by Linda Sharp
February 20, 2002
In what can only be described as a one-two punch in the ongoing media battle, Michael Jackson knocked British journalist Martin Bashir’s credibility flat on the mat.
In the past weeks since the airing of what has come to be termed Bashir’s “mock”umentary, the tabloids, chatrooms, newspapers and radio airwaves have become a battle ground. On one side, a mob mentality media whose entire mind set has turned tabloid, on the other a defensive force to be reckoned with: Michael’s friends, family and legendary fan base.
I had stated in an earlier article, written after viewing the Bashir broadcast, that if you were to follow anyone around for eight months with a camera, you could then edit them to look either saint or sinner. (Follow me around for even eight days and you could edit me to look like Mother of the Year or Ozzy Osbourne.) But then add to that some innuendoladen voice overs and it became clear to me Bashir chose to firmly paint Mr. Jackson into the “sinner” camp.
I am happy to report I was right on the money. And said money is what Bashir was after. A sad commentary on our society, but sensationalism wins out over substance in the ratings game. And by offering up a perverted, bastardized version of the King of Pop, so badly maligned in the past, his “documentary” held much more sizzle for the network bidders.
Who needs journalistic integrity when millions of dollars are in the offing?
The “Footage That You Were Never Meant To See” special on FOX shined a much different light on Michael Jackson and exposed Martin Bashir for what he is: a social climbing, twofaced, publicity seeking interviewer whose main skill is ingratiating himself to his victim and talking out of both sides of his mouth. To continue to call him a “journalist” is offensive to those who actually do hold integrity and objectivity to be of paramount importance in covering any story- whether current event or celebrity fluff. Oh, and there is also that pesky little word: TRUTH.
Mr. Bashir seems to have a big problem with telling it.
But then, in watching the interview footage taken by Mr. Jackson’s cameraman, what I have always believed was reinforced. The TRUTH is simply not as interesting as the garbage people make up.
Last evening, Michael Jackson was “exposed” for what he is. A soft spoken, eloquent, thoughtful, caring, philanthropic, loving, nurturing man who would simply like to live his life in peace. Hmmmm, you’re right Mr. Bashir, it doesn’t sound as titillating as “perverted, child molesting, danger-to-himself-and-others, neglectful, paranoid, psychotic megalomaniac”.
Did as many people tune in to Michael’s footage as Martin Bashir’s? Sadly, I doubt it. But then given society’s reality TV appetite for greed, sloth, avarice and sex, it makes sense. They would have most certainly come away hungry and people have a longstanding history of not wanting to be proved wrong.
There were also no headlines this morning revealing the truth about Martin Bashir’s obvious deal-with-the-devil documentary.
That’s ok though. I watched. And I will be happy to be the first journalist to predict that Michael Jackson will go on. He will continue to touch the lives of millions around the world. He will continue to share the creative genius of his music. He will continue to welcome children to his ranch to play. And he will continue to offer compassion and charity to a world that has chosen to do little more than ridicule him for more than a decade.
And as for Mr. Bashir? I predict for him a wonderful career writing stories about three headed aliens, cropcircles and talking hamsters as a “highly respected” tabloid reporter.
I do believe in boxing terms that would be called a TKO.