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THE SIMPSON LEGACY : Obsession: DID THE MEDIA OVERFEED A STARVING PUBLIC? : Judging the Media

October 09, 1995

Los Angeles County residents were divided over whether the media behaved responsibly in covering the Simpson trial but most think the media were unbiased in their treatment of O.J. Simpson. A majority of residents think that TV cameras should not have been allowed in the courtroom but don't think cameras bias the trial.

Do you think live TV cameras should have been allowed inside the Simpson courtroom?

All:

Yes: 43%

No: 53%

Don't know: 4%

*

Black:

Yes: 54%

No: 43%

Don't know: 3%

*

White:

Yes: 32%

No: 62%

Don't know: 6%

Do you think live TV coverage biased the trial?

All:

Biased in favor Simpson: 21%

Biased against Simpson: 7%

No Bias: 63%

Don't know: 9%

*

Black:

Biased in favor Simpson: 12%

Biased against Simpson: 18%

No Bias: 63%

Don't know: 7%

*

White:

Biased in favor Simpson: 23%

Biased against Simpson: 7%

No Bias: 61%

Don't know: 9%

Do you think the news media behaved responsibly?

All:

Responsibly: 49%

Irresponsibly: 40%

Mixed: 9%

Don't know: 2%

*

Black:

Responsibly: 34%

Irresponsibly: 54%

Mixed: 6%

Don't know: 6%

*

White:

Responsibly: 37%

Irresponsibly: 49%

Mixed: 12%

Don't know: 2%

Do you think the media are biased in favor of Simpson, biased against Simpson or fair in their treatment?

All:

Biased in favor of Simpson: 13%

Biased against Simpson: 17%

Fair: 60%

Don't know: 10%

*

Black:

Biased in favor of Simpson: 6%

Biased against Simpson: 49%

Fair: 35%

Don't know: 10%

*

White:

Biased in favor of Simpson: 10%

Biased against Simpson: 17%

Fair: 63%

Don't know: 10%

How closely have you been following news about the trial?

All:

Very closely: 30%

Somewhat closely: 38%

Not too closely: 21%

Not at all closely: 11%

*

Black:

Very closely: 37%

Somewhat closely: 40%

Not too closely: 10%

Not at all closely: 13%

*

White:

Very closely: 31%

Somewhat closely: 42%

Not too closely: 19%

Not at all closely: 8%

Where do you get your best information about the trial?

(Accepted up to 2 responses)

(5 most frequent responses)

Local TV news: 45%*

Daily newspapers: 38%

Network TV news: 35%

Radio news: 10%

From friends and family: 7%

Have you watched the live proceedings of the trial, or listened on the radio? If so, on average how many hours a day?

Less than 1 hour a day: 36%*

1 hour a day: 15%

2 hours a day: 12%

3 hours a day: 20%

Have not watched or listened: 13%

* Numbers may not add to 100% because not all answers are shown.

HOW THE POLL WAS CONDUCTED

The Times Poll contacted 760 adults living in Los Angeles County, by telephone Oct. 3 through Oct. 5. Telephone numbers were chosen from a list of all exchanges in the county. Random-digit dialing techniques were used so that listed and non-listed numbers could be contacted. Interviews were conducted in both English and Spanish.

The sample was weighted slightly to conform with census figures for sex, race, age and education. The margin of sampling error is plus or minus 4 percentage points; for certain subgroups the error margin may be somewhat higher. Poll results can also be affected by other factors such as question wording and the order in which questions are presented.

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