[b]CBS Has to Defend their Neutrality? – MJEOL Bullet #52[/b] CBS, the Tiffany network, has currently been put in a position of having to defend their decision to allow Michael Jackson to speak his mind about his case. How sad that there are tabloid reporters who have the unmitigated gall to critique Ed Bradley’s interviewing skills. Other networks, obviously outrageously jealous that CBS got the “must-land” interview with Jackson, have seen fit to overtly criticize Ed Bradley for not acting like a prosecutor while questioning Jackson. It may never have occurred to them that, in comparison to their own behavior, Bradley’s composure was more in the style of how interviews [i]should[/i] be conducted. To further outrage those of us who have seen bias in action, other networks have sent on their alleged “experts” to chip away at the interview and bad-mouth Mr. Bradley. In the past, most of these same networks have given free reign and airtime to every ex-employee, ex-friend, ex-wife, ex-wannabe-who-never-was, and every nut who has ever done so much as pass him in a hallway, to offer their unquestioned pseudo-psychoanalysis of Michael Jackson. There have been Jackson reports and feigned outrage from [i]Celebrity Justice[/i] correspondents, Lisa Bloom, Diane Dimond, Catherine Crier, Jerry Nachman, Chris Matthews, Marcia Clark, Fox news talking-heads, and other prosecution sympathizers who have completely saturated the airwaves with self-righteous judgments or outright lies. Why does CBS have to defend their neutrality on this issue? They shouldn’t have to. Maybe these critics don’t understand the concept of just presenting the information to the public, [b]unadulterated[/b], and letting us decide what to think. This is an important point because that concept seems foreign to some alleged journalists. If this CBS interview did not turn out to be another “I think he did it, and here’s why”-interview, other networks were going to have a problem with it no matter what was said. Reporters with a heavy background in tabloid “journalism” have even gone so far as to tell how they would have questioned Jackson were they given the chance. I submit that these “critics” are indeed envious that Jackson went to CBS and not their own network. However, what may irk them even more is they know Jackson’s eye was already turned towards CBS because CBS has not resorted to airing tabloid-like, shallowly researched, nonsensical so-called specials (ie. A&E, NBC’s Dateline, etc.) designed solely to cash-in on Jackson’s celebrity, without his input. Further, whether CBS didn’t give Jackson a dime or shelled out $1 million for that interview, it means absolutely nothing. Had NBC or ABC offered Jackson $10 million, I would bet money they would have been flatly refused because of their recent forays into airing fictional accounts of Jackson’s life. Some fans have expressed complete outrage that the media makes a “big deal” out of Jackson’s right to make money from his own celebrity: “So what? Everybody else can make money off of Michael, but he’s not suppose to?? What kind of crazy reasoning is that?” In an obvious blow to other networks—who have previously taken it upon themselves to increase their ad revenue by airing tabloid specials about Jackson—one fan replies “Screw them! He’s been treated like total trash, like ‘property’, like an inanimate object. Money has been made from treating him like sh_t, and now they wanna get an attitude about his decision when THEY were in the wrong first? Puhleaze!” The notion of CBS engaged in any unethical behavior–like intentionally throwing him “softballs”– to get the Jackson interview is ridiculous. There were some very tough questions that Jackson answered, unflinchingly. However, there is a bigger, underlying issue. It is the collective guilt of the criticizing networks, and their previous behavior of trashing Jackson, which speaks volumes as they try desperately to bash CBS. As one source said concerning all other network representatives, “they screwed up” earlier this year “by jumping on the bash-Jackson bandwagon. Can they really be surprised at the fact he did not accept [i]their[/i] offers for an interview?” Can they, indeed? -MJEOL

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