Fargo’s O.J. connection

Fargo seems like a relatively tame place. It doesn’t seem like the place where you need a bodyguard. But then again, you’re not O.J. Simpson.

Fargo was all atwitter last night when O.J. Simpson came to town. His girlfriend, it’s said, lives there.

The Fargo Forum newspaper is all over the story like a cheap suit:


The south Fargo bar, which will lose its ability to allow smoking next Tuesday (Bob notes: What a very odd way to identify a particular eatery) , was abuzz as word spread throughout town that the celebrity and one-time murder suspect was among them. Many took cell phone photos with Simpson. Others who couldn’t get as close simply snapped photos from afar.

Simpson was seated behind a table in the rear corner of the room. Typically he was surrounded by at least 15 people, just soaking in the moment. A massive bodyguard created with chairs a perimeter around the area and stood guard to allow people in or out.

The local TV station, KFYR, quoted Simpson, saying “I`m who I am. I talk to everybody, be nice to everybody. My mother told me after my big trial, she say that I had lost who I was. You cant let people get you further from your Lord, so I`m me.”

  • //The local TV station, KFYR, quoted Simpson//

    I realize to all you Minnesota city slickers everything west of Saint Cloud might as well be Luzon…

    …but KFYR is in Bismark. 200 miles west, and not exactly “local” to Fargo.

    Just saying.

    MBerg

    (NoDak radio alumnus)

  • Bob Collins

    200 miles west of something in North Dakota. That’s not considered “local”?

    Rimshot

  • NormH

    I would like to build on what MBerg said. MPR is seriously lacking in the news coverage and familiarity of outstate Minnesota. We all enjoy hearing about the latest craziness in the Twin Cities, but come on — Minnesota is a big state. How many times do I have to hear someone mispronounce Kelliher? Fortunately, we have options. Prairie Public has you beat for the local “public radio perspective” in the F-M area.

  • Bob Collins

    North Dakota is “outstate” Minnesota?

    Seriously, though, NormH, I understand your frustration but I have to say from the News Cut’s perspective that I’ve put out numerous calls for people to let me know about their stories… just a couple of weeks ago we documented “A Day in the Life of Minnesota,” and specifically encouraged outstate Minnesota to participate. Very little ensued from outstate.

    We’ve sent out emails to people, specifically outstate, encouraging residents there to tell us of their stories so that we can cover them on News Cut. Complete waste of time where outstate Minnesota is concerned.

    I understand the “you don’t cover us, you’re only interested in the Twin Cities” rant. I don’t understand the refusal to help us do anything about it, unless there’s a certain satisfaction in the feeling of being some sort of news victim.

    Sorry to be so blunt but if you think there’s particular news you think we should be covering, it would be more productive to tell us. To steal a phrase from Norm Coleman, “you have to do more than tear down.”

    Ready. Willing. Able to get in the car and drive as long and far as I need to to tell a good story.

    Tell me where and I’m there. BTW, that goes for folks in the Twin Cities, Wisconsin, Iowa and South Dakota, too.

  • Jennifer B

    His girlfriend’s family is from the Red River Valley area of MN & ND. In fact, her dad & brother still live in Fergus Falls. (They are distant cousins of mine.) My family still lives not far from the area and it is our understanding that he flew into Fargo, but has been in the Fergus area since and is visiting Christy’s dad and brother.

    Btw, Bob, I can’t agree with you more about the outstate coverage. All of my family is still out there and if we feel there is anything you should be covering, we’ll let you know. (Until then, if you want to stake out OJ, he should be in Fergus Falls and on Ottertail Lake until he leaves. 🙂 ) If people aren’t willing to alert you to the stories, it’s hard to cover them.

  • Bob Collins

    One question, Jennifer. Are dad and brother a little nervous about this at all? It’s O.J. Simpson afterall and while the jury let him skate, the evidence seems pretty strong that he killed his wife in a fit of rage.

  • Jennifer B

    When she first started dating him (not long after the trial), the family was really nervous about it. (Many thought she’d be returning in a body bag.) Also, there were a lot of stories about the two being into drugs and alcohol. So apart from the possibility of murderous rage, there was a lot of concern about the two getting too deep into that and possible ODing. I don’t think any of us expected it to go on this long so I think were a little jaded about it now.

    Her brother seems okay with things now. I know he’s met OJ, but he doesn’t really talk about it. As far as I know, her dad has never met OJ until this visit. I know that he wasn’t happy with this at the beginning. My dad was talking with him when it all started and made the mistake of complaining about something my sibling had done. Her father’s response was “Could be worse.”

    But Christy’s determined that this is what she wants to do, so I think everyone’s just come to terms with the fact that nothing will change unless she makes that decision.

  • NormH

    “North Dakota is ‘outstate’ Minnesota?”

    No, Bob, but we are talking about Fargo here. If you know anything about the Fargo or Grand Forks areas, then you would know about their sister cities across the border in Minnesota. People in GF/EGF and F/M cross the border daily to work, shop, play, etc. So yes, the Fargo and Grand Forks areas are essentially outstate Minnesota. Do you have any idea how much of Minnesota is served by the services in Fargo and Grand Forks? To understand outstate Minnesota, you’ve got to go out and look for it. It’s not going to come to you.

    MPR deserves to hear this kind of criticism because, especially around pledge time, it showers itself with praise and self importance. Instead of trying to be one of the players on the national stage, perhaps MPR should concentrate more on what’s in its own backyard.

  • Bob Collins

    I’m aware of Moorhead, for example. But I also have to be honest and acknowledge that the best way to be in touch with a particular community is to live in that community.

    That’s one of the reasons we set up the Public Insight Network, to tap into the expertise of the audience, including monitoring stories where they live.

    It’s part of the whole citizen journalism thing and, frankly, there’s serious doubt among mainstream journalists about whether that concept — which they view as a buzzword fad — really has any legs. I’d say the jury is still out.

    But here’s the thing, and again I have to be honest with you, if I do no stories over the next year from the Fargo, I’m going to live, and the News Cut audience is going to live because the demographics of the state say most people live in the Twin Cities.

    That’s not to say I don’t WANT to find stories from that neck of the woods. Clearly, I do. But those stories have to be interesting and compelling and I’m not going to do one from there just to prove to Fargo that I love the people who live there. That’s what TV is for, doing cute stories “on the road” at some pie shop.

    I’m looking for something with a little more depth and meaning, frankly. And I’m looking for something that’s not already in the local paper.

    I’d love to have the help of people who live in outstate Minnesota identify what those stories are. Is that asking a lot? A little bit of help? Sharing knowledge?

    Let’s hope not.

  • Tyler Suter

    Are we still talking about O.J. Simpson…let’s move on.