Pistorius Trial Echoes O.J. Simpson Media Frenzy

As the trial for Paraolympian Oscar Pistorius comes up, media in South Africa is ramping up its breathless coverage.
Posted at 1:03 PM, Mar 02, 2014

The U.S. isn't unique in its seemingly insatiable taste for high profile trials — the trial of Paraolympian Oscar Pistorius in South Africa is whipping up a media frenzy just days before it begins.

"world reknown athlete Oscar Pistorius" (Via TVC News)

"Pistorius, famously known as the Blade Runner" (Via Africa News Network)

"about the psychological makeup of Oscar Pistorius" (Via ENCA)

 ​CNN dubs it South Africa's "trial of the century." Pistorius faces charges of the premeditated murder of his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp, on Valentine's Day 2013. He says he mistook her for a burglar when he shot her in his home.

While testimony from Pistorius and defense witnesses will not be shown on TV, a South Afircan judge ruled in February that the rest of the proceedings will be broadcasted for millions around the world to watch. (Via New York Daily News)

The wide coverage has sparked an outcry from Pistorius's family, who say they've already had enough of the the media frenzy surrounding the trial. 

Pistorius's uncle, Arnold Pistorius, spoke Saturday saying: "We will not be commenting on any media reports, nor will we be engaging the press on any issues that belong in court. The time for public commentary is over." (Via The Guardian)

A writer at TheWashington Post compared the trial's media buzz to that of O.J. Simpson's by drawing parallels between the athletes' status and race, the victim and the evidence. In the end, he chalks it up to fate, saying:

"People might disagree with the verdict in the Simpson case, but he was found not guilty. In South Africa, where a judge, not a jury, will reach a decision, Pistorius's fate hangs in the balance."

Pistorius's trial is set to begin March 3.