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SBD Global/March 11, 2014/Media

Telegraph: Oscar Pistorius Murder Trial Not A Good Fit For Sports TV

Paralympian Oscar Pistorius is on trial for the murder of girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp.
The trial of Paralympian Oscar Pistorius for the murder of his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp, has "received predictably blanket coverage, and not just on the news channels," according to Jonathan Liew of the London TELEGRAPH. In a commentary under the headline "Oscar Pistorius murder trial is not a good fit with sport," Liew noted that ESPN "broadcast a live feed on its website." Sky Sports 2 "gave it a nightly slot." All of which "raises the very pertinent question: to what extent does a murder trial count as sport?" To their credit, most of their coverage "has been appropriately sober." But the fact remains that "if you put something on a sports channel, wedged between Bury v Rochdale and WWE: Smackdown, then it is going to feel a lot like sport." And this "is perhaps the most uncomfortable part: the sense that we are being encouraged to engage with this courtroom drama as we might a football game or a scripted wrestle, that courtroom GD of the Pretoria High Court may as well be Madison Square Garden or the Olympic Stadium." Liew asked, "What gets lost in all this? Perspective." On Thursday morning, presenter Adam Leventhal and reporter Bryan Swanson "discussed the trial in some detail, mentioning Pistorius five times and witness Charl Johnson seven times." Right at the end of the report came the words "that had been conspicuously absent throughout: Reeva Steenkamp." You know, "the dead one." This "is the muddle in which we find ourselves." These days, sport "is no longer just sport." Sport "is the racial politics of French comedy, sport is gay rights in Qatar, sport is the average summer humidity of the Brazilian rainforest, sport is the South African legal system" (TELEGRAPH, 3/9).
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