gear and paved the way for reality television. He also says that as Simpson's murder trial became a national obsession, society reached a turning point that melded fame and infamy into one.

"Two years before we had The Real World on MTV, which was I think really the first official [reality] show, I think what the O.J. case did in a different way was create a hunger for more of this kind of drama," Hester tells Bambury. "In terms of a 24-hour case, or near 24-hour case - and this was it before the internet, this was it before Twitter - this was a case that everybody had an opinion on."

Everyone is watching If you're too young to remember the events of June 12, 1994, the following ESPN video offers a glimpse at the dramatic police pursuit that gripped a nation.

Were you among those watching the chase, or the televised O.J. Simpson court case? Do you remember feeling as though it was entertainment, or sensing the spectacle of it all would cause larger cultural ripple effects?


To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.