Jackson Bash-fest a Ratings Loser – MiniBullet #2 Update #2 FEB 18 2005 — According to a website that keeps data on ratings, zap2it.com, the 2-hour ABC Michael Jackson bash-fest was a ratings loser last night (Feb 17 2005). The defamatory report brought to the public by what is apparently the new face of ABC, accused blackmailer Martin Bashir, didn’t pull in anywhere near the numbers ABC was hoping for. The program came in third behind CBS’s “CSI” and NBC’s “The Apprentice” (for the first hour), and came in third again behind CBS’s “Without a Trace” and NBC’s “ER” (for the second hour). From the report:

At 9 p.m., “CSI” built on its strong lead-in and delivered an 18.7/28, its highest rating in at least a month. “The Apprentice” posted a 9.6/15 for NBC. The ABC special “Michael Jackson’s Secret World” averaged 6.1/9 for the hour, better than the network usually does but a far cry from the 2003 ratings monster “Living with Michael Jackson,” which had ratings nearly twice as big. …”Without a Trace,” 13.5/22, completed the CBS sweep of the night at 10 p.m. “ER” averaged 11.8/19 for NBC, and the second hour of ABC’s Jackson special came in at 6.6/11. (see ‘Survivor’ Hot, [Jackson] Not on Thursday )

One thing some observers hate more than pile-on jobs, is being told what to think by the media. What ABC should learn, and quickly, is that a number of people are just tired of being force-fed a diet of baseless speculation and innuendo; especially when they may already have reservations about the validity of the allegations against him. Allegations partially sparked by the subpoenaed Bashir himself. The program came off as a smear campaign by the likes of Bashir with the usual suspects of Jackson detractors and some supporters thrown in for a minute or two to give the false appearance of a “balanced” program. The previous ABC Primetime Live Jackson “special” was also cited as a ratings loser. According to the report “Primetime Thursday Ratings: Another Victory for CBS” dated Jan 14 2005, the program “generated minimal interest with a distant third-place 5.3/8 in the overnights, 6.27 million viewers and a 2.1/ 5 among adults 18-49” (see Primetime Live featuring Jackson “Special” a Ratings Loser – Mediaweek.com). These programs are always heavy on innuendo, opinions, speculation, and pseudo-psychic predictions, but very short on actual facts. Not one person making any type of allegation against Jackson to Bashir has provided one shred of evidence to back up that allegation. The program was stacked with proven liars, people who have a vested interest in the outcome of this non-“case”, and people who have a negative history with Jackson –whether they were fired, or were sued by him, etc. It simply came off as a pile of garbage. What is a fact is that there’s intense dislike of Bashir and his tactics from all sides including those who are pro-defense, neutral, and pro-prosecution. It’s amazing that they could arguing their points amongst each other and never come to an agreement, but the one thing the vast majority of them do agree on is that they don’t care at all for Bashir’s “underhanded” way of using Jackson to further his career (or what’s left of it). Bashir was literally put to shame when Jackson unloaded some 2 hours worth of behind the scenes footage showing Bashir telling polar opposite stories after the cut-and-pasted original documentary. “Take Two: The Footage You Were Never Meant To See” aired on Fox days after the original “documentary”. A number of contradictions were highlighted in the Take Two footage, but reportedly there were many more contradictions that didn’t make it to air because of the 2-hour time constraint. In the aired portions, Bashir would tell Jackson and his staff one thing, then tell a contradictory story to the media and public. This is sure to be a part of a scathing cross-examination by Jackson’s lawyers during trial. There is also the factor of fatigue at play as well. The trial hasn’t started yet and the media has gone into ‘trash Jackson’ overload. Many people prefer to wait and see what the evidence is, or see if there’s evidence of anything. And the reporting has been so overwhelmingly one-sided that it has turned a lot of the public off. Or to be more specific, a lot of people have turned the bashing programs off. So will ABC’s failure to get mega-ratings with their two Bashir initiated Jackson trash “specials” force them to re-evaluate their defamatory and possibly malicious behavior? Will ABC soon wish they had never heard the name “Martin Bashir”? Time will tell. -MJEOL

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