Saturday, June 27, 2009

Prosecution and the Media

Robin has posted a couple of posts that got me thinking. Hers were more about celebrities and people who are overly affected by the celebrity culture. Or something like that. And as I wrote my response, I thought of Jackson's cases where he was accused of child molestation, which in turn led to thoughts on prosecution and the media.

When he was accused of child molestation for the second time, I wrote him off. I held my judgement the first time—after all, he was my biggest childhood crush, and despite his eccentricities he seemed like an extremely kind human being, something I really admired as a constantly teased kid—but a second time? Come on. There's only so many times you get to play the I'm a Targeted Celebrity card (that is, once). I do still sometimes wonder why someone so savvy in business matters (at least, during his Thriller days and several years after) would be so incredibly naive (to say the least) to put himself in a position to be questioned after what he went through the first time. But who knows? He was on pain medication and possibly drinking a lot. Maybe he just made a bad judgement call.

The thing is, I've since learned only too well what a determined prosecutor can do with little or no evidence. It's not always like on Law & Order, where Jack McCoy realizes he's wrong and shifts gears in mid-stream, and winds up nabbing the real killer. You'll notice, of course, McCoy never had political ambitions. But many prosecutors do, and they're the ones who just blunder right on, no matter what. The so-called Good Guys aren't always good, and they're not always right, either. In fact, I'm astounded at how often they get it wrong. (But kudos to the Jack McCoys and McCoyettes.) When the media is on their side (as they often are), watch out. I can think of two cases off the top of my head where the prosecution and the media got it wrong. One was that Senator whose girlfriend went missing and was found dead. Everyone I knew was sure he offed her, myself included. It just seemed so obvious. But he didn't. It was just some random attack. The other was the rape case involving Duke students. I was only too willing to believe the media reports of stereotypical racist frat boys out of control. But that turned out not to be true, either. Sometimes the truth is wrapped inside an enigma and then placed inside a lie. Sometimes the truth is anything BUT obvious. 

These days I'm not so quick to judge. I don't know whether MJ did what he was accused of doing. I do know, from personal experience, that people don't trust a person who is too helpful and too kind. I now wonder whether it was his kindness that eventually did him in. 

And that is the only post I will make on the matter. I promise. 


writtenwyrdd said...

While I agree with you in general, there seems to be too much smoke about MJ and kids to think that nothing untoward was taking place. Whether he had inappropriate touching, sex or nothing like that is up for debate; but surely there was something wrong with sleeping alone in the same bed with young boys. Someone needed some psychological counseling at minimum, that's for certain.

You can read the affadavits on and it's really weird reading.

freddie said...

Oh, I'm not saying I believe nothing happened. I'm just saying I'm not so quick to judge nowadays. Just thinking aloud, that's all.

Bevie said...

I've always felt sorry for Michael (and yes, I accepted his media guilt, too). I don't think he was ever allowed to live his own life. He was a tool for his family and everyone else around him to get money.

I think what ultimately did Michael in was his incredible talent, and how it drew leeches which sucked the life out of him.

laughingwolf said...

like they say: don't confuse me with facts, i already know the truth

mj's prob: he was never allowed to grow up :(

Robin S. said...

Hey freddie - the media was THE issue with those two cases you mentioned, in my opinion. The media are a pack or bloodsuckers trying to get the story first, any story, not the truth, but The Story - that will up their ratings.

There are too many media outlets - wayyyyy too many, to simply talk about the actual news and affairs of the day (and I don't mean who fucked whom, I mean political happenings, laws passed, problems in the world - ACTUAL news).

And they're doing it now, in reverse, with Michel Jackson - now choosing to rever the man and worship his work when in reality he hasn't done much of anything since the 80s. And I saw on a 'news shoe' the other night, someone tried to mention that he'd been turning himself physically white, that he'd held his baby out over certain death if he let go...and the other person held up her hand and said, No -let's not do there. Let's not talk bady about the dead." Give me a break.

fairyhedgehog said...

I have no idea what MJ was like because it's all filtered through the news media.

I know my boys often slept in my bed when they were little and not so little. Small children have as much sense of personal space as a basket of puppies. It's possible MJ abused his position and was sexually inappropriate with children, and it's possible he didn't.

All I know is that I feel sorry for him for how the media hounded him and I'm sick at the way they revere him now he's dead when it can't help him.

freddie said...

Yep, Robin, but that's what the media always does. I don't mind when politicians get "investigated" (and I use that word loosely) by the press—as far as I'm concerned, they sign up for it when they get into politics.

But for celebrities I think it's different. They're just trying to entertain us. For celebrities to have to accept the level of intrusion into their personal lives that they do just to work on a TV show or whatever is gross.

Robin S. said...

I see what you mean, freddie. I really do. The only thing is - some people absolutely invite the adulation parts - after all, it's what brings in the bucks - so I have a hard time feeling sorry for them later on when there's a backfire. Other entertainers, loads, are quiet about themselves and stay out of the limelight. I admire that.

Also see what you mean, FH - my girls snuggled up in bed with me loads when they were little, and my youngest still likes it when I rub her head or her back sometimes.
But there's no untoward stuff going on - and no unresolved issues in our household. And I respect their personal space without question, as I'm sure you did with your kids.