WHAT TO BELIEVE?
THE MEDIA AND PERCEPTION: A GUIDE INTO THE MICHAEL JACKSON TRIAL
Katie Burrell Eng 305w
Table of Contents
FULL PAPER STARTING ON……………………………..6
COURT PASSES FOR NON-MEDIA………………………………………………….15
JANET ARVIZO-JACKSON MUG SHOT………………………………………….....16
DIANE DIAMOND’S BOOK “BE CAREFUL WHO YOU LOVE”…………………..21
NANCY GRACE’S BOOK “OBJECTION!”……………………………………………21
ROGER FRIEDMAN AND MYSELF AT NEVERLAND………………………………23
ROGER FRIEDMAN NOTE TO ME…………………………………………………….23
APHRODITE JONES AND MYSELF AT NEVERLAND……………………………….24
People rely on the media on a daily basis to tell them about current events, the weather, and even about their favorite celebrities. But what do you do when the media cannot be trusted? Proven exploitation of a situation or scandal turns into a media circus and releases leaked documents or inaccurate information PURPOSELY for a self-serving need to be the ones in control. When abuse of power turns into an abuse of knowledge or omission of knowledge, can the one-time ‘all knowing’ media outlets still be viewed as truthful and honest or are they being taken over by reporters and analysts and pundits who have their own intentions on how things should be run, spun, and reported.
Michael Jackson and the media’s reign of terror in all things scandal. The media took control of the first allegation against Jackson in 1993 and spun the news and reports out of his favor thereby depicting the star as a pedophile and a man who ‘bought’ his way out of jail time. Details that were widely available to the media weren’t reported and often omitted or spun out of control to the point of non-belief. Issues surrounding Jackson’s settlement in 1993 were widely misreported and caused further scrutiny to be placed on the pop star and instead of a return back to his normal life, Jackson was forced to deal with lie after lie defending himself in the media on situations that were caused by them.
While many reports came out against Jackson, a few showed the truth but were obscured in the pages of a fashion magazine or a book that was released on an independent publisher’s label and failed to even make it into local book stores but retreated to world of cyberspace and online bookstores. The before mentioned literature proves that the truth wasn’t hard to find, especially for those who wanted to find it.
It’s a lot easier to lie and cover up an issue than it is to go against the grain and take a chance to report the truth. Being an advocate of truth was what two reporters stood out to do but became puppets of their network and in turn provide false information or a spin of said information to suit the network’s needs.
Since morals are running a little sparse lately, the consumer or listener can no longer rely on civic duty or moral obligation when referring to the news. It now becomes a game of compare and contrast, seek and search, and for those who don’t care or don’t know they are being dupe, listen and believe.
Why are there no regulations in the media for what is wrong and what is right to report?
Where is the public outcry or the actual request for the truth. Rather than just take what you’re handed at face value, what’s wrong with doing a little digging for the truth, especially when there are so many contradictory reports all on the same subject?
There have been many advances in technology over the past few centuries. Not only does it allow the world to move forward but also more information to reach more hands, ears, and eyes as soon as it comes out. The mass media of today’s age has spawned many celebrities in the news world along with creating fans for them far and wide. Media, when controlled is an amazing tool to provide knowledge worldwide but when abused, can greatly use its powers to intentionally misinform and spin in their favor.
When used incorrectly, like in the Michael Jackson trial, the media doesn’t lend a hand to inform but to intentionally misinform, thereby abusing the trust of the public and abusing their power as an all-knowing outlet for information. It is up to the consumer, or listener, rather to either be content and listen to manipulation or to go out and find the truth themselves and demand that their media outlet be more concerned with veracity than ratings.
To understand the Media’s manipulation of the Jackson trial, you must go back to the original allegations made in August of 1993. Prior to the allegations, Jackson’s car broke down and called a rental service. There is where he met Dave Schwartz, the stepfather of Jordan Chandler. Jackson quickly developed a friendship with the whole family. When June Chandler Schwartz separated from Dave, the family became even closer to Jackson. That is where the problems started. A very down on his luck dentist battling several malpractice lawsuits, also a father slacking on child support, alimony, and visitation with his child, filed a civil suit with attorney Larry Feldman, against Michael Jackson for sexually abusing his child. When authorities got wind of the suit, district attorneys in Los Angeles and Santa Barbara, Gill Garcetti and Thomas Sneddon respectively, launched massive searches of Jackson’s sprawling Neverland Ranch and instructed that he was to come home to the United States to be served with a search warrant of his body (Fischer, Mary. GQ OCT 94).
Before the search warrant was approved, the alleged victim, a 13 yr old boy named Jordan Chandler, allegedly drew a description of Jackson’s privates detailing every splotch he had due to his skin condition, Vitiligo. Encouraged to do so by his psychiatrist, Stanley Katz, he allegedly finished the drawing and submitted it to the cooperating district attorneys. After reviewing the pictures, it was determined that the description was a complete and total mismatch but was put aside for a later date. Two grand juries were convened, one in Santa Barbara and the other in Los Angeles. Neither returned indictments and after a few months, Garcetti gave up and ended their sessions. Thomas Sneddon kept it going providing fuel for his adversaries to say that he did, have a vendetta against Jackson.
While said grand juries were taking place, Jackson’s attorneys were working night and day to try to prevent the civil trial to come before the criminal trial. If they lost those motions, Jackson would be forced to testify and be deposed prior to doing so and a defense attorney NEVER wants a client to go on record before a criminal case. That being said, Jackson and his team lost three key motions placing the civil trial ahead of the criminal trial. The law has since been changed and if there is a criminal allegation, the alleged victim can file a civil suit but it cannot proceed until all criminal matters are said and done with.
The attorneys still fought on until dealt a hefty blow. The civil allegation, which were included but not limited to : sexual misconduct, sexual battery, and negligence which was defined on the ‘first’ claim as ‘extreme and explicit sexual contact,’ was withdrawn and a more revised, less explicit claim was submitted. It stated only negligence the standard form that Princeton’s wordnet defines as “failure to act with the prudence that a reasonable person would exercise under the same circumstances,” and said nothing of sexual abuse. That was the key word for Jackson’s homeowner’s insurance company and within days of the new claim being submitted, Jackson’s insurance company informed him and his legal team that they would settle the matter out of court to save time and money. With that information and the loss of the motions basically preventing the criminal case to go forward first, Jackson and his team conceded and approved the settlement.
Jackson and all parties were instructed not to speak about anything that led up to or caused the settlement and everyone moved on with their lives. For a short moment, it seemed as if Jackson would recover and be done with controversy but unknowing to the media, Jackson’s former maid, a woman by the name of Blanca Francia told the grand jury that Jackson never harmed her son but told Diane Diamond of Hard Copy, for a hefty price, that he did, was now planning to sue him if he didn’t pay her money to keep quiet. Married, ready to start a family, and about to release an album, Jackson’s label paid the woman a total of $2M to leave him alone and Jackson released his album without a hitch. What did the media have to say about that? Only that Jackson’s marriage was a sham and a diversion from the allegations and an attempt to normalize him in the eyes of the public.
At the time, many speculated that the wedding was a just a masquerade, a ploy to prop up Jackson's public image, which had taken a battering after a 13-year-old boy alleged that the pop star had sexually molested him. Jackson later reached a multimillion dollar out-of-court settlement with the boy. No charges were ever filed. They were questioned about rumors that their marriage was a publicity stunt designed to give Jackson legitimacy.
"Like we're faking this?" Jackson said. His wife added, "How can you fake this 24 hours a day -- sleeping with somebody, waking up with somebody? I'm not going to marry somebody for any reason other than the fact that I fall in love with them (CNN).
How did Diane Diamond get the Francia story? She landed all the major exclusives during the allegations and promoted an interview with five former Neverland security guards who said they all saw Jackson molesting children yet did nothing. She went on Frontline in late 1993 and bragged that she wasn’t paying for these interviews; they came to her out of good faith. The interview was cancelled upon other media finding out that she planned to pay each a sum of $50, 000 for their stories (Fischer, Mary. GQ OCT 94).
Diamond’s name comes up more than a few times when talking about Jackson’s controversy. When the settlement was over, Diamond announced to her viewers that she had a tape proving that Jackson was a pedophile. It was a tape of him molesting his nephew, Jeremy, and she would play it on the air the following week. When Jackson heard about this, he sued Hard Copy, Paramount Studios, and Diamond. The tape was a hoax and Hard Copy and Paramount were dropped from the suit. It was Jackson vs. Diamond and she did what most reporters would NEVER do, she gave up her source. She was dropped from the suit and replaced by Victor Gutierrez but not before filing for bankruptcy (No More Mr. Nice Guy).
The media’s reporting of the 1993 allegations were totally one-sided and against Jackson from the start. Story after story about how Jackson would be convicted or how he was planning to flee the country were reported all over the states. Once the matter was settled, it no longer became an issue of fleeing but more so an issue of ‘paying off the victim’ and because Jackson couldn’t speak about what really happened, he had to carry the label of pedophile for many years.
The light at the end of the tunnel for many fans and those criticizing Jackson was an article submitted to GQ magazine questioning and completely investigating what ‘really’ happened in 1993. Mary Fischer a reporter who wasn’t content with the media’s reports of the allegation/scandal did a little digging and interviewing, she was able to find out that many of the things reported weren’t true and obviously had no problem displaying her dismay at reports and her cynical opinion of the media reporting the lies instead of searching for the truth. Jordan chandler DID NOT draw the infamous ‘Michael Jackson genital description,’ it was his father, Evan. June Chandler, Evan’s estranged wife didn’t believe the allegations and only went along with it so she wouldn’t lose custody of her son, ultimately she did lose him and so did Evan when Jordan filed for emancipation and cut both of his parents out of his life. How did Mary Fischer get all of this? Sheer determination for the truth, because as she’s stated many a time, she’s not a fan or a supporter of Jackson, she’s a supporter of the truth and that is why she became a reporter (Fischer, Mary. GQ OCT 94).
Fischer was able to track down a tape of Jordan’s father and stepfather engaging in very suspicious banter. This was the phone call the soon to be ex-stepfather taped because while he was divorcing Jordan’s mother, he was still concerned for the boy and wondered the true motives of Evan’s newfound interest in the son he hadn’t cared for since he realized who he was friends with.
[Evan Chandler] I had a good communication with Michael. We were friends. I liked him and I respected him and everything else for what he is. There was no reason why he had to stop calling me. I sat in the room one day and talked to Michael and told him exactly what I wanted out of this whole relationship. I’ve been rehearsed about what to say and what not to say.
[David Schwartz] what has Jackson done that made you so upset?
[Evan Chandler] He broke up the family. The boy has been seduced by this guy’s power and money. And if I go through with this, I win big-time. There’s no way I lose. I’ve check that inside out. I will get everything I want and they will be destroyed forever. June will lose custody [of the son]…and Michael’s career will be over.”
Does that help [the boy]? Schwartz asked. "That’s irrelevant to me," Chandler replied. "It’s going to be bigger than all of us put together. The whole thing is going to crash down on everybody and destroy everybody and destroy everybody in sight. It will be a massacre if I don’t get what I want." ( Hughes, 184. Fischer, GQ, October, 94).
If that tape made it to civil court, it was bound to tank the plaintiff’s allegations and draw a very suspicious light on the true motives of the scandal.
David Schwartz later claimed he was baiting Chandler to see if he planned to extort Jackson. Chandler apparently had a taste of movies and wanted to be a producer. He voluntarily admitted to threatening Jackson and demanding money. When his demands weren’t met, the allegations seemingly popped up out of nowhere and proved that he finally made good on his threat to Jackson. He took control of his child and prevented him from seeing his mother and from touring with Jackson. The first step in his plan according to a former secretary who spoke with Fischer
“On July 12, one day after Chandler took control of his son, he had hisex-wife sign a document prepared by Rothman that prevented her fromtaking the youth out of Los Angeles County. This meant the boy would be unable to accompany Jackson on the tour.” ( Fisher GQ, October 1994).
What helps us also hurts us and that’s what the media found out during the second round of the Jackson scandal that took place in November of 2003. Jackson’s Neverland Ranch was being raided yet again and rumors were flying that it was because of another allegation. While the media had full run of what the public heard and saw in 1993, they weren’t prepared for a battle of ‘wrongs’ that would come no later than a few days after Jackson’s arrest. What happened in 2003 happened because of new advances of technology. The internet made all the prior information available and it also served the righteous media with information on the alleged victim and his family. Celebrity Justice was the first to report that this family wasn’t so innocent after all. Past civil suits and allegations of being held hostage and sexual assault plagued their reputation and made many, who initially rushed to judgment, take a step back and truly analyze what was really going on.
The only problem was, the whole intention of DA Tom Sneddon was to create even more of a circus than what likely would have been. By starting the ‘allegation’ phase and making it public is such a disgusting and gloating manner, he quickly set the tone for what was to come. “At yesterday's press conference, Santa Barbara District Attorney Tom Sneddon seemed at once to revel in the media spotlight and be slightly unnerved by it, joking with reporters and at one point knocking a microphone from his lectern.”(Folkenflik).
A DA acting inappropriately and making jokes about allegations of serious child sexual abuse gave way to many late-night pundits throwing out all morals and ideas and gave them the green light to poke fun at a very serious situation.
Because the ‘Age of Information’ was so advanced, there became a mad dash for any and all information not only about Jackson but about the alleged victim’s mother and her past. One notable fact jumped out right away. This family was using the same civil attorney as the Chandler family, Larry Feldman , and the same psychiatrist, Stanley Katz. So with the same civil attorney, and the same shrink, what were the other similarities? The same district attorney that wouldn’t give up in 1993 was smiling and laughing during a press conference joking about the allegations and about Jackson and his behavior. Also there was a familiar name in the media when a Jackson situation comes up, Diane Diamond.
Information was scarce do to a gag order so reporters were scrambling for bits and pieces of anything. Then fraud and illegal misdeeds come to light. Diamond had been out of the media loop for many years yet she was the first to report on this case and was the first reporter seen at the ranch. She later did an interview with her hometown paper stating that she was told by district attorney Thomas Sneddon that Jackson was being investigated and would soon be arrested. Diamond admitted she approached Court TV with a proposal stating she would be in the loop and would provide to them an amazing story in the coming months. Diamond stated she was told about the allegations in mid July of 2003. Is that ethical when the alleged victim’s mother said in open court that she didn’t know about her son accusing Jackson of sexual abuse until September of 2003?
What about all the DNA and love letters Diamond claimed the sheriff’s found at Jackson’s ranch? Love letters she attributed to a source high up in the district attorney’s office. Not one person questioned her on Larry King Live until Chris Pixley started wondering. If she said she’d seen them, tell me what they say. Diamond was speechless and then recanted stating she didn’t see them but her source did. Two days later, Nola Foulston calls into Greta Van Susteren’s show on behalf of DA Sneddon and deemed Diamond’s claims a lie. Did she lose her job or did she recant or apologize? Hardly, she was back on Court TV the next day spouting more incorrect information (Larry King Live).
How can a viewer decipher what’s truth and what’s fiction? Are other journalists reporting it or are they all attributing the story to the same person? What many didn’t know was that the media had the password to a website created solely to the Michael Jackson trial. Created by the county of Santa Barbara, the media were all given passwords to review motions made by both the defense team and the state prosecutors. So comments made by some insinuating Jackson’s guilt because he was arrested two days after the raid of his ranch would be inconsistent with the motions and warrants served seeing as how Jackson had a warrant for his arrest a whole two months before they raided his property, yet the county didn’t execute it until they secured the warrants to search his ranch. So what was with all the miss-informed reporting? Was this a way to slant the truth and get the public to dislike Jackson as much as the media seemed to?
Once the trial started, many thought the information would be more even-sided. The reporters, along with fans, who got in through public passes , would go into the courtroom every day and take notes and watch the testimony. Yet when many turned on their TV sets at home, all that was reported was what the State’s case did on direct examination but not what the defense extracted out of the witnesses during cross examination. They didn’t report how every witness, apart from a few cops who were just there to confirm which items they catalogued, was either found to have been currently lying, lied in the past, had something to gain from lying, or had sued Jackson in the past and lost. Where was the smoking gun? Where were the witnesses were full of veracity and where was the proof? It was all in Jackson’s case when his attorney presented it after the State rested with their own.
From attending court and meeting other fans and taking a family member to view the trial, there was a way to show that the media wasn’t being truthful. Many were encouraged by fans to go to court, take notes, then return to their hotels and watch the media, specifically Court TV. Did the news match up to what was said in the courtroom? Somewhat on the defense part but only on the part that the defense did cross examine the witnesses spoken so highly about when discussing the State’s direct of them. No mention was made on how they were proven liars or people with motives. More attention was directed to what Jackson was wearing or his demeanor in court and not what his defense was slamming out to the State witnesses.
What the media reported, most of the time, directly contradicted witness testimony and defied all logic to too many watching. For example, the alleged victim’s mother Janet Arvizo seen here in her mug shot , conveniently now named Janet Jackson (she married a man with that last name and had his child before the trial started), expressed great fear of Jackson and spoke of how he kidnapped her. She was very wild on the stand and used many hand motions and at one time seemed to put her hand up to the defense lawyer, Thomas Mesereau, to silence him and began pleading with the jury stating that he was lying and was trying to manipulate her words
T. Mesereau 2 Q. Well, you went for a body wax when you were 3 at Neverland, did you not? Janet Arvizo 4 A. Inaccurate. 5 Q. Never did it? 6 A. Never did it. 18 Q. The body wax you had in Los Olivos was the 19 day that you claim Jesus helped you escape from 20 Neverland, true? 21 A. His statement is inaccurate. He keeps 22 continuously saying “body wax.” There is no body 23 wax. (Trial transcripts).
Instead of commenting on Janet’s erratic behavior, Diane Dimond defended the woman and praised her ‘bravery and courage’ to stand up against a ‘monster’ like Jackson. For the first time in the whole trial, the media was absolutely mystified and could only report the truth. There was no way to spin Janet’s testimony. But alas, Dimond found a way.
Many other media outlets decided there was no way to spin Janet Arvizo’s testimony. There was no way to turn such a big problem into a bright shinning star of a witness. In fact, so many lambasted the prosecution for putting such an unstable and volatile witness on the stand without knowing full and well how she would respond to questions; even their own.
The accuser's mother, Janet Arvizo, who now uses Jay Jackson's last name, has been identified as the most problematic of the prosecution witnesses. Her behaviour of snapping her fingers and staring at the jurors, was criticized by jurors after the trial. She was often unresponsive to questioning, even by the prosecution. She seemed to argue defensively, over seemingly small issues, such as whether she had a body wax or only a leg wax. She made repeated use of a few catch phrases, such as "It's burned inside my memory" and "Money doesn't buy happiness". There were often times when the court erupted in laughter over her (Wikipedia).
What was Arvizo’s motive for trying so hard to befriend Jackson? Why was she trying to be in his life and fail to understand when he was pushing her away, it was because of her actions? Was there a plot all along to pin an allegation on Jackson? It was widely reported that the accuser had battled cancer and won. But he was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer and was told that he would not survive. That is when the rush to Jackson began. In pre-trial hearings, Jackson’s defense team pointed out that Ms. Arvizo wasn’t as dumb or as innocent as she tried to make herself out to be.
Thomas Mesereau(Jackson's Attorney): When did you meet Michael?
Jane "Doe"(Accuser's mother): August 2000.
Thomas Mesereau: According to this official statement, sworn declaration that you gave to the Santa Barbara Sheriff’s Department and District Attorney, you retained an attorney and investigator in January 2000 for the sole purpose of finding out information about Michael Jackson and settling with him. You discussed a settlement concerning Michael Jackson before you even knew him?
Jane "Doe":[hesitates] I....I.…well…...
Prosecutors: Objection your honor! Irrelevant!
Judge Rodney Melville: Sustained. (Pre-trial transcripts).
The same reaction of spin and denial was met when the younger brother of the alleged victim testified. He claimed that he was being tricked and his comments were either falsely attributed to him or that the court reporter made a mistake. He refused to take responsibility for any of his testimony while speaking of several inconsistencies in his testimony. When confronted with a discrepancy in his words, the boy blamed others.
23 Q. By the way, do you remember yesterday when 24 you told the jury that on the plane you looked at a 25 soda can that Michael Jackson had and you saw a red 26 ring around it. 27 A. Yes. 28 Q. You told that to the police in one of your 1237 1 interviews also, didn’t you. 2 A. I think so. 3 Q. You also told the police that you looked in 4 the can and saw white wine, correct. 5 A. When. 6 Q. When you told them there was a red ring 7 around the can, you then told them you looked in the 8 can and saw white wine, remember. 9 A. I don’t remember saying that. 10 Q. Would it refresh your recollection if I show 11 you a transcript from a police interview. 12 A. Sure. 16 THE WITNESS: The lady might have misheard 17 me. 18 Q. BY MR. MESEREAU: Excuse me, what did you 19 just say. 20 A. I never looked into the can. 21 Q. You said a lady might have misheard you. 22 A. The -- I don’t know what her -- what the -- 23 Q. The court reporter. 24 A. Yes. 25 Q. Oh, you think the court reporter made a 26 mistake. 27 A. Yes. 28 Q. Because, as you’ve seen, it says you told 1238
1 the police there was a red ring around the can and 2 then you looked in and saw white wine, right. 3 That’s what it says, doesn’t it. 4 A. Yes. 5 Q. But what you’re telling the jury is you 6 think the court reporter made a mistake. 7 A. Yes. 7 Q. Well, did you tell the Santa Barbara 8 Sheriffs that, “Michael Jackson would never let us 9 look at clocks,” or words to that effect. 18 Q. Well, you said words to the effect, “Michael 19 Jackson kept my family away from clocks and time,” 20 right. 9 A. They kept us away from the clocks. We 10 didn’t know the exact time or the date or nothing. 11 Q. Would you agree that overlooking Neverland 12 is a huge clock. 13 A. Yes. It’s a flower clock. 14 Q. Yes. And to the right of that big flower 15 clock is another clock, correct. 16 A. Probably. 17 Q. There are clocks all over Neverland, 18 correct. 19 A. Yes. 20 Q. And you and your brothers used to run all 21 around Neverland, right. 22 A. Yes. 18 Q. Everywhere you go at Neverland, you can see 19 clocks, right. 20 A. Not everywhere. 21 Q. Most places, right. 22 A. Yes, most places. 23 Q. And you and your brother were up on a 24 hill -- 25 A. They weren’t always correct. Yeah, they had 26 clocks there, but they weren’t always correct. 27 Q. Well, if you didn’t know what time it was, 28 how do you know they weren’t correct. 1296 (Trial transcripts). As if the younger brother’s testimony couldn’t get any worse, he seemed to slip up on what he actually saw or what Michael showed he and his older brother. When confronted with more inconsistencies, he got defensive and started trying to cover up his blatant flub 7 MR. MESEREAU: Thank you. 8 Q. Star, I’m showing you a photograph that you 9 identified yesterday. The number is 86. Do you see 10 that. 11 A. Yes. 12 Q. And that’s a briefcase with some girlie 13 magazines, right. 14 A. Yes. 15 Q. And you told the jury yesterday, they’re the 16 magazines you saw at Neverland, right. 25 Q. Before you testified yesterday you looked at 26 that photograph with Prosecutor Sneddon, correct. 27 A. Yes. 28 Q. You told Prosecutor Sneddon that those are 1279
1 the magazines you had seen at Neverland, right. 2 A. Yes. 3 Q. You told Prosecutor Sneddon that Michael 4 Jackson had showed you those magazines, right. 5 A. Yes. 6 Q. Michael Jackson never showed you that 7 magazine, “Barely Legal,” did he. 8 A. What. 9 Q. Michael Jackson never showed you that 10 magazine, “Barely Legal,” did he. 11 A. He did show us. 12 Q. He did. 13 A. Yes. 14 Q. Well, Star, did you look at the date of the 15 magazine. It’s August of 2003, is it not. 16 A. Well, I never said that was exactly that 17 one. 18 Q. Well, your family had left Neverland many 19 months before, never to return, correct. 20 A. That -- I’m telling you that that wasn’t 21 exactly the one he showed us. 22 Q. That’s not what you said yesterday, and it’s 27 Q. BY MR. MESEREAU: When you told the jury 28 yesterday that Michael Jackson showed you the 1280 1 magazine “Barely Legal,” you were not telling the 2 truth, right. 3 A. Um, I said that he did show us Barely Legal. 4 I didn’t say that he showed us that exact one. He 5 showed us those magazines. 6 Q. You told the jury yesterday that Michael 7 showed you the particular magazine depicted in the 8 photograph, didn’t you. 9 A. No. I said that he showed us those type of 10 magazines. 11 Q. You’re saying it now because you just found 12 out what the date is, right. 13 A. I never said those were exactly the ones. (Trial transcripts).
The media never covered those discrepancies. All that was said was that the younger brother confirmed that he witnessed his brother being molested and that Jackson had served him and his brother and sister alcohol in and outside of the presence of their mother.
What was the media’s motive to lie or distort the truth? Does the media have a stake in how cases play out and do verdicts truly impact their shows or coverage? Or are the anchors just reporting a slanted view to promote a book they hope to write if the situation plays out the same way as they had hoped? What do they stand to gain from reporting a child abuse trial in the first place? Apparently to many, the Jackson trial was a diversion from what was really going on and when news went slow, it then became a filler to kill time, “I suspect this story will show up across the board, in major news [outlets] as well as entertainment news," Newcomb says. "It'll be a runner. It'll be there when someone wants to fill a news hole." (Baltimore sun.com).
So what did the media make of the 1108 hearing, a process that allowed all the past allegations to come in against Jackson? How does foaming at the mouth sound as far as creating a very literal picture? For any and all hoping to hear from Jordan Chandler himself, they were out of luck but Jason Francia didn’t mind coming. Neither did former Neverland chef, Phillip LeMarque, who claimed to have witnessed Jackson with his hands down Macaulay Culkin’s pants. After some prodding, Jackson’s attorney got LeMarque to state that he intended on selling that story to the media but was told by a broker to ‘spice it up’ and make it more sordid than it was. He testified that he changed the story to him seeing Jackson with his hands down Culkin’s pants. When asked what the original story was, LeMarque stated that he saw Jackson’s hands ‘outside’ of Culkin’s pants; An obvious testimony full of perjury. One would assume that Mesereau didn’t state it because it was so blatant but then again, not too blatant since the media never brought it to light.
In an interview done by myself with Fox correspondents, Aphrodite Jones and Roger Friedman, I was shocked to find out that the media does have a cause to gain from a verdict.
If the reporting is pro-prosecution and the state fails to secure a conviction, it’s less likely that viewers will believe their reports in the future. So one-sided reporting is only done if they absolutely don’t think that the defendant will be acquitted. They said that they truly believe Jackson was not-guilty, especially after what they were seeing and hearing in court, but they were strongly urged to report to the contrary if they wished to sustain their jobs at the network.
Never afraid to mingle with the fans, the media was even daring enough to come to the ranch and hang out with them. Was that a way to offer peace and understanding telling a select few why they were ‘forced’ to report the way they were doing every night on the air? Roger sat next to me in court to see the jury but moved when his seat wasn’t allowing him to see their faces.
The media always tried to comment on the jury’s expression during graphic or endearing testimony. Gavin Arvizo, the child accusing Jackson, was depicted as a god-fearing good child who was corrupted by Jackson and the abuse the singer levied on him. The jury along with most of the gallery seemed to be fooled and even bought the child’s sweet demeanor and soft-spoken testimony. That is, until Jackson’s lawyer went up on cross-examination. In less than thirty minutes, he went from a sweet child to a huffy and puffy teen that was lashing out in court against authority and admitted to being suspended and reprimanded many times by ALL of his teachers. If he stood up to authority in front of everyone, what was his reasoning behind allowing Jackson to molest him? When asked about how he felt about a specific teacher, he replied that everyone disliked that teacher. When asked to clarify, Gavin screamed back his answer and caused former teacher, juror Melissa Heard to shake her head while juror Pauline Coccoz made a face showing her disdain for the child and spent the rest of his testimony glaring at him and the prosecutors seated at their table.
25 Q. What disciplinary problems did you have. 26 A. I would get into fights sometimes at school. 27 Q. Pardon me. 28 A. I would get into fights sometimes at school. 7 Q. Were you ever asked to leave class. 8 A. Yes. 9 Q. Okay. And approximately when did that 10 happen. 11 A. Um, well, a lot of teachers at John 12 Burroughs Middle School, once anyone even talks out 13 of turn, they’ll send you out of class. 14 Q. Well, you got up in class and accused 15 Teacher Geralt of having his balls in his mouth 16 right. 17 A. His balls in his mouth. 18 Q. Yes. 19 A. No, because I was never in one of his 20 classes. 16 Q. You did stand up to Teacher Geralt, right. 17 A. Yes. 18 Q. You confronted him, right 19 A. Yes, after he had brought himself down to my 20 level by doing those things. By not -- see, because 21 I believe teachers are higher than me because I’m 22 just a student. When a teacher does something like 23 that and makes fun of me and tries to say I’m on 24 drugs, he’s no longer the level of a teacher, he’s 25 come down to my level. 26 Q. And you were angry about that, right. 27 A. Um, I felt as if he was -- didn’t deserve 28 respect as a teacher. 1824 21 Q. Who is Mr. Finklestein. 22 A. He was my math teacher. 23 Q. You had problems in that class also, didn’t 24 you. 25 A. I think everyone in his class had a problem 26 with him. 27 Q. Let me just ask about you. Did you have 28 problems in Mr. Finklestein’s class. 1830 1 A. I was “everyone.” 2 Q. Pardon me. (trial transcripts).
With such evidence being shown as just how not guilty Jackson was, by watching the news or reading the papers, the common citizen would not have known all that was omitted and just how greatly they were being duped. So what’s the solution? How do you know who’s telling the truth and who’s reporting the story just as it’s unfolding? Try comparing media reports of a certain situation that is getting heavy media reporting. Are the stories the same? Because if they are, is the same source behind the information or is it coming out from many different avenues? Just like you would when you purchase a car, shop around and compare and contrast different networks and even different anchors and shows. The inconsistencies are always there and from doing that, you can tell who’s biased and who’s not.
While the information age has moved swiftly with no end or limit in sight as far as technology goes, one must be careful when believing full and well everything they’re told. Without a little digging, sometimes the truth is hidden behind some very deceptive agendas and motives. It’s not hard; if you want the truth and feel you deserve the truth, go out and get it. To be even more proactive, send e-mails and phone calls to your local or even national news shows demanding more veracity in media reports. Life is a question in itself full of many choices and decisions, you owe it to yourself to at least not think about or question underlying motives in the news shows, magazines, and newspapers you enjoy reading so much.
Brown, Patricia. MJJF. Everyday. The Justice System.net. February 13th, 2006.
<http://www.mjjforum.com/main/index.php?option=com_static&staticfile=casefiles.php>. Casefact. February 27th, 2006. February 13th, 2006. <http://www.casefact.com/content/view/559/45/>.
CNN-Lisa Marie Presley Jackson Files For Divorce Jan 19th 1996. CNN.
<http://www.cnn.com/US/9601/jacko presley/>. Fischer, Mary. “Was Michael Jackson Framed?” GQ Oct. 1994: no pge number provided.
Folkenflik, David. “Fame, Crime Beget News.” Baltimore Sun. 20 Nov. 2003.
February 13th, 2006 <www.baltimoresun.com/entertainment/music/balto.jackson20nov20,1,7216162.story?coll=bal-music-utility.>
Hughes, Geraldine. Redemption. Virginia: Branch & Vine Publishers, LLC, 2004.
“Larry King Live.” CNN. New York. 24 Nov. 2003.
Pre-trial transcripts. Provided by Santa Maria Courthouse Lewellen Center.
Trial transcripts. Provided by Santa Maria Courthouse Lewellen Center.
Wordnet Search-2.1. Princeton. February 13th 2006.
<http://wordnet.princeton.edu/perl/webwn?s=negligence>. 2005 Trial of Michael Jackson-Wikipedia-The Free Encyclopedia. Wikipedia. February 13th, 2006. <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2005_trial_of_Michael_Jackson>.