The Day the Media and Other Vultures Lost Millions of Dollars – MB #323
JUNE 13 2007 – Where were you two years ago today? If you don’t really remember, you were not paying any attention to the news at the time.
Two years ago, a conservative, non-black jury in Santa Maria California effectively snatched hundreds of millions – if not a billion – dollars from the collective media by following the evidence, instead of public opinion. Everything, including the kitchen sink, was thrown into the trial of 2005 in an attempt to convict Jackson of a crime which never took place.
rosecutors wanted the jury to convict based on drawing conclusions from speculation, whereas the defense wanted the jury to acquit based on irrefutable evidence. When the jurors couldn’t bring themselves to throw Jackson under the bus by ignoring the evidence in favor of public opinion and their own financial gain, many members of the media were dumbfounded.
That day I was at my computer ready to post the jury decision verdict by verdict to the thousands of members of MJEOL who were themselves keeping one eye on the computer screen and another eye on the television.
As I sat there waiting, I looked up at the ceiling for a few seconds saying under my breath, “I know you ain’t gon’ let him go out like this. He’s some of the best work you got down here right now.”
It was my little prayer that Jackson wouldn’t have to continue this hell unjustly. During the reading of the verdicts, I think many of us who had covered this case were quiet and intensely concentrating on each word. We saw justice being served.
The media, however, saw something different. With that acquittal, the collective media saw millions and millions of dollars worth of advertising, book sales and other revenue go down the drain.
There would be no follow-up reports of Jackson going to jail. No Paris Hilton-like specials showing the police car arriving at the jail to lock up Jackson. No documentaries on ‘the rise and tragic fall’ of the King of Pop. No bombshell interviews or shows about Jackson which would have drawn millions of eyeballs. No books detailing how he “did it”. Instead, we got silence.
Silence. They didn’t get what they wanted and so they chose NOT to continue the story.
Nobody wanted to talk about the trial afterwards because it meant they would have to report things which were directly contradictory to what they had already reported. And certainly, those who were waiting in the wings like vultures to scoop up over a billion dollars worth of Jackson’s assets weren’t going out of their way to disabuse the media of any false notions being spread about Jackson.
__Hypocritical giants orally armed to do bodily harm__
The collective media and their “group-think” traps have also trained a lot of the most vocal segments of the public to behave in the same manner.
Ironically, some who started their own blogs and news sites because they didn’t trust the media, have incredibly been less than accurate when reporting “news” about Jackson as well. As shocked as some bloggers and other folk claim they were when they heard the verdict, Jackson’s fans were not.
Many were forced to become independent reporters and researchers because of the shoddy trial coverage. Members of MJEOL were certainly not surprised.
We had been covering the case since it started because we, MJJF and a number of other individual fans/independent reporters had access to the official courtroom transcripts.
At the time we though that if the jury was an upstanding body of conscientious people — regardless of how they previously felt about Jackson — they would have no choice but to acquit him based on the facts.
The truth had been laid out line by line, page by page, in the official courtroom transcript created from the testimonies of witnesses who had admitted to lying under oath before, who had convenient memory lapses, who gave testimony that logically made no sense, who gave testimony which directly conflicted with stories they had told previously, who were caught on tape badmouthing the Arvizo family, and who had admitted to selling stories to the tabloids for thousands of dollars. And those were just the prosecution’s allegedly A-list witnesses!
Jackson was acquitted after a ramshackle case full of false allegations and shady tabloid-styled commentary from witnesses spanning a dozen years. It is a truth to which many members of the media still fail to admit.
Some of these witnesses wanted jurors to believe that Jackson had molested a kid in 1993 and therefore he must be guilty now; witnesses who themselves had a million reasons to lie on the stand about Jackson. These same witnesses were held out as bastions of truth for over a decade by the media…before they had their stories questioned in court by Jackson attorney Thomas Mesereau.
I’ll give an example. Now, you probably couldn’t bribe a reporter to take up the cause to convince us all that Ralph Chacon, Adrian McManus or Kassim Abdul were telling the truth about what they claimed happened in 1993.
Not necessarily because some members of the media don’t want to believe their allegation, though. But rather, it’s because if they go there, they would have to go ALL the way including telling the public, in detail, about these three witnesses’ cross-examinations.
But according to the media these were the people who allegedly “knew where all the bodies were buried”, remember? These were the people who had the proof of molestation from 1993, remember?
What we found out from the courtroom transcript is that damn near all of the prosecution’s witnesses had their own reasons for doing what they were doing; particularly, the witnesses from 1993 who turned out to be even less credible than the ones who made the most recent set of allegations.
With the exception of Blanca Francia and June Chandler – two mothers who profited greatly from their association with Jackson – other ‘1993’ witnesses owed Jackson up to a million dollars in legal fees after they sued him and lost. They had to file for bankruptcy as a result.
These were the people many members of the media cited for years as proof that Jackson had behaved illegally with Jordan Chandler (the 1993 accuser). They would have undoubtedly gotten massive amounts of attention from anyone doing a report/story/documentary about Jackson had he been convicted.
As we found ourselves trying to cut through all the bull$hit coverage during Jackson’s trial, it was obvious we, and much of the public, were all expected to keep the blinders on and believe that Jackson HAD to have molested Gavin Arvizo because he HAD to have molested Jordan Chandler a dozen years ago.
The collective body of image-creators / image-destroyers wanted the public to believe in their grand myth; the mythological beast called ‘Jacko’ who created a fun park to lure vulnerable children. This image fit quite nicely with the prosecution’s theory by the way.
This collective body of people rushed in wanting to show the public any type of proof of the beast’s existence, and to solicit the public’s help in figuratively killing it. All while turning a nice profit and getting bragging rights for higher ratings. However, what this collective body got was a whole other story which they, to this day, don’t want to touch.
__They had dreamed a dream…but now that dream has gone from them__
As of now, the only thing many members of the media have to hang their hats on is what they assumed happened to Jordan Chandler in 1993. That’s it.
It is because of the ambiguity of what happened (or didn’t happen) that many chuckleheads and chicken-little-know-nothing reporters continue to spout disgusting and defamatory statements against Jackson.
The maid’s son, Jason Francia, at first looked promising to the media…until cross-examination. His testimony fell apart and even conflicted with his mother’s at a crucial point.
The jury foreman later went on to tell a whiny Nancy Grace in a post-trial interview that the maid’s son was leaving too many “little loopholes” in his testimony and that Francia reminded them of Janet Arvizo (see Foreman: Jason Francia Not Too Credible Either, No Proof of Guilt – MB#275).
That side of Francia’s testimony wasn’t covered by the collective media in any detail at the time. It wasn’t until the release of a defense court document that the public first found out about Francia’s police questioning when he was a child.
He had been lied to by police to solicit an allegation against Jackson. They lied to him, telling him that Jackson was molesting Mac Culkin, and that Corey Feldman was a drug-head who would probably die early because he hung out with Jackson.
They wanted Francia to “help them” help the kid who was being abused. Oh no! No inducements to lie there!
Francia’s convenient memory, too, was a concern to many who were reading the transcript of his testimony. Francia could supposedly remember things that happened over a decade ago, but couldn’t remember things which happened a few months before his 2005 testimony.
So with both Gavin Arvizo’s and Jason Francia’s testimony in pieces, the only thing left was the original kid from 1993: Jordan Chandler.
Chandler had to be the one to ride in like knight on a white horse to save the media’s future payday. It didn’t happen. Before the prosecution’s disastrous decision to bring up the 1993 allegation, the segment of the public that believed Jordan Chandler was abused thought they had a solid foundation on which to base their opinion.
After seeing witnesses’ testimonies disintegrate when just a few questions about the logic of the claims were asked by someone other than a member of the prosecution, their last hope was Jordan Chandler.
Chandler is now a grown man and reportedly wanted absolutely nothing to do with the prosecution’s 2005 trial. I wonder why?
There is unconfirmed information questioning whether Chandler is even standing by the allegations he made as child while under his father’s care. Chandler, for the record, has never had his allegation cross examined under oath by anyone during a criminal “case” before. He is also currently in a knock-down-drag-out fight…literally…with his father, Evan Chandler.
Reportedly, the two are suing each other in a New Jersey court. Jordan Chandler sought and got a restraining order against his father for knocking him over the head with a 12-pound weight and spraying him in the face with mace. The fight happened a few months after Jackson’s acquittal (see Onetime Jackson accuser claims his father attacked him).
Almost no member of the media has touched the story, though. During a Nov 2005 panel discussion by Thomas Mesereau at Harvard Law School, he let slip that the defense would have had a lot of questions for Chandler had he testified.
There were witnesses (witnesses, plural) prepared to testify that the 1993 accuser admitted he was never molested by Jackson, and was angry at his parents for making him say so. If that weren’t bad enough, the defense found out Jordan Chandler had filed for legal emancipation from his parents at the time. From Mesereau’s appearance:
I had witnesses who were going to come in and say he told them it never happened. And that he would never talk to his parents again for what they made him say. And it turned out he had gone into court and gotten legal emancipation from his parents. His mother testified that she hadn’t talked to him in 11 years. So, you know, there was a problem there as well. (see report | video
A child normally files for legal emancipation to keep his/her parents from being in a position to make decisions for them, particularly were finances are concerned.
The defense got as close as they could possibly get to proving a negative without actually having the benefit of cross-examining Jordan Chandler under oath.
Every excuse under the sun has been made by members of the media as to why Chandler didn’t cooperate with prosecutors. Some members of the cable news media have appeared to be visibly upset that Chandler didn’t testify to help shore up Gavin Arvizo’s testimony.
The big question still remains: what would he have said if he got on the stand? Many of the media still think they know what he would have said….just like they thought Jackson was guilty.
The Jackson trial proved to be a perfect illustration of how the media were failed by their assumptions; “that thing of theirs” where they got stuck in the fog of group-think.
With that type of attitude, to hell with whether or not Jackson deserved to be convicted. They had money to make, deadlines to meet and ‘victims’ to discover. After all, Chandler was a victim right? And so was the maid’s son, right? And so was Gavin Arvizo, right??
After the trial, the allegations against Jackson were like a three legged stool with two of those legs missing. How is it still standing? With the help of interested parties, of course!
In the wake of Jackson’s acquittal, it’s best not to try to get too detailed. For the media, the devil is in the details. And as long as they can keep the events surrounding Jackson’s trial “vague”, they can keep pushing the myth of ‘the Jacko beast’.
__Let him who stole, no longer steal__
Much has already been said about the plethora of viciously ambitious people around Jackson usurping his power and talking him into doing dumb $hit like signing over his power of attorney. Not a lot has been mentioned of the number of people who would have gained tremendously had Jackson been convicted.
You probably already know where I’m going before you read the rest of this sentence, but much speculation about executives either currently or previously at Sony Music made its way into the discussions surrounding the 2005 trial.
Some had speculated that at least one ex-Sony executive may have been somehow involved in furthering the allegations against Jackson. Others cited Sony’s general lack of support as suspicious.
Others, still, saw executives at the giant corporation waiting in the wings for Jackson’s downfall so they could swoop in like vultures to wrest Jackson’s 50% ownership in the SONY/ATV catalog away from him.
There may be others whose existence is unknown to us who also sought to gain control of Jackson’s interest in the massively expanding and insanely profitable catalog.
Not only the catalog was at risk, but also that beautiful 2700 acres of contiguous, prime California land right in the heart of wine country would also be on the auction block had Jackson been convicted.
Neverland by all accounts is one of the most beautiful pieces of property in existence. There were suspicions that some wanted to see Jackson convicted so as to make it easier to get their hands on the land and turn it into a bed and breakfast, a vineyard, or divvy it up into parcels and sell each to the highest bidder.
Speculation aside, Jackson is said to have jettisoned a boatload of freeloaders, power-grabbers, low-lives, shysters, crooks, alleged embezzlers, attention-seeking ‘friends’, and incompetent liars during and after the 2005 trial.
Some of these people would seek to make their new living off of becoming unreliable “sources” for various media stories; stories which turned out to be wholly inaccurate.
The cottage industry of Used-to-Bes, Wanna-Bes, and Never-Beens sprang up overnight largely because of the media. They were on the prowl looking for a ‘gotcha’ story that would solidify what they already believed to be true.
These know-nothing ex-friends got massive amounts of airtime from know-nothing producers, hosts, reporters and editors during the trial. They all figuratively got their faces cracked wide open when Jackson was acquitted.
__Exceptions to the rule?__
The exceptions to the media group-think rule could be counted on one hand. People like Linda Deutsch from the Associated Press simply reported what happened during the trial.
Dawn Hobbs, who used to work for the Santa Barbara News-Press also seemed down the line in her reporting. To this day, I have no idea how Deutsch or Hobbs feel about Jackson. They could very well hate his guts for all I know. But neither of them ever showed any favoritism either way during their reporting.
I would have included MSNBC’s Mike Taibbi on the list if he hadn’t faltered and finally succumbed to that group-think mentality around the very end of the trial.
Taibbi at one point seemed to be one of the only media persons asking the ‘Wait just a damn minute!’ type of questions and actually following up with substantial investigative reports. He also broke many stories around the Arvizo family after finding information about their past.
He found out about the J.C. Penney lawsuit where the mother had tacked on allegations of molestation against some of the security guards who stopped the children from shoplifting merchandise out of one of their stores (see 'The Abrams Report' for March 4 2004: JC Penny lawyer speaks out).
Taibbi also ran upon info that Gavin Arvizo previously accused his mother of abusing him. The allegation was made to a teacher at a school he was attending (see SBSD Warned DCFS to Stay Away from Family During Timeline? – MJEOL Bullet #248).
Taibbi broke the story about the Santa Barbara County sheriff department doing a two month investigation which cut right through the prosecution’s timeline. The investigation into Jackson and the Arvizo family by the sheriff’s department was from Feb 2003 to April 2003. The case was closed after no evidence of wrongdoing was found. Woops!
The now defunct Celebrity Justice (CJ) also had days when they weren’t afraid to report stories that didn’t paint Jackson in a negative light.
For example, CJ reported that sheriff’s called the Department of Children & Family services and warned them to stay away from the Arvizo family. Why were they trying to keep the DCFS from this family?
And just what the hell were they doing being in contact with this family BEFORE they had made an allegation against Jackson anyway? We never got an answer, but I have my suspicions. (see SBSD Warned DCFS to Stay Away from Family During Timeline? – MJEOL Bullet #248)
And who can forget Geraldo Rivera (fox) betting his mustache on Jackson’s acquittal because of the ridiculous allegations? But Rivera had a master to serve and the kibosh was put on his reporting while other fox hosts were allowed to run around doing their best to push the ‘guilty’ angle.
Other talking heads (the media) which had convinced the public of Jackson’s guilt sat back and waited to put plans into action to make their billion dollars. It was just a matter of time…or so they thought.
Much of the Fox audience believed Jackson was guilty, like so many other people, because they didn’t know any better. Thus, when the verdicts came down these same people were looking for reasons as to why it didn’t happen like they thought it would. Like disappointed children on Christmas day, they were looking for reasons why Santa Clause didn’t leave them a shiny new bike under the tree like they just KNEW he would.
__Tell me no more lies__
There is a difference between assumption and truth based on facts. So many times the assumption or group-think wins out in getting media airtime.
Fortunately, not all of us (the public) are as stupid as the media likes to assume we are. Like Hurricane Katrina was for George Bush, the Michael Jackson trial came in and ripped the skin from the media’s veneer of invincibility and credibility to those of us who were paying attention. And in the aftermath of the trial is silence on the travesty of justice that went down in a Santa Maria courthouse in 2005.
There would be no ethics trial for Tom Sneddon in the same way Durham prosecutor Mike Nifong is on trial for trying to railroad innocent defendants. There would be no documentaries detailing how this trial got as far as it did with no evidence outside of an allegation.
There would be no breathless bombshells around the past of the accuser’s family. With one single exception in Aphrodite Jones – whose independently published book was released today — there would be no books revisiting the story and wagging fingers at colleagues who obviously were one-sided and slanted in their view.
Nobody gives a damn about justice for Jackson. He is a means-to-an-end, a punch-line, a ratings-grabber (as long as it’s negative), and a meal ticket to the media regardless of whether he actually committed a crime.
But to be able to treat him like garbage as they do repeatedly and to make money from his tribulations, he HAS to be a “pedophile” and they HAVE to convince the public of that. If the last leg of the three legged stool disappears (Jordan Chandler’s allegation), this collective media would be left with facing an innocent man they have unjustly treated like a piece of $hit for over a decade.
I haven’t seen one report yet detailing what happened two years ago today. So I’ll cut through the silence to simply say: “Happy 2 year anniversary, justice. You were slow and imperfect, but you made it in time.”