Sunday , May 22 2022

Jacko Trial: Back to the Bashir Doc

After opening statements in which prosecutor Tom Sneddon characterized Jackson as Jeffrey Dahmer and defense attorney Thomas Mesereau painted a portrait of St Francis of Assisi, the main action has centered around TV reporter Martin Bashir’s documentary Living With Michael Jackson, which aired on ABC in the U.S. three days after it ran in Britain in February of ’03. The jury watched the documentary and heard testimony from Bashir himself yesterday. The investigation that followed the airing of the doc led to the 10-count felony indictment of Jackson for child molestation, plying him with alcohol, and conspiring to abduct the boy and his family.

With Living With Michael Jackson playing such a key role in the trial, let’s go back and look at our coverage of it from when it aired – no wonder Jacko and his minions freaked:

Freak Week, January 31, 2003, Eric Olsen

These days Michael Jackson is much more popular on TV than he is on record. Why? Because the general populace still can’t quite believe what a freak of nature Jackson has become, so he has great oddity appeal, but he hasn’t recorded anything very good since “Black and White” over ten years ago.

As a result, NBC’s Dateline is airing a special on Jackson’s face in two weeks, and now ABC has paid a reported $4-5 million for a documentary on Jackson that it is going to air in a week:

    The documentary, “Living with Michael Jackson,” features “unprecedented and exclusive access to Jackson’s private life,” ABC promised.

    British journalist Martin Bashir spent eight months with Jackson and was with him when Jackson horrified onlookers by dangling his baby from a hotel balcony in Berlin, the network said.

    Jackson is no longer, as he calls himself, the king of pop music. But he has a proven track record as a television draw.

    Some 25.7 million viewers tuned into “Michael Jackson: 30th Anniversary Special” on CBS in November 2001; viewership increased every half-hour for the program, culled from tapes of a Madison Square Garden tribute concert appearance. Previous interviews with Oprah Winfrey and Diane Sawyer also attracted big audiences. [AP]

(singing) “The freaks come out at night, the freaks come out at night.” In Jackson’s case, he has paid a very high price for his great talent: he is one of the strangest people on the planet.

More on Jacko Documentary, February 4, 2003, Eric Olsen

The Michael Jackson doc airing Thursday on ABC debuted last night in the UK. The British tabs have gone wild over this:

    When Bashir asked Jackson about his friendships with children, Jackson said: “I have slept in a bed with many children,” including actor Macaulay Culkin and his brother Kieran. [AP]

But I find this statement much more damning:

    Jackson denied having had any alterations to his face other than two operations on his nose because “it helped me breathe better so I can hit higher notes.”

    “I am telling you the honest truth,” he said. “I didn’t do anything to my face.”

Um, right Michael – your face from, say, 1982, transmogrified of its own accord into the Phantom of the Opera mask that it is today. On top of everything else, Jackson is clearly a pathological liar.

The Inner Life of a Nose Cripple, February 7, 2003, Sydney Smith

There were many telling moments in last night’s Michael Jackson interview on 20/20, both explicit and implicit. But the most telling were these:

1) When his first son was whisked away to the neonatal intensive care unit soon after his birth, Michael’s prayer wasn’t, “Please don’t let my child be sick,” but “Please don’t let me have a sick child.”

2) The portrait hanging on the wall of his Neverland home that portrays Michael as Apollo, wrapped in loin cloth and surrounded by adoring and adorable cherubim.


Jackson: Still in Neverland, February 10, Eric Olsen

Michael Jackson was appalled by the Martin Bashir documentary about him that aired in the UK and US last week. Apparently he feels betrayed by Bashir voicing his concerns for Jackson’s own children, and for other “vulnerable” children who come under Jackson’s sway, in voice-overs for the documentary, where Bashir also accused the 44 year-old of being “obsessed with children.”

Now Jackson is “striking back”:

    Michael Jackson is set to release a video of the journalist who made a controversial TV documentary about the King of Pop, showing the reporter praising Jackson’s skills as a parent.

    A statement released in London on Jackson’s behalf late Sunday by Bell Yard Communications said Bashir was filmed during the making of the documentary.

    “The film shows extraordinary scenes of Martin Bashir praising the way Michael treats children and commenting on how good a father he is,” the statement said.

    “In his film, Bashir says that it was in Berlin that he began to change his mind about Michael’s treatment of his children. Yet, the Jackson footage clearly shows that Bashir was actually continuing to praise Michael’s abilities as a father and Bashir making many statements about how he feels it is a pity that the world is so quick to criticize Michael,” the statement said.

    Jackson’s British-based lawyer said Sunday the video, no more than five minutes long, would be released within 24 hours, Britain’s Press Association reported. [AP]

What Jackson doesn’t get is that we saw his interaction with his own and other children for ourselves – who cares what the documentarian said in voice-overs? It’s all about Michael and always has been: the children are merely props in his grand story. He cares about them only as they relate to him: not “please don’t let my child be damaged,” but “please don’t let me have a damaged child.” Jackson – with his money and fame – may be a boon to the children of the world in the macro, but he is a menace to them in the micro, kind of like Ted Kennedy and women.

I can’t help but wonder where Michael would be without all of his money to shield him: jail or dead I imagine.

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About Eric Olsen

Career media professional and serial entrepreneur Eric Olsen flung himself into the paranormal world in 2012, creating the America's Most Haunted brand and co-authoring the award-winning America's Most Haunted book, published by Berkley/Penguin in Sept, 2014. Olsen is co-host of the nationally syndicated broadcast and Internet radio talk show After Hours AM; his entertaining and informative America's Most Haunted website and social media outlets are must-reads: [email protected],, Pinterest America's Most Haunted. Olsen is also guitarist/singer for popular and wildly eclectic Cleveland cover band The Props.

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