Saturday, June 26, 2010

20/20's Michael Jackson Broadcast: Slanted and Scripted

Readers, I have a question for you: is the ABC News Show 20/20 supposed to be objective news reporting or is it kind of tabloidy in nature? I mean the show has boasted some of America's most famous (and most respected) news people. Barbara Walters and Chris Wallace for instance. Here's why I ask. Last night I watched the 2-hour piece devoted to Michael Jackson, a year after his death. In my previous blog I wrote about my experiences the day MJ died, and I wrote that he's the greatest entertainer ever. I still stand by all that. But this thing they ran on 20/20 last night was probably the most insulting 2 hours of TV I've ever seen. No way a respectable news outlet could run that. What do I mean? Here's what I mean . . .

The show was done in six segments all devoted to Jackson. I'll tell you about some of the segments in the 2nd hour. The most insulting was when correspondent Cynthia McFadden was interviewing Jackson's 3 former wardrobe people, who also claim to have dressed Jackson for his coffin. Readers, what can I say: they were clearly actors. When recalling Michael, the blatantly fake tears were rolling on all three. At one point, the wardrobe woman said (through quivering lip) that everyday began with her and Jackson "crying and hugging and praying for several, several minutes." Really? Then the show would throw out a question about the way Jackson appeared in public or why he wore pajamas to court, or any other issue that America had with Jackson being weird. McFadden would toss these three wardrobe people softball questions about it, and they would describe how Jackson was really "normal" for wearing lip stick and eye liner, and how he was about being spectacular, and how there was nothing wrong with that, etc, etc. Every question was scripted and every answer was pre-rehearsed to combat questions about Jackson's wild ways. McFadden, not a single follow-up question. She was just like, "oh wow, that sounds so sweet," and "Michael sounds so great," and "America totally has the wrong idea about him." Ahhhhhhh! It was pathetic! The Jackson people were OBVIOUSLY controlling what was being put on TV.

The next segment was meant to combat questions about Jackson's parenting (i.e. the baby dangling incident in Germany and Jackson making his kids wear masks). So 20/20 dragged out some woman who claimed to be his cook, and she carried on about how NORMAL Jackson was at home and how GREAT of a parent he was, and how the public had it all wrong about Jackson and his kids, and on, and on, and on. After that the show went after the production company that was going to put on the THIS IS IT showcase in London. Basically 20/20 was allowing the blame for Jackson's death to be put on the company behind these 50 concerts. They (this A&G company) neglected Jackson's declining health. They pushed him too hard. They were cruel. Jackson was the victim. Jackson was the victim. Then his makeup woman shot down all the talk about his face surgeries and the fact that he had no nose. No, no she claimed, not true. Michael had a nose, he didn't have surgeries, that's all untrue. Come on, please! The show closed with Usher and Justin Beiber talking about how great Jackson was in every way. Look, I know the American public is largely dumb. I get it. I mean, most of you think Sandy Bullock is a great actress, and THE BLINDSIDE was a good movie. But come on. 20/20 can't think the American public is this dumb. Can they? It was like an SNL skit. The person I was watching with was convinced it was a spoof. CONVINCED! I was like, "no, it's 20/20. It's real. I think."

I love Jackson. But wow. This news piece was so slanted and over-the-top from start to finish. I just can't believe that 20/20 would let such an obviously pro-Jackson camp come in and kidnap this show to make Jackson's case as a normal guy to the American public once again. And, as a viewer, you could see that kind of crazy Jackson-family angle painted all over the whole broadcast. For instance, the Jackson family thinks that crying and praying and hugging would be endearing to the American public. I feel like every time they try to make Michael come off as "normal" they make him look even crazier. That 20/20 last night looked like a glimpse into a cult. It was so overdone and melodramatic. Shame on 20/20. In my eyes that show has zero respectability left. It was a phony playact of news.

My question: why can't the Jackson camp just admit what he was? Why all this insane PR mumbo-jumbo all the time? He was a super performer who was not a well-adjusted guy off stage. Period. This whole thing about him not having a childhood and always trying to reclaim it is just a story Jackson made up to cover the fact that he liked to engage with young boys. To justify or mask maybe. Furthermore, I think Jackson wished he was a woman like Princess Diana, and that's what was behind the face surgeries. This whole not wanting to look like his dad angle is crap. Look at pictures of him late in life. He looks like a woman. Literally.

I will tell you what is going to happen. The Jackson family is going to use this 20/20 as a springboard to sue the company who wanted to put on the London shows before Jackson died. It is going to be one last, pathetic attempt by this talentless clan to ride MJ's financial coat tails one more time. I set the figure at 150 million, and predict the charge will be neglect or cruel mistreatment that led to Jackson's death. They will lose. It will be humiliating, and hopefully Joe Jackson and co. will go away, and Michael's music will be the only thing left. I, of course, wish his kids well in the world of reality TV fame. But for now I am sickened by that 20/20 show last night. Don't believe me, click on the link below. It was a tragedy of journalism. OK, no more Michael Jackson blogs.

See the whole show yourself =

Check out MTV's site about Michael Jackson =

Brian Huba

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