In the course of ongoing reporting on the Michael Jackson child molestation trial, I have received a steady stream of comments from well-intentioned Jackson supporters who have stated as a matter of fact that the media is highlighting the salacious allegations against the performer as opposed to his defense rebuttals, and skewing coverage of the trial against Jackson in general because "sensationalism sells" and the perception that he is a "freak."
Due to a broadcast media ban on the trial, which I am coming to see more and more as a disservice to ALL involved, only the handful of people actually in the courtroom each day know what really happens in terms of minute to minute ebb and flow, nuance, tone, mood, individual reactions to testimony, and the vocal inflection of that testimony. In other words, all we really know about the trial is what the media tells us, rather than having the ability to follow along and make decisions for ourselves had the trial been televised.
And based upon the headlines and reports on, for example, yesterday's testimony by Macaulay Culkin, one might come to a conclusion opposite to that of my many Jackson-defending commenters about the media's bias in this case.
Note the following headlines:
- Actor Macaulay Culkin comes to Jackson's defense - Reuters
Actor Macaulay Culkin denies being molested by Jackson - AFP
Culkin comes to Jackson's defense - SantaMariaTimes
Culkin: 'He never molested me' - The Santa Barbara News-Press
Mac Backs Michael - E! Online
'We are unique people. He understood me': Culkin defends Jackson - The Independent (UK)
Culkin Describes Bond With Jackson - CBS News
Culkin calls charges against Jackson 'ridiculous' - San Diego Union-Tribune
Jackson abuse rejected by Culkin - BBC
Etc, etc: you get the picture - and all these stories reflect the emphasis of the headlines.
The only one I could find that didn't echo the theme of Culkin defending Jackson and denying molestation was this:
- Child star shared bed with Jackson - The Guardian (UK)
which is a very different emphasis isn't it? If the press was so biased against Jackson, why did they almost universally select the Jackson supporting theme?