Every mainstream media story on the Michael Jackson trial (and any other ongoing story, for that matter) has to at least take into account the possibility that the reader hasn’t been following the arc of the greater story (doesn’t know the ins and outs, can’t tell the players without a program), and so the writer (or editor) has to add in a paragraph or three on the basics of the greater story somewhere in every single report.
Naturally, over time these nutshell versions of the story basics become more and more perfunctory and streamlined, leading to this amazing one-sentence AP summary of almost haiku-like compression:
- Jackson, 46, is accused of molesting a 13-year-old boy in 2003, giving him alcohol and conspiring to hold the boy’s family captive to get them to make a video rebutting a TV documentary in which Jackson said he allowed children to sleep in his bed but that it was innocent.
Wow – try reading that out loud without taking a breath. The “but that it was innocent” (my favorite part) fragment doesn’t even warrant a comma: “no time, gotta finish, running out of breath.”
I wonder how Jackson, his accuser and accuser’s family feel about having almost their entire lives over the last two years boiled down to one breathless sentence, but what a sentence it is!
Next up: naming names, or not.