48 Hours: Deep on Peterson, Shallow on Jackson – Bullet #150

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48 Hours: Deep on Peterson, Shallow on Jackson – MJEOL Bullet #150 Jackson attorney Tom Mesereau appeared on CBS program 48 Hours last night (June.2.2004).Because of the sweeping gag order, he couldn’t talk about the Michael Jackson so-called “case”.But what is more interesting about the overall report last night was not what was said, but what was not said. The bulk of the program last night focused on the Scott Peterson case. However, instead of simply reciting a litany of what has already been reported in the media, serious questions were posed about that case which made one think about it in a different way. Why, then, were there so many questions left unanswered and unasked about the Jackson “case” even given the short amount of time spent on it? Further, could more of that short amount of time have been spent on Mesereau and his charitable past? On Jackson’s official website, there was an advertisement about Mesereau’s career being highlighted during the show. Instead, we got too little information about Mesereau’s stellar past and charitable contributions and too much of what some call a hack journalist trying to sell her book. That “hack”, Maureen Orth, was actually asked to speak about Jackson because she has gained notoriety in relaying the lies of tabloid reporters, ex-employees and a myriad of other nuts that seem to try to ruin Jackson’s career only after they have been ousted from the million dollar gravy-train. Jackson’s attorney, Tom Mesereau, of course couldn’t speak about the Jackson “case” at all. When asked about the difference in representing celebrity clients from regular clients, he says:

It really depends on the client. Celebrities are targets. They’re targets for any number of people to try to develop a reputation and make some money at the expense of the celebrity

Mesereau says he loves what he does and believes that lawyers can make a difference in society. In deed he practices what he preaches; volunteering his services for free on a regular basis to people who can’t afford adequate legal counsel. As for the actual program, from the first few sentences, there were gaping holes in the reporting of the “case” and the newly fashioned indictment. Bill Lagattuta, the reporter on the story, spoke about the changing “case”, only highlighting the fact that a conspiracy charge was tacked onto the indictment. There was no question as to why the current district attorney of Santa Barbara didn’t include the conspiracy charge in his initial filing of the charges. There was no mention of the fact that the molestation counts, the alcohol charges, and the timeline have all miraculously changed as well. The alleged molestation charges dropped, going from 7 counts to 4 counts. The alcohol charges suddenly jumped, going from 2 counts to 4 counts. The timeline of when the alleged abuse was suppose to have occurred shifted by 2 weeks. Did Lagattuta ask the question why this was the case? No. Why were such obvious facts not so much as mentioned? Also featured on the program was an interview with Ian Barkley, Jackson’s former photographer. The focus of what was shown of the interview he gave to Lagattuta was the Brazil trip that Barkley says the accuser and his family were excited to go on. He says it was suppose to be like a vacation for the family. This echoes what other media sources have said about the family. He told 48 Hours:

There’s no way anyone would try to hold them against their will. There’s no way Michael would allow it…There was no conspiracy to abduct. I think the intent of the Brazil trip was actually to distance Michael from the family, temporarily, just so that the relationships were a little separated. The family was, what I understand, they were actually enthused about going to Brazil.

And exactly what was not asked about the Brazil trip? Lagattuta didn’t ask why Jackson and the alleged “co-conspirators” (ha!) would send the family to Brazil as a way to silence them. What? There’s no media in Brazil? No police in Brazil?? Short time wasted Another waste of very short time was the little chat Lagattuta had with “hack” journalist Maureen Orth. Some sources say that Orth has never interviewed Jackson and may not have even so much as met him. But that didn’t stop ole’ Orth from pumping out these pseudo-psychological analyses of Jackson and trying to convince a possible jury pool that Jackson is a vindictive monster who lashes out when you cross him. And please don’t forget the plug for that new book on celebrity she’s written! I say that if Jackson was as vindictive as Orth likes to claim, she would have long since been put to shame by Jackson for the incredibly asinine, disgusting and misleading information she’s had a hand in spread for the past 10 years. If that happens, I guess she, too, will claim there was a conspiracy to abduct her and send her to Brazil….Yeah right. But what’s more telling is that the 48 Hours reporter didn’t so much as question, on camera, her assessment of Jackson. It’s quite easy to make Orth look stupid without much effort because her reports on Jackson have been so one-sided. Another perplexing point is why any reporter worth their salt would go to Orth for an expert opinion on Jackson. Just as an example of how Orth has gotten it wrong, in her most recent defamatory article on Jackson, she cites information from a source who once sued Jackson for millions of dollars. The subject of that false information was a young boy from Asia who Orth claims was given wine by Jackson. According to her, the father of the kid was so angry with Jackson that he pulled out of business deal. None of it is true. The young boy, Richard Matsuura now 18 years old, did an interview in which he set the story straight about what happened. Matsuura told NBC’s Mike Taibbi that the allegations made by Orth were “completely false”. In MJEOL Bullet #89, it was reported that Matsuura says Jackson never said nor did anything inappropriate to him whatsoever. That includes never having given him wine, as Orth claimed. When asked how much of Orth’s Vanity Fair article was true, Matsuura said:

“Absolutely zero. Besides the fact of Michael Jackson coming to Japan in 98 and actually giving a press conference about this theme park business, all of the other allegations and statements made about his trip to Japan in 98 are completely false, completely false.” (see transcript)

Matsuura was also asked point blank if Jackson contacted him in anyway or was given any money to speak out. He flatly denied that. Did Orth apologize for the dissemination of the false information? Of course not. And let’s not even get into her reports about Jackson putting voodoo spells on people! And THIS is the person Lagattuta goes to for insight into the character of Michael Jackson? Blame it on the…editing? Maybe Lagattuta’s report was hacked to pieces by editors who thought it was too favorable toward Jackson. Maybe not. Maybe crucial information was intentionally cut out because of the time allotment. Maybe not. Maybe Lagattuta does have serious questions about the Jackson “case”, but wanted to play a bit of the devil’s advocate last night. Maybe not. All of this to say that if you’re going to bring up information about the indictment and the alleged conspiracy during a report that was supposed to really highlight the career of Mesereau, then ask the deep questions and don’t waste time talking to “hack” reporters. It’s obvious that some people who may be a bit more familiar with the “case” will remember this episode of 48 Hours for what it lacked instead of what was presented. Whatever the case, it’s clear that with regards to the Jackson “case”, still, many in the media have yet to muster either the courage or get the clearance from their producer/editor to ask the hard questions which don’t paint Jackson as some molesting conspirator. Where are the real investigative journalists? Where’s Mike Taibbi or Linda Deutsch when you need ‘em, huh?! Hey, I’d settle for Matt Lauer. At least he’s not afraid to ask a tough question or two when things simply don’t make sense. -MJEOL

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