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Patrick Goldstein and James Rainey
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Michael Jackson conspiracy theories: The media at its tabloid best


There's an inevitable arc to the media's insatiable desire to over-cover a story that sells newspapers, scores website hits or earns big TV ratings. I wish I could say that the press has sunk to new lows in its Michael Jackson frenzy, but you could probably track pretty much the same arc in the media's coverage of the early 1920s Fatty Arbuckle sex scandal or Marilyn Monroe's overdose of pills in the 1960s. To put a new spin on the take of a pioneering media critic: Never underestimate the salaciousness of the American people.

So while the first days of the media's wall-to-wall absorption in All Things Michael were largely respectful, culminating with the wide-eyed coverage of what appeared to be a state funeral, the all-seeing media eye has slowly but surely become more skeptical, more trivialized and more bizarre, with even supposedly respectable network news anchors taking us on ghoulish tours of the dead star's deserted Neverland Ranch. And, of course, all of this comes before the arrival of the autopsy findings, which will surely unleash a torrent of revisionism, with media scolds coming out of the woodwork to admonish Jackson for his self-indulgent lifestyle -- and no doubt admonish the rest of us for somehow aiding and abetting his excesses.

So how low have we sunk already? Here's a few juicy current examples:

1) Michael's loyal sibling LaToya gave a truly outlandish interview to the tawdry News of the World (first question: Did she get paid? If not, why talk to a scuzzy tabloid?) In the interview, she claims that "Michael was murdered," offering the inevitable conspiracy angle by adding, "We don't think just one person was involved. Rather it was a conspiracy of people." This, of course, is great stuff. If the Kennedy assassination had a one bullet theory, soon the Michael Jackson death will have a one syringe theory.

2) An obscure Michael Jackson biographer (meaning a guy no one had ever heard of before last week) bounds forward to claim that Jackson was gay, presenting as evidence two men he says he interviewed who both said they had sex with the singer. The great touch of telling detail is that the biographer -- Ian Halperin -- identifies one source as a waiter (which, of course, is a euphemism for aspiring actor), the other as (surprise!) an aspiring actor named Lawrence, only supplying his first name (even though the spelling is a tad different, could we say Lawrence as in Olivier?).

3) The same biographer surfaces in another story, in which he claims that Joe Jackson, the late singer's notoriously all-controlling stage dad, was trying to get Michael's children to brush up on their performing skills and hit the road, going on a world tour in 2010 as the Jackson 3 -- presumably with a record deal to follow. 

I'll be watching to see who pops up next, wondering who will tempt the always-easy-to-seduce media with some new fanciful fable of Jackson excess or eccentricity. As in all things media, the only operative question is: How low can we go?

Photo: Michael Jackson at the 2006 World Music Awards. Credit: Dave Hogan / Getty Images.

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"In the interview, she claims that "Michael was murdered," offering the inevitable conspiracy angle by adding, "We don't think just one person was involved. Rather it was a conspiracy of people."

Well no duh Sherlock... "CONSPIRACY: a secret agreement between two or more people to perform an unlawful act (Websters).

Wake up Jackson family and watch your starlight dim...

LaToya's outrageous and outlandish comments have me amazed. As Michael's dearest sibling, was she unaware over all these years of his addiction to drugs? And what exactly did she, his dearest sibling, ever do to help him get off those same drugs? Oh that's right, it wasn't Michael's fault. It was everybody else's fault. He was not responsible, and goodness, neither was she. So, let's play the blame game and keep Michael's image pure and blemish-free. He was, after all, an innocent victim.
Speaking of family love, the Jackson family is clearly distraught over the singer's death. They loved Michael. But oh dear, they didn't quite love him enough to pay for his funeral. No, let the taxpayers pay for that. The ones who are struggling to make ends meet and who don't own a music empire.
Quite sad if it weren't so utterly disgusting.


1 I believe latoya's on to the trulth 2 - I hope all the low live scum ,that took advantage of Michael while he was alive ,rot in hell , as for all the slags now trying to get their five minutes of fame off Michael now shame on all of you how can you live with your selves come on stop the madness , let the man rest in peace lol

If there's a quick buck to make then there are no lows, this is one of the most extreme forms of power marketing. The scavengers know no shame and are desperate to make money out of Michael's death, so as long as the news is hot we will be flooded by garbage news.

First, I want to thank the author for this article. It's very unusual for 2-weeks's coverage of MJ to write something about him without claiming he was an addict or paranoic or was emaciated etc. So, you are a brave man.
Second, I still don't get it how people who never met him can state anything about the man in such assured manner? It's still a big question for me and I hope I will never be able to answer it.
Third, I have a request!
Journalists, if you have to write anything about Michael Jackson, but don't know what exactly I would love to read about his charity work. Name all the charity projects he was involved in in chronological order, how much money he gave or raised, who of the celeberities collaborated with him on these matters and so on and so forth. There are 39 charties, as far as I know, and it would probably take 2 or 3 articles, so you will be busy with something. Besides, I hope, this information would be close to truth ...even in your interpretation.

Mexican president Felipe Calderón told publically during the celebration of the Day Against Drugs on Friday 26th June that "it's proven" (he actually said this statement twice), that The King of Pop was killed by drugs, as if he was a well credited source! If La Toya was paid by such a tabloid to tell about conspiracy is irrelevant, the important thing is that both are lines of criminal research by California police. I hope neither of them is right, but investigation has to be completed soon... (B-p)

Looking for a pop culture publication that does more than Michael Jackson coverage these days? Check out!!

Michael Jackson A child abuse victim that triumphed.
Here's what I see looking into the eyes of Michael Jackson

I have been a fan of Michael Jackson's for many years and no matter what
happens I and countless others will remain fans. Here's why.


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