MINDEN, NV (PRWEB) January 13, 2004 — Michael Jackson fans from around the world have expressed outrage at the recent announcement that NBC’s “Today” show has signed Court TV journalist Diane Dimond as an analyst. Dimond joins the “Today” show this week to provide reports pertaining to the Michael Jackson case after signing a contract reportedly worth several million dollars.
In a recent interview, Dimond stated He [Jackson is like Jesus Christ. Ive become the vilified one, because Ive dared to report it. I dont give my opinion. I put things in perspective.” Jackson supporter Ron Sweet contends that “It’s nearly impossible to differentiate Ms. Dimond’s “Hard Copy” tabloid reporting from 10 years ago from her current role as a Court TV news anchor and “Today” analyst. Her slanted and opinionated journalism is riddled with commentary, bias, and innuendo which should be limited to the likes of supermarket tabloids.”
Dimond’s reporting has been a thorn in the side of Jackson fans for more than a decade. Dimond, who spent several years with the now defunct tabloid television show “Hard Copy”, is the anchor of various Court TV programs including “Hollywood At Large.” She is perhaps most famous for being credited with breaking the Michael Jackson child abuse story of 10 years ago while employed as an anchor at Hard Copy.
Sweet, Editor of www.OnlineLegalReview.com and co-host of a Jackson-related radio show, recently wrote an open letter to producers of Court TV and the “Today” show calling for Dimond’s “immediate and mandatory resignation” because of her “inexcusable disregard for objectivity, integrity, and professionalism.” Sweet contends that Dimond has “single handedly made a mockery of a Network (Court TV) that built its reputation based on investigative and factual based reporting.”
The Boycott: “Our members are appalled at the recent hiring of Diane Dimond on the Today Show,” said Perrin Brown, Vice-President of www.MJJForum.com, a Jackson web-based community. Members of the MJJForum Fan Club are organizing a worldwide product ban with 20 other Jackson fan clubs representing over 50,000 Jackson fans and their families. Brown says that the coalition has begun with a letter writing campaign requesting that sponsors pull their ads from the #1 rated morning show for as long as Diane Dimond remains a part of the program. The boycott includes more than two dozen products from manufacturers including Johnson & Johnson, Pillsbury, and Wyeth.
Dimond Hiring: “Diane’s experience and talents will be a tremendous asset to our coverage,” said “Today” Executive Producer Tom Touchet. “Someone really should tell Mr. Touchet that he just hired Diane Dimond, not (ABC’s) Diane Sawyer,” Sweet says. “Dimond’s reporting has a lot less to do with her journalistic skills and more to do with her highly publicized connection with the D.A.” Sweet was perhaps referring to recent reports that questioned the extent of the relationship between Dimond and Santa Barbara District Attorney Thomas Sneddon. “What’s next for the “Today” Show?” Sweet inquired. “Are they going to replace Willard Scott with (National Enquirer Editor) Mike Walker?”
The Gutierrez Factor: Dimond and Hard Copy Producer Stephen Doran were party to a lawsuit Jackson filed in 1997 against journalist Victor Gutierrez. Gutierrez told Dimond he had seen a videotape of Jackson having sex with a young boy. Jackson attorney Zia Modabber stated “He claimed he was shown the tape by the boy’s mother. But the tape never existed. The mother testified that the incident never happened.” Dimond and Doran were later dismissed from the case, in which Jackson won a $2.7 million judgement when Gutierrez failed to produce the alleged videotape. According to Modabber, “They [the jurors wanted to send a message that they were tired of the tabloids telling malicious stories about celebrities for money.” Shortly after the verdict, Gutierrez left the U.S. for his home country of Chile, but has recently told several newspapers that he has signed an exclusive 4 month contract with NBC’s Dateline. NBC Publicist Caryn Mautner refused to confirm or deny the contractual status of either Gutierrez or Dimond on their Network.
Jackson Case Update: Jackson was arrested November 20th and was recently charged by the Santa Barbara D.A. with nine counts of child abuse. The singer was released on $3 million bail and is scheduled to appear in Santa Barbara County Superior Court on January 16th for his arraignment. Last week, Santa Barbara D.A. Tom Sneddon filed a 58 page request for a “gag order” to be placed on all parties directly involved in the case. Jackson attorney Mark Geragos is expected to file his counter-motion opposing the gag order on Monday. Superior Court Judge Rodney S. Melville will hear oral arguments and announce his decision on the gag order later this month.
About NBC’s “Today” Show: NBC News pioneered the morning news program when it launched “Today” over 50 years ago. The three-hour live broadcast provides the latest in domestic and international news, weather reports and interviews with newsmakers from the worlds of politics, business, media, entertainment and sports. The program is unparalleled in its ratings dominance in the morning news arena, serving as America’s overwhelming favorite for more than eight consecutive years. Katie Couric and Matt Lauer are the co-anchors of Today. Ann Curry (news), Al Roker (weather), Gene Shalit (entertainment), and Willard Scott also contribute.
About Court TV: Launched on July 1st, 1991, Courtroom Television Network (“Court TV”) is the network of engaging stories revealed through the people and process of investigation. Within the past five years, Court TV has become a top rated powerhouse cable destination as well as a leader in forensic and investigative programming. Court TV is 50% owned by AOL Time Warner, and 50% owned by Liberty Media Corp. The network is seen in almost 80 million homes. The Court TV web site can be found at www.CourtTV.com.