While Zombies may have stalked him in the Thriller video, bloodthirsty Media Vampires haunted him throughout his career
Who killed Michael Jackson? It’s been more than two years since his tragic death and there is still no conclusive answer. His personal doctor, Conrad Murray is currently being trialed for involuntary manslaughter and it seems as though the majority of the singer’s fans and family hold him responsible. It is believed that his “gross negligence” led to the King of Pop’s death and if convicted he faces four years in prison and the loss of his medical license.
Dr Murray and his defence team have accused Mr Jackson of causing his own death by taking drugs without the permission of his doctor.
There are also those who believe that his death was the result of a sinister conspiracy to rob him of his valuable music publishing portfolio.
However, few have acknowledged the role the media played in ultimately destroying his life.
During the 1980’s Michael Jackson became the world’s biggest star. His album “Thriller” remains the best- selling album of all time with over 100million copies sold worldwide and his innovative style saw him become the most awarded recording artist in the history of music.
However, his unparalleled success came at a heavy price; uncompromising media attention. At first there were false reports about him purchasing the bones of the elephant man and sleeping in a hyperbaric oxygen chamber to slow the aging process. Overtime these stories became increasingly sensationalist in
nature eventually inspiring the nickname “Wacko Jacko”.
He grew weary of fabricated reports and in an interview remarked;
Why not just tell people I’m an alien from Mars. Tell them I eat live chickens and do a voodoo dance at midnight. They’ll believe anything you say, because you’re a reporter.
But if I, Michael Jackson, were to say, “I’m an alien from Mars and I eat live chickens and do a voodoo dance at midnight,” people would say, “Oh, man, that Michael Jackson is nuts. He’s cracked up. You can’t believe a single word that comes out of his mouth.
Nonetheless the propaganda continued and climaxed in 1993 when he was accused of sexually abus- ing 13 year old Jordan Chandler. His love of children was well documented as he had donated millions to children’s charity including the proceeds from his hugely successful “Victory tour” of America and Canada in 1984 and this was used to add credibility to the Media’s biased reports against him.
Before the Police had released any information, the New York times ran the headline “Peter Pan or Pervert” while other media outlets purchased “testimo nies” from former associates.
Among them was Jackson’s former maid Branca Francia who alleged that she “quit in disgust” after catching him in a shower with a child, but did not inform the police. It later emerged that Francia had been fired two years before the case and was seeking revenge on her former employer. Nonetheless she received $20,000 for her story.
His own sister Latoya Jackson sought to benefit from the media’s demand for scandalous allegations claim- ing that she had proof that he was paedophile which she would reveal for $500,000. However in later years, she would retract her statement but the damage had been done and her brother’s public image was irreversibly damaged.
The stress took its toll on the singer who according to his former spokesman was ““barely able to function adequately on an intellectual level”.
His lost weight and became addicted to sedatives and painkillers. His health deteriorated to the point that his legal team decided that he could not cope with a drawn out trial and settled out of court against his will, enabling him to get treatment abroad.
Some news outlets claimed that the settlement was admission of guilt while UK tabloids heartlessly report- ed that he was travelling abroad for cosmetic surgery which would make him unrecognisable on his return.
The Daily Mirror even held a “Spot the Jacko” contest, offering readers a trip to Disney World if they could correctly predict where the entertainer would appear next.
Over the next decade the media would continue to hound Jackson, with stories about his sexuality, marriages and children but in 2002 things escalated once again following British Journalist Martin Bashir’s documentary living with Michael Jackson.
Bashir and his crew were given full access to the King of Pop and his children under the pretence that the documentary would give viewers an honest depiction of the singer. Unfortunately, this was not the case.
The documentary was edited to portray him as an unqualified father and a paedophile principally through interviews with 13 year old Gavin Arvizo who credited Michael with helping him to recover from Cancer.
The Youngster explained that the singer had allowed him to sleep in his bed and Bashir used this as a means to imply that Jackson was engaging in inappropriate behaviour.
The singer soon released a documentary of his own, utilising footage which Bashir had neglected to include whilst also capturing the Journalists hy pocrisy.
While on Camera, he forcibly expressed his disapproval asking what benefit Jackson was getting from this relationship. However off camera he explained that the singer relationship with children “moved him to tears” and praised his caring nature.
Following the release of the documentary, Arvizo’s mother released the following statement:
“The relationship that Michael has with my children is beautiful, loving, father-son and daughter one. To my children and me Michael is part of the family.”
This would not prevent Newspapers across the world from using the docu mentary as evidence of the singer’s sexual interest in children.The Daily Mail used the headline “Why I sleep with little boys” while the Times reported that he had admitted to “coaxing young boys to sleep with him”. Once again the Media’s intense propaganda led to many answering the call for incriminating allegations.
This time, the Arvizo family turned on him and claimed that he had sexually abused Gavin on several occasions eventually leading to another molestation trial.
Although Jackson was proven innocent of 10 separate charges of molestation it had longstanding implications on his health as his former manager Dieter Wiesner explained following his death.
“It broke him. It killed him. He took a long time to die, but it started that night. Previously the drugs were a crutch, but after that they be became a necessity.”
According to numerous sources, the autopsy revealed that he had died due to an “overdose of Propofol (an anaesthetic) along with numerous other sedatives”.
While it can be argued that there were other factors that caused his drug addic- tion, there is no denying the effects the media’s relentless attacks had on him.
It is widely accepted that success and fame inevitably bring about strong media attention but as Reverend Al Sharpton said at Michael Jackson’s memorial service “it was strange what he had to deal with”.
For over two decades, Journalists and Editors destroyed his public image to secure increased profits. So while Dr Murray may have failed to uphold medical standards, let us not forget those who unwaveringly tormented this gentle soul are just as guilty.