By: Editorial Staff
IN 1994, A man named Newt led the Republicans’ charge on Capitol Hill, and legislators didn’t just put health care on the back burner ? they tossed it out the window.
Bosnia-Herzegovina, Haiti and North Korea kept diplomats ? most notably, and surprisingly, Jimmy Carter ? busy.
The Boys of Summer took an early vacation after owners refused to play ball, Woodstock returned to wreak havoc on upstate New York and Forrest Gump packed ’em into movie houses.
But the biggest news of all was that of a fallen sports hero and a double homicide in an upscale Southern California neighborhood, according to an Associated Press poll of 357 newspaper and broadcast executives.
The O.J. Simpson case narrowly beat out the GOP takeover of Congress as the year’s top story in AP’s 58th annual survey.
“A rich woman and her waiter friend lie slashed to death outside a Los Angeles condo, her ex-husband on the lam. That story from the June 13 police log sounds intriguing. It proved irresistible when the man on the run turned out to be O.J. Simpson, of all people,” the AP said.
“Add the race angle, the domestic violence angle, the bizarro angle, millions of TV viewers watching police chase Simpson in a Ford Bronco, the can’t-touch-me angle, with Simpson’s cry of innocence behind his wall of lawyers. Savage, tragic and awful, the story invites comparisons to Shakespeare and soap opera.”
The third most prominent story: labor problems in professional baseball and hockey. Susan Smith’s admission that she drowned her sons, after claiming they had been kidnapped, ranked fourth, and the Nancy Kerrigan-Tonya Harding saga was deemed the fifth biggest story.
Sixth was the ouster of Gen. Raoul Cedras from Haiti and the restoration of the democratically elected president, the Rev. Jean-Bertrand Aristide. Health care legislation ranked seventh, and the Northridge earthquake eighth.
AP’s ninth biggest story of 1994 was the civil war in Rwanda, and PLO Chairman Yasser Arafat’s arrival on Palestinian soil to run the Gaza Strip and Jericho was tenth.
United Press International subscribers and staff ranked the Mideast peace process the year’s number-one story in that news service’s survey. South African President Nelson Mandela was chosen top newsmaker.
The unrest in Bosnia-Herzegovina was the second-biggest story, according to UPI. Third was the South African presidential election, fourth was the Republicans’ election-day sweep in this country, and fifth was Rwanda.
The Simpson arrest and trial ranked sixth, world trade seventh, the United Nations eighth, Haiti ninth, and the peace process in Northern Ireland tenth.
Not an O.J., Tonya or Newt was to be found on Reuters’ chronology of the year’s major news events, however.
Its list included all the international news mentioned above, as well as the awarding of the Nobel Peace Prize to Arafat, Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and Foreign Minister Shimon Peres, the capture of the notorious international terrorist known as “Carlos the Jackal,” and the deaths of former President Richard Nixon and North Korean leader Kim Il-sung.