Home > Arts > Michael Jackson is Alive! His Story continues in the tragedy of the Media Culture

Michael Jackson is Alive! His Story continues in the tragedy of the Media Culture

The Magic Man

A year has passed since Michael Jackson was pronounced dead last June 25th, but it doesn’t feel like it.  Perhaps it’s because of the release of his documentary film, This is It in October and the subsequent DVD release; or the continuing news stories and interviews with family members; or even the new ads for the Cirque Du Soleil show in 2011 http://promo-www.cirquedusoleil.com/michael-jackson/en/index.html which make it appear as if he’s more active in the media now than ever.  Then again it could simply be because the years before his death were lived so privately simply releasing some new Michael Jackson music compilation package that his actual physical absence doesn’t feel like such a sharp contrast.

After a year though, we can reflect on issues that should resonate even for those that weren’t the biggest MJ fans.  The first is the power of the media.

For most of his late career, Michael Jackson was maltreated, scandalized, turned into a joke and viciously attacked by the media.  Mr. Jackson’s name sold newspapers – his name tied with some off the wall story, sold more.  Yet, this same media that defamed and tried with earnest to destroy the legacy of the legendary artist was the same that with one fell swoop was able to turn him into a glowing superstar once more.  So quick was the media’s turnaround that it should make one wonder where they and their celebrity cohorts were when Mr. Jackson was acquitted of child molestation charges In June 0f 2005.

The second point, and more frightening than the media’s ability to manipulate, is the public’s willingness to be manipulated.  Gangs of people who were quick to call Mr. Jackson a child molesting freak flocked to their TVs to watch the memorial services http://justjared.buzznet.com/2009/07/08/michael-jackson-memorial-service-ratings/ , packed their music stores to make him the number one artist of 2009 http://www.topix.com/forum/who/michael-jackson/TTP8GC0N7ER29ILVS and ran to the theaters to make This Is It the biggest grossing concert film of all time. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/scott-mendelson/this-is-it-becomes-the-wo_b_341575.html

If it’s this easy to sway public opinion on something that was pretty much set in stone, “Michael is Wack Job” – one should begin to question where else these nifty sleight of hand tactics are used.

We See Hear and Say Nothing

In the end I don’t know who has had the last laugh.  On one side there are a fervent group of people who believe Michael Jackson faked his own death and played the media back on itself by redeeming his image http://www.michaeljacksonhoaxforum.com/ , http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g91YGe5ouqs. Conversely, if he truly died then it’s the media, with their ability to change positions as effortlessly as Jackson moonwalked who wins out by effectively pressing delete on years of negative reporting and ultimately portraying themselves as Jackson’s number one fans from day one.

Easier is the question of who doesn’t laugh: the public, who are (knowingly or unknowingly) toyed with in and endless cycle of Good News, Bad News, What to Think, What not Think etc.  Michael Jackson is just a small example of the many facets of news which are fed to us in whatever light the media decides to present it.  Some of these stories are more important than others, but this does not make the Michael Jackson media spin any less instructive and perilous than the 9/11 media spin, the Bush media spin, the Obama media spin and so on.  This chain can only be broken when good people begin to choose for themselves, think for themselves, conclude for themselves.  As one of the lyrics of a Jackson classic states, “look at yourself and make a change.”


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