Media More Crazed than Fans – MJEOL Bullet #66

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Media More Crazed than Fans – MJEOL Bullet #66 Watching the scene outside of the courthouse during Michael Jackson’s arraignment, one would have been stunned at not only the fans but also at the behavior of the media. Jackson’s vehicle pulled up with media surrounding him and pushed their way through throngs of fans to get closer to his SUV. For the past few weeks, we’ve all heard Jackson referred to as the “former King of Pop”, a “has been”, and a “fallen star.” These terms are laughable and even more so after the way the media behaved today. The incredible turnout of press members—one estimate set the number at 600—is certainly not indicative of a “has been” or “former”-anything. When’s the last time you’ve seen 600 members of the media outside of the courtroom during the last court appearance of Leif Garret? The “media circus”, as it has been labeled by the press, is also a rather ridiculous critique of the situation for a number of reasons. However, the two main points that stick out are: 1. A “media circus” can’t exist without “media”, and 2. The media are always loathed to critique their own rabid behavior. There has yet to be one talking-head admitting that the media’s conduct contributed to the atmosphere of today’s events. The public sat and watched commentators, pundits, paid legal analysts and tabloid journalists set a new level for the amount of utter and complete speculation in one day’s time. One CNN reporter went so far as to question why Jackson was wearing a white armband. I was almost waiting on one of the whiners to question whether or not the Nation of Islam made him wear it. No, it gets even more ridiculous than that! In an effort to fill airtime, an MSNBC commentator kept referring to the arraignment as either “weird”, “bizarre” or “strange,” all while hanging on Jackson’s every gesture. In fairness to him, maybe he just didn’t realize the rabid stares and excited glances he threw to Jackson while giving the play-by-play of Jackson walking down the walkway into the courthouse. And the topper: Jackson driving away from the courthouse with members of the media running in the middle of the street, pushing fans out of the way, and chasing after his SUV. At one point, reporters with cameras could be seen out-pacing many of Jackson’s own fans in that “car chase”. The only way you could tell a fan from a member of the media were the cameras and microphones seemingly permenantly attached to their bodies. To compare some of their behavior to that of a crack-head looking for their next “fix” is not an overstatement. No, they weren’t dressed up like Jackson, they didn’t have homemade signs declaring their support, nor were they chanting Jackson’s lyrics. But it was strange to see media hanging on Jackson’s every gesture, gossiping about his clothes, having helicopters tail his vehicle from the courthouse to the Neverland, and waiting with bated breath wondering what he was going to do next. -MJEOL

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