Too Late: After One Year, the Media still Hasn’t Learned Anything - Bullet #339
A year after the death of Michael Jackson, I remain almost as bitter as I was in the direct aftermath of the tragedy. I, and many like me, found it thoroughly more important to celebrate his life while he was still alive to enjoy the respect we have for him. That said, imagine the contempt I have on this day while watching various news networks now feigning sympathy for Jackson’s kids (kids they still don’t think are his) and showing respect for his musical acumen (musical acumen they still think he lost after 1989). How hateful!
During his lifetime, he couldn’t have paid these same people to show deference to his kids, or to talk about new projects he was working on, or to realize how people were positively affected by his existence. The fans were objects of ridicule; the butt of jokes particularly during the 2005 trial at which Jackson was cleared of false molestation allegations. Anyone who refrained from thinking he was a molester was written off as a blind fan whose opinion didn’t really mean anything.
I have no patience whatsoever for the incredibly lazy and scandal-driven behavior of such people who now ask questions they should have been asking 5, 6, or 7 years ago. Nor do I care for the continued disrespect of those who act as if they know everything about his personal life, while every word out of their mouth could have been written by any tabloid rag on the magazine rack.
For the same people who couldn’t see past rumors about his finances or his personal choices to be talking about his music NOW is almost a joke to me. It’s too late. Don’t play the Thriller video and remember where you were when you first saw it. Don’t fondly remember dressing up as Michael Jackson at a party with your friends when you were 15. Don’t do any of those type of things if you didn’t do any of them for the last hellish decade of his life.
As someone who actively sought out factual information and who wouldn’t think twice about telling people where to stick their heads if they began to recite inaccurate media talking points, it’s infuriating to see people suddenly caring about things they should have paid attention to long ago simply because he stopped breathing one day.
Online, I happened upon a headline “Death brought out Jackson’s human side” and almost hit the roof. Don’t try to sum up this situation by claiming it humanized him. This tragedy didn’t humanize him nor did seeing his daughter burst into tears at the memorial service humanize him. Again, how hateful!
He was ALWAYS human. He was ALWAYS important to somebody. He was a brother, a son an uncle and a father. Those in positions of journalistic authority treated him with such undeserved disdain and stripped him of his humanity to such an extent that they felt like they could treat him as a caricature.
And no it wasn’t his fault. He tried repeatedly, even to his detriment, to allow people into his life. Every time he peeked his head out from his created sanctuary, someone was there with a bat trying to bash his head in by applying their own filter for their own purposes, or using his innocent nature to their own financial advantage.
So they were shocked… SHOCKED, I tell you … to see a little girl crying her eyes out for him at the memorial service. And they proclaimed that moment as one which “humanized” a human being. And they still don’t understand why they remain untrustworthy in the eyes of so many people particularly on the subject of Michael Jackson? Seriously?
The headline/admission alone means that for years they were covering someone they didn’t think of as human, and thus, were under no obligation to be accurate, fair, or evenhanded.
The “media”, however, are not the only ones who should suffer a wrath of guilt equal to the power of 7 hurricane Katrina’s.
Since this is the one year mark, everyone who so much as brushed up against Jackson in an elevator in 1988 will be given time to speculate endlessly about things of which they know nothing. Many of the people on television may not have so much as spoken to Jackson the last 6 months (or 6 years) of his life, so they obviously wouldn’t know anything more about his death than the rest of us. Especially if those same people would later turn on him like a jealous, jilted ex-girlfriend (ex-wife).
To those people I say: I don’t care that you showed Jackson a house in 2002. I don’t buy your story of how he supposedly asked you, too, for medication almost a decade ago. (Just how many “spiritual advisors” did he have, anyway?)
Further, I don’t care that he visited your kids in Florida. I don’t give a $hit that you were “worried” about him especially if you didn’t do or say anything at the time. And I’m sure you really were “best friends”… the bestest friends ever in the history of bestest friends… in your own mind.
In remembrance of this ‘special’ day, reporters may even try to get those who were around Jackson in his final days to NOT believe their lying eyes but to, instead, defer to unnamed “sources” who suddenly remember after his death that he was an alleged “junkie” despite the fact that the only meds in his system at the time of his death – you know, when it really counted -- were legal, were administered by a physician and weren’t in numbers anywhere near as one would suspect. These type of unsubstantiated stories are often the quickest ticket to some media outlet’s camera.
I have no sympathy at all for those people trying to appease whatever little twinges of guilt they may have felt for still assuming he bleached his skin, or still wondering why he spent time around kids in the face of such ridicule from adults, or still treating him like $hit despite not having a speck of evidence that he was a monster up until the day he died.
The media’s generally careless attitude acted as a filter through which the rest of the public judged the behavior of Michael Jackson. At one point, by the time we got to anything he tried to present to us, it had gone through the media filter which distorted it beyond recognition. The infamous Bashir documentary vs. ‘Take Two:…’ behind the scenes video of that same Bashir time period is a perfect example.
Tonight and the next days, there will be specials on top of specials proclaiming to be a valid source for what happened in his life, what happened during the days before his death, what happened on the day he died, and how fans are “coping” with it. Each one will have their own flaws or contain their own outdated information, half-truths or outright lies.
I remain thoroughly unconvinced that the collective members of the media have learned anything about him or about why so many are critical of their coverage. Nor do I think they see his life as anything more than a means by which to gain attention or ratings.
Since everyone seems to be interested in what fans think today, this is how I remember Michael Jackson: I remember an incredibly beautiful spirit surrounded by a sea of mediocre, deceitful crooks -- each with their own bumbling but foolproof conspiracy to usurp his power, alienate him from those who had his back, and steal every dime in his pocket.
I remember him as someone who fought through a $hit-storm of baseless allegations made worse by media whores who pushed their own version of who they wanted him to be in order to further their own careers.
But I remember a man who, in the face of all of that, still managed to live 50 years on this earth and hold his head up high with a grace that, in retrospect, had to be otherworldly. If some still want to know why he spent so much time around kids, they should walk their a$s over to a mirror.
Too bad some people refused to see what they see today BEFORE his death. If they did, maybe he could have had at least a few more years with his kids… and more sleep.