Inner Michael » Tabloid Taliban part II

Tabloid Taliban part II

Tabloid, Medialoid and Propaganda

Prime Minster:  “Don’t tell me about the press. I know exactly who reads the papers: The Daily Mirror is read by people who think they run the country, the Guardian is read by people who think they ought to run the country, the Times is ready by people who actually do run the country, the Daily Mail is read by the wives of the people who run the country, the Financial Times is ready by people who own the country, the Morning Star is read by people who think the country ought to be run by another country and the Daily Telegraph is read by people who think it is.

Sir Humphrey: “Prime Minister, what about the people who read the Sun?”

Bernard Wooley: “Sun readers don’t care who runs the country, as long as she’s got big tits.”  
(The Prime Minister at the time was Margaret Thatcher.)

The average person has no idea just how manipulated she is by media and big money. It’s not just the Michael Jackson story although Jackson is a perfect example. While he’s the poster boy for bullying by the press and by a culture looking for someone to wear their collective shadow for them, it’s a much bigger cultural issue.

Tabloid Culture
There is a fan petition that was released that demands the tabloids cease and desist vilifying Michael Jackson. The six months I spent and the several years since working on “Words and Violence” project that addresses bullying in all forms– from the playground to the media taught me about the power and the ethics of those who peddle tabloid trash. They retaliate against those who question or confront them. There are many stories of retaliation and backlash for a celebrity who dares to challenge them. Johnny Carson was one of the first who dared to criticize, on air, the tabloid press. The very next week he found himself the subject of humiliation and salacious stories. There are no scruples in that industry. There is no decency; there are no ethics. You can’t appeal to the goodwill of someone who has no scruples.

Power, yes. Ethics- none. That is the tabloid story. As a matter of fact, if you have anything resembling scruples you need not apply for work with tabloid TV or print publications. Ethics are not only not employed but those who have them are definitely not employed. If you walk into the newsroom of the yellow press with ethics, you will be ridiculed and sent on your way out the door. In one scene in the dark laboratory where tabloid nauseas gurgitation is manufactured, there is banter and laughter about the “E-word” and how so-and-so is at least not infected with the E-word. “E” is for “ethics.”

You can’t reason with people who have no conscience. Not only do they avoid conscience, but they scoff at those who actually have one. The industry will break the weaker ones with any kind of ethics and burn out those who don’t until they are ashes of their former selves and the person they once were. The corruption is so complete and the adrenalin so addictive, and the slide into depravity so insidious as to be unrecognizable. The corrupted begin to look at the world and everyone in it as corrupt and corruptible– for a price.

The anthem of the yellow journalists: “We take people down; that’s what we do” and that’s a direct quote from someone at a tabloid when confronted about a fabricated story about Michael Jackson by a Jackson acquaintance who hung onto his scruples that were not for sale. The “reporter” was trying to get a father whose sons were mentored by Jackson to say something horrible happened to them. He didn’t cave. But someone who doesn’t have such steadfast principles and who struggles to pay the mortgage is offered enough money to pay off the house, may be willing to bend their scruples. And that happened to Jackson over and over. “You’ll do anything for money” isn’t just a lyrical phrase from a whimsical song. It’s the story of Jackson’s life. Lots of people envy fame and wealth. And if they can’t have it for themselves, they try to get as close to it as possible. Many with that ambition got close to Jackson and many took advantage. Those who wanted his “ear” to promote their own agendas were willing to grease the palms of those close around him and many in or near the “inner circle” were paid handsomely to pitch ideas. There were many hands out willing to take a bribe for access to the inner sanctum.

One of the reasons the stories about Jackson’s private life were so prolific was that scores of people around him had no qualms about making money off his name or goodwill. The average person has no idea how the super wealthy and famous are courted by those easily corrupted or those without scruples. When obscene amounts of money are available to pass hands, corruption is inevitable. Those who cave in to temptation must find a way to excuse their sin, so they justify it to themselves by either dehumanizing the betrayed one or in the case of Michael Jackson, piling on assuming a salacious story is already true so one more on the pile won’t do any harm.

Jackson’s life was unequaled and unparalleled by anyone before him or since. The number of people in his life who either took or were looking to take handouts or who wanted to be seen with him and stand in the reflected glory were legion. He was right when he said “Nobody will ever know what it’s like to have to be me.” He even begged Tom Mesereau, the attorney who represented him in 2005, to not sell him out to the highest bidder. There were people with lots of cash to throw around to insure Jackson’s demise. And there was money to be made off his neglected assets as he fought for his life in prison. Mesereau was right; Jackson in prison would have been a death sentence.

The public was so convinced of his guilt because he was a target for tabloid myths and caricature that many to this day do not know the real story of who Michael Jackson was. The myth so permeated the culture that good people assumed it to be true without any examination of their assumptions. And anyone who is now an advocate is subject to suspicion, ridicule or labels of mental illness. The job that was done on this singular character in modern culture was so thorough, that people will still believe the mythology when it is side by side with the truth. It’s the “fire in the theater” and crowd psychology story. Everybody assumes the crowd is in possession of knowledge and so knows what they’re doing and everybody just follows along.

Speaking of fire, there is a public assumption that “where there’s smoke there’s fire” never suspecting that the smoke is manufactured to make it look like there’s a fire because fire! is a more sexy and exciting story than a watery and lukewarm one.  Who is titillated by a lukewarm piece of gossip? That stuff is intended to bypass the intellect and target the emotions. Fear and dread is more effective in getting attention than is hope. Because of the underlying cynical vibe, nobody expects a real champion anymore. And when one comes along they either dismiss them as phony or suspect a hidden (and profitable) agenda. Even priests cannot be trusted in today’s culture.

Who’s buying the tabloids? It’s not “inquiring minds who want to know” it’s voyeuristic minds. It’s people who will use the misfortune of another to elevate themselves in their own eyes. Tabloids are not written for the educated and discriminating reader; they aim for the lowest common denominator and that aim is deliberately below the belt because “sexy” stimulates sexual excitement in the groin area and adrenalin in the kidneys– arousal is the goal— through sex or outrage or fear. The human sex drive is a base instinct and preservation drive and it’s the strongest there is. Sex sells. That why they drape voluptuous women over the latest model of the “sophisticated” automobile or dress them like a dominatrix– to appeal to the baser and male instincts. They target men because it is theorized that men have more money than women, that cars somehow embellish their manhood and they are usually the primary decision makers in a relationship or family.

If you haven’t noticed or thought about it until now, the headline of this piece and the previous one is a tactical headline designed tabloid style. It is intended to get your attention and to shock and titillate. It juxtaposes two things that are not usually found together or combined. That piques interest and curiosity. The headline intimates that that this “art” and its artists– the tabloid journalists, are terrorists. The question is, are they? If you remember back to when you were first introduced to the Taliban, you’ll remember shock and outrage. You will remember a field formerly used for sports became a place for blood sport. You will remember vivid footage of a woman being easily killed by a Taliban leader execution style with a gunshot to the head. Take a moment to remember that feeling. It felt like a personal assault, an affront to humanity. And what is the feeling you have now when you think “Taliban?” It doesn’t shock you anymore because you have been desensitized over time and now expect depravity. Your original gut wrenching disgust has morphed into something else– something hardened. Shocking depravity somehow transmuted into an expectation. The Taliban systematically executed, in the public square, those who infringed on the “rules” of a terrorist and fascist regime. They literally pointed a gun to the head of people and then in an act of depravity, pulled the trigger. Most of us found our sensibilities rattled and our outrage stirred by such senseless and random violence. Some of the victims were women who had violated some unwritten law of conduct foisted on them by men who were little more than barbarians. We were rattled! We were incredulous and we were deeply offended by the devaluing of human life.

And what of the devaluing of human life in headlines? What about the limb-from-limb very public and humiliating dismemberment that celebrity and public figures face on the front pages of newsstands? What about their life? Career? Children? Remember when terrorists publicly beheaded someone and filmed it live then placed it on the Internet? Remember your shock, disgust and outrage? Is it really so different when the weapons is sharpened words instead of sharpened blades? Words maim just as effectively. They cut out little chunks of human flesh, and de-flesh the human being in the same manner as fish is filleted and the guts exposed.

Consider for a moment, is it really so different with words when they are used as weapons to assault both the humans that they portray and the humans that witness the violence done to them? Does a tabloid point a metaphorical and virtual gun to someone’s head execution style? What is the difference between a public execution with a gun and a public execution with word weapons? It’s violence. It’s just as deadly and maybe more so because we are all downwind of the violence. The effects are subtle over time and subliminal. Every exposure desensitizes us more. Soon the photos are not even of human beings. And every time we walk into the drug store, we are assaulted with these dehumanizing headlines on our way to the pharmacy to secure medicine that keeps or cures us from being sick. Does the irony of that escape you? Does it even register that those headlines are sick and depraved? That they are designed to harm someone who is a real flesh-and-blood human?

Would You Like Some Slander with Those Salad Fixings? Vilification with those veggies? Bullying with Those Bananas?
Food is supposed to be nourishment and sustenance for us and our families to keep us healthy, yet in the very place where we buy food for our health, we are forced to go through a checkout line that assaults us from every angle with human depravity. And we have no choice but to walk through the garish gauntlet of this week’s “freaks” hand picked and deliberately chosen to be publicly dismembered in order to sell a magazine built on human depravity for “entertainment.” It’s a blood sport. If we are seduced and purchase one of those “magazines” or “newspapers,” we are supporting an industry that tears people limb from limb for sport and profit. The ones who are on public display, unfortunate enough to be on the cover this week don’t receive any compensation for their “contribution” which isn’t voluntary. It’s stolen from them. Their privacy and dignity are for sale for our viewing pleasure, the tabloids shout at us at the beginning of the checkout line like circus posters advertising a side show featuring this week’s “freak” du jour.

There was a particularly heinous figure in history who took sadistic pleasure in impaling people on stakes and watching them squirm. He in fact, perfected the practice of impaling live people and doing it in a way that extended their lives the longest possible time and took special pleasure in impaling their children also but always above them on the same stake so that the parent could watch the suffering of their children better. He then ordered his meal be served among the impaled and took great pleasure in eating while listening to the screams of the doomed. It’s a true story about “Vlad the Impaler.”  New WMD- Weapons of Mass Destruction

And if you think it’s only celebrities who are featured and vilified or dismembered, remember what happened to Trayvon Martin’s best friend when she testified at George Zimmerman’s trial. Not only was Rachael Jeantel profiled because of her race, her speech, and her class, but she was ridiculed in the media and in social media. She was a child. She is 19 years old and will be a high school senior next year. She was discriminated against and ridiculed for her speech- a speech impediment that includes and overbite and her “Black English” with Haitian overtones as she is the child of immigrants.

Patsy Ramsey was vilified by the press that claimed she killed her own daughter Jonbennet; both parents were hounded and deemed guilty by the press. They have since been exonerated as there is evidence of an intruder’s footprint that can’t be identified. Pasty Ramsey’s cancer recurred from the stress and she died under the umbrella of suspicion because of law enforcement territorial gesturing and poor crime scene investigation methods. Imagine losing a child, finding her body in that way and then being blamed for her death. The “Olympic Park Bomber” Richard Jewell, the prime suspect was later vindicated but not before the press indicted him and found him guilty. He also died an early death. The “Central Park Five” thought guilty of attacking a jogger spent decades in jail as the victims of overzealous detectives and prosecutors and they too were found guilty in the court of public opinion. Decades later they were exonerated and released from prison. New York was ripe for racial profiling and condemnation and attorneys hungry for publicity and detectives using unscrupulous interrogation methods sealed the fate of young men whose youth was stolen by the misconduct of others– in law enforcement and by a hysterical public. The story is now chronicled in a book and movie; it’s an eye-opening testament to out-of-control fear and the irresponsible use of words.

There are outrageous claims and false accusations that seem to come in waves. In the nineties, we saw an upswing of “repressed memory syndrome” that tore apart families and proved later to be a kind of hysteria that hit the therapy community. Another hysteria unleashed in that same community about the same time was the frenzy about the McMartin Preschool Case and the “prolific” incidence of Satanic Ritual Abuse much of which was later debunked as “Satanic Panic.” It took a decade for the McMartins to be exonerated; they were never guilty of any crimes but were victims themselves of a violent public hysteria.

People are wrongly accused all the time. Investigative and interviewing methods are used indiscriminately or incorrectly. That is not to diminish the very real horror of sexual exploitation of children. But not everyone with an interest in children is sexually aroused by them or a perpetrator. Sexual abuse accusations are particularly heinous and effective in smearing someone’s reputation. Used often by jealous and vindictive spouses, the accusation of child sexual abuse is particularly incendiary in headlines and destroys lives and careers. One in ten accusations of child sexual abuse are false accusations.  In the case of Jackson, his “it takes a village” philosophy for child raising and his exploitation of his superstar status to inspire and encourage sick and underprivileged children to enhance their self worth and esteem was turned into something ugly by the media. In the first case, we know that a mentally ill father tried to extort money from Jackson to bankroll his screenwriter ambitions and there is evidence in a taped phone message of his threat to destroy Jackson if he didn’t comply. In the second case, there is evidence of the mother of the child scripting her children to lie in order to extort J.C. Penny for sexual abuse she suffered while their security was confronting her and the children for shoplifting. Were these accusation leveled against anyone else, they would have been investigated and dismissed. In fact, a department of social workers did investigate and clear the star of wrongdoing. Jackson knew he inspired hope in children; he received their gifts and letters. Many either saw him as a father figure or wished he was their father. His lyrics kept kids alive who would otherwise lose all hope.

The world’s poster boy for exploitation for profit, humiliation for entertainment and bloodsport for fun and profit is Michael Joe Jackson. Many continue to believe the myth and whenever it suits someone’s purpose– either to hide their own profit making at his expense or to distract the public from culpability at a trial or from questionable tactics or legal maneuvering, damning stories surface– either rehashed or new revelations with tired methods. It continues even beyond and into the grave. It’s not an indictment of Michael Jackson, but of human nature and its corruptibility in the face of greed. The problem is that when one sells his soul, it cannot be repossessed. The guilt lives forever in the psyche and the tissues of the Judas betrayer. Guilt erodes and it does so from the inside out.

“News and Truth”- they don’t have to tell you
What passes as “news” today is not your Walter Cronkite model.  News does not have to be true. Fox News organization was reported by whisteblowers and subsequently sued for using propaganda about Monsanto and Bovine Growth Hormone in newscasts; they countersued for the right to lie to the public and won. Newscasters do not have to tell the truth because the FCC rules and ethics are “guidelines” and not “laws” and there is no protections for whistleblowers who lose their jobs by refusing to report false information to the public: So, The Media Can Legally Lie to You.

Much of what we are fed by media on a daily basis is planned, methodical and full of subliminal messages that are designed to appeal to instincts rather than reason, intellect or common sense. Some news channels use fear to motivate viewers because it is a base human instinct. And “shock jocks” whether on radio or TV, are adept at riling up their audiences. When fear and emotions run high, people get riled up and the less discriminating listener or viewer just parrots what he or she is fed by a manipulative media. All for money and power. Propaganda is useful for driving instincts to a destination pre-determined by the propagandists.

The daily routine of the average yellow journalist is to sniff out anything that might make for a “good” story and to then sensationalize or embellish or twist the facts just enough to make it appealing and the darker and sexier, the better. Photos of celebrity targets adorn the walls of the “newsroom” so that everybody understands who is the prey. And at the end of the day, the handiwork is reviewed and applauded and toasted over drinks at the favorite pub. Here’s to another profitable story! Here’s to another celebrity scandal! Cheers! The end to a perfect and productive day is when some famous celebrity becomes the target for ridicule or mocking or worse. It’s high fives all around in the pub after work.

It takes a “special” kind of mind and set of values to pull that off day after day. And it becomes easier and easier the longer one stays in the business. It’s a tainted life with gutter values. There is a desensitization process over time. The targets are no longer human to the tabloid arts and artists; they become “celebs” or in the case of the deceased– “delebs” which stands for dead celebrities. It becomes easy for the unscrupulous “reporter” to embellish or incorporate rumor into fact and claim something like “the FBI files contain…” and simply make it up because there is no way to check the validity of unreleased or closed government files or sealed documents. There is no danger of the truth leaking out, so anything passes as truth because there is no way to verify it. And if the tabloids get caught in a lie, they only need print a retraction but they can do it on the last page in a small paragraph and that serves as legal remedy. Those in the industry actually budget for lawsuits knowing that some of their work will draw litigation. But they also know that lawsuits are costly not just in terms of money, but they cost time– time that is precious to the celebrity who needs to work in order to stay relevant and at the top of his game. Hollywood is, after all, a fickle place. It a place where one day you’re the darling and the next day you’re the Darth Vader of something.

Money and Power Can Buy Your Life, Silence, Elections and Your Mind
Who is the biggest purveyor of tabloid trash? Rupert Murdoch and his Newscorp group. When Murdoch came to Britain from Australia, he brought the “dark side” with him. He bought up all the Fleet Street real estate and set up shop churning out salacious stories about public figures. He declared to his staff that they were to capture the royals in particular and would decide for Prince Charles who his bride-to-be should be and who should take the potential throne beside him. They published a magazine asking “What’s Wrong with Diana?” Charles proposed.

Murdoch courted Diana who tried to play the dangerous game of giving the tabloids crumbs while keeping her personal life private. It didn’t work. She was mocked for everything she did. And she did plenty of humanitarian work across the planet. Diana’s pet project was land mines and raising awareness and funds for the removal of land mines because children were losing limbs. They even mocked her for that. She was portrayed by the tabloid media as an emotional hot mess first with suicidal ideations, emotional breakdowns, bulimia, and every kind of emotional meltdown imaginable.

The Princess and the Toads: Lady Diana and the Tabloids

Diana complained bitterly that there were too many people in her marriage besides her husband: the Queen, Camilla, the press, paparazzi, the royal family and the public. Her private life was never private even after she left the royal family. She became the story du jour when she began seeing Dodi Fayed of the family of hotel barons. The press never left her alone. She was hunted and hounded and one night while being chased by paparazzi, her car entered a dark tunnel in Paris and her life ended. The tabloid editors, in a public display of overwhelming guilt, took responsibility for the tragedy.

Editors Admit “We Created the Climate” that killed Diana

Just recently a “new lover” in Diana’s life was “revealed.” Even in death, she cannot rest or avoid being the new titillating story. This just in! This story breaks just as her son and daughter-in-law celebrate the birth of George who would have been her first grandchild. The media, as usual, never miss an opportunity to capitalize on gossip about a public figure– this one a “deleb.”

Sarah Ferguson, Duchess of York, fared much worse in the tabloids. Married to Prince Andrew, Fergie, at first a beloved figure, was a young bride and recent mother when her husband was called away on duty. A young and inexperienced bride and new mother, she missed her husband and left her baby with a nanny to meet briefly with her absent husband. She was immediately labeled a rebellious royal and poor mother. And the assault by the media began. When she gained weight because of the stress she was called abusively “The Duchess of Pork” on the front pages of tabloids. Her marriage too, ended in divorce.

Many in the royal family and in celebrity circles were victims of Rupert Murdoch’s phone hacking scandal:

“Six years. Six years is how long Rupert Murdoch’s shamed London tabloid, News of the World, hacked into the mobile phones of Sarah “Fergie” Ferguson, the much-mocked Duchess of York and mother of two of Queen Elizabeth II’s grandchildren.

The British scandal that began with revelations that Murdoch’s tabloid journalists had hacked into the phones of Prince William and Prince Harry years ago continues to shock, with news today that 144 more hacking victims have joined more than 450 victims who have settled claims with Murdoch’s media empire, News Corp., including payoffs totaling millions in compensation.

Seventeen victims were named and had statements read in court today in London, including actor Christopher Eccleston, singer-songwriter James Blunt, Israeli TV psychic/spoon-bender Uri Geller and actor Hugh Grant, the leading celebrity voice in the ongoing pursuit of illegal tabloid spying on Britain’s royals, celebs, sports stars, journalists and politicians.

According to The Guardian,  which broke the phone-hacking scandal in 2011, the court today heard such phrases as “deeply angry” (Eccleston), “shocked and distressed” (Grant), and “extreme intrusion” (Ferguson) from the statements read by lawyers.

Like other celeb victims of phone-hacking, Grant talked about how the experience led him to distrust friends and family for fear they were leaking to the media. Actor Jude Law, another who settled with News Corp, talked Thursday about the “nightmare” of being illegally hacked in USA Today, describing how he feels “more cynical” now. “It kind of dented my sense of hope in the human spirit,” he told USA TODAY’s Andrea Mandell. “And I’m always a little bit let down by just the appetite we have now to consume utter rubbish in the newspapers and fluff.”  Source: USA Today, Feb 8, 2013

Breaking News- Murdoch Lied
Just recently, it was revealed in a secretly taped conversation, that Rupert Murdoch lied to Parliament and mocked the body of lawmakers for its inquest into his tabloid empire and the hacking scandal. Caught on tape, he wasn’t the least bit remorseful or “humbled” as he claimed during the height of the scandal and his grilling by members of the British governing body over phone hacking and illegal buyoffs of officials and law enforcement in Britain:

Murdoch Headline by HP- tabloid treatment

Reuters Report about Murdoch

Democracy and Freedom Fighters
There are some organizations that are fighting on behalf of people who don’t even know the jeopardy they’re in. Sue Wilson and Free Press work tirelessly to protect the public’s right to the truth on behalf of a public unaware it’s being lied to. Here’s a sample:

“I’ve got good news and bad news. First, the good news. Thanks to you, Rupert Murdoch and the Koch brothers  won’t be getting their hands on the Tribune Company’s newspapers any time  soon.

Following months of public pressure and activism, the Tribune Company  announced last week that instead of selling its eight papers — including the  Chicago Tribune and the Los Angeles Times — it’s going to turn  its newspaper division into a separate publishing company.

[But] a new wave of media consolidation is changing the local TV landscape. Tribune  just announced a plan to buy 20 TV stations, nearly doubling the number it owns.  Newspaper and TV giant Gannett is also buying 20 stations. And the Sinclair  Broadcast Group has devoured more than 80 stations in the last couple of  years.

These deals will erode the diversity of viewpoints and voices heard in local  newscasts across the country. So Free Press is gearing up to go head to  head with these companies. We’re preparing our legal case to oppose  such acquisitions at the Federal Communications Commission and mobilizing people  in the communities that will be hardest hit.” ~Josh Stearns, Free Press (dot) net.

Sue Wilson’s work can be found at Sue Wilson’s Reports.

The Michael Jackson Estate’s Public Position
I received that statement from the Jackson Estate and John Branca’s office that took me back to the 3 months I spent researching tabloid journalism for articles featured at my “Words and Violence” program a project that addresses bullying in its many forms. The compendium of educational information, a work in progress inspired by Lady Diana and Michael Jackson, has grown to more than 600 pages and is due for release of its 3rd edition in August. Voices is a sister website and division of the Compassionate Action Network and the Charter for Compassion.

Bullying may take place on the playgrounds and in the halls of schools around the world but, in reality, it has a much wider spectrum. Bullying begins at home. That doesn’t necessarily mean it is perpetrated by relatives in the homes of kids although it can be; it means that bullying begins at home. So who are the offenders?

Television and the media.

 To review the statement from John Branca et al and the Michael Jackson Estate:
“We know many fans have been upset by recent tabloid stories in the UK about Michael. In his song “Tabloid Junkie” Michael Jackson sings:  Just because you read it in a magazine or see it on a TV screen doesn’t make it factual.

Sadly, we were recently reminded of just how prophetic Michael’s lyrics were when these disgraceful, stale and discredited stories more than two decades old were published making unfounded allegations about Michael and so-called FBI “files.” It should be no surprise that one of the authors of this rehash has a long history of writing tabloid articles about Michael. It also should be noted that he formerly was a top editor at a scandal-ridden British tabloid that folded following revelations that the phones of celebrities, public figures and even a child murder victim were illegally hacked. Even more unseemly was one press account in which the tabloid’s source was identified as a former investigator whose license was revoked and who also has filed for bankruptcy. He isn’t denying that he was paid to tell these falsehoods, but he is boasting about his pornography career. It goes without saying that this callous and brazen disregard shown Michael’s children, family and fans is beyond reprehensible.Responsible journalists who don’t practice checkbook journalism have thoroughly debunked this disgusting story and its unreliable sources. Showbiz411 titled its story:  “ ‘FBI Files’ Are From People Discredited Long Time ago”


CNN called the London tabloid reports a “questionable” rehash while noting that, “A website can enjoy a sharp spike in traffic — which can translate into advertising revenue — with a sensational headline.”
in describing how media can play fast and loose with the truth to drive viewers or readers to their site.

We believe unethical tabloid journalists and publications spreading falsehoods about Michael for their own selfish reasons are best ignored. Sadly, they hide shamelessly behind a legal shield allowing them to smear those who are no longer with us. As readers abandon them and their businesses collapse, they desperately seek attention and publicity. We don’t believe they deserve it, and are confident that discredited articles such as these vanish quickly and are easily forgotten.

Rest assured that Michael’s legacy is his artistic genius. It’s his humanitarian work that touched millions, and his  global messages of peace.  Most important, Michael’s legacy is his enduring love for his children, his family and his fans.”
 – John Branca and John McClain, Co-Executors, The Estate Of Michael Jackson

The Truth is Out There and Though Temporary Lost, It’s On It’s Way Home
This story by Alan Duke appeared at CNN’s website and even cites Diane Dimond saying the story was embellished

Dimond’s previous story in the Daily Beast:

People have asked me what can be done. Being informed is where to begin. Don’t skim this information. Spend some time with it. Get yourself informed about what is going on in the media. We can talk about what to do and how to work on this if you want to. It begins with harnessing the rage for a purpose Then, you get informed. Then you broaden your scope. We can explore how this works and what can be done. Let me know if you’re interested.

Meanwhile, send people to the “Words and Violence” Program at Voices Education Project to learn about Tabloid Journalism- especially the “In Depth Articles” Section and stay tuned for an amazing new 3rd edition. It’s our best work yet.


  1. Lynaire Williams said . . .

    Dear All,
    1993, 2003, 2013. What do those dates have in common? Nothing but the most sickening depravity ever visited on one small man, who just happens to have the most loving heart ever to show up in my lifetime. To all of you who shared these ordeals with Michael through these years, you have my complete admiration. You felt and acknowledged his light so long before even an inkling stirred in my soul. No wonder he loved you so much.

    Posted August 7, 2013 at 11:15 pm | Permalink
  2. Lynaire Williams said . . .

    Oh dear that was a premature click.
    To those of you who have had to take a step back, may I say you have my complete understanding. To those who labour on, you are all Shining Stars. Sitting here in the antipodes, looking out on another winter’s day of glorious sunshine, relatively untouched by greed, avarice and lack of love, there is a knot in my solar plexus the size of a football.

    The sheer enormity and insanity of what has happened and is still happening is filtering through that which the Jackson Family has feared is more than possibly true.

    Michael’s mission is ours. My protests are louder and longer than ever before. Thank you Barbara for keeping INNERMICHAEL alive for us.

    Posted August 7, 2013 at 11:35 pm | Permalink
  3. gertrude said . . .

    I’m interested. I will say I have zero faith in the supermarkets et all who sell the filth giving a hoot about any letters or communiques regarding how offensive we find the product, as long as they are selling it like gangbusters to their consumers. And they are.

    THAT’S who we need to get through to I believe, the consumers of this junk. I’m interested in how we do that. And yes, everyone in my own circle hears what I know about this type of Sleeze-edia. But is this enough?

    Posted August 8, 2013 at 8:54 pm | Permalink
  4. Greet Boete Belgium said . . .

    Thank you Rev. Barbara, it is always so helpful and hopeful to read your posts. I wish more people would read them, but I think most of the general public are not interested and don’t have (make) time to read messages of that extent. What a pity….

    Posted August 10, 2013 at 5:54 pm | Permalink
  5. B. Kaufmann said . . .

    I am learning that people are more engaged than we think they are. I wouldn’t write them off just yet. I am currently presenting at a Democracy Conference in our State Capital and there are lots of people who care a great deal. More about that later.

    Posted August 11, 2013 at 4:21 am | Permalink
  6. Char said . . .

    I’m listening, Barbara.

    Posted August 16, 2013 at 11:54 am | Permalink
  7. Aberjhani said . . .

    The level to which you have amplified and elevated this extremely important dialogue is profoundly inspiring Rev. Kaufmann. Until voices such as yours and those speaking in harmony beside you become known, it’s easy to believe humanity is on a downhill slide from which we are unlikely to ever recover. Reading this series and seeing the exchanges presented here encourages one to believe that hope and possibility have not vanished from the world.


    Posted August 22, 2013 at 3:23 pm | Permalink
  8. B. Kaufmann said . . .

    If the human shadow can be deliberately conscripted and engaged, and then peddled by those well versed and experienced in its dissemination (misguidedly, soullessly and solely for profit) is it not possible, through education and raising consciousness to re-remember the bright shadow as a force that may be equally engaged? That may be as deliberately disseminated for yet another kind of profit– that of constructing a more humane narrative on this planet (your “benevolent-contextualization?”) The human ego and condition carries both potentials.

    Your own work reflects that deliberate choice. Cheers! And thank you.

    That “benevolent contextualization” you speak of is engaged and arises spontaneously every time someone is moved to rush to the aid of another/others when disaster strikes or when human shadow makes an appearance (as in the recent outrage about Syrian alleged use of chemical weapons on children or in the aftermath of the massacre at Newtown.) Jeremy Rifkin says we are hard wired for empathy and the empathic response as a civilization. If that’s true, then we have been effectively indoctrinated (wittingly or not) temporarily to forget our inherent benevolence. Is a paradigm shift as simple as recognizing our mistake and converting a bad habit? It’s worth considering.

    If human shadow can be conscripted and engaged deliberately, then I believe human bright shadow can be similarly recruited for that “balanced contextualizaton” you speak of. I see evidence (as do my readers) of a growing and wearying fatigue in the wake of shadow everywhere and I think people are ready for change and may already be on a trajectory that is as yet unidentified and unnamed and certainly unorganized. Just as a tree can become invisible in the forest, when surrounded by darkness we may forget there is light and that we have and can bring our own supply. I believe bright shadow is our birthright but we must first remember (or be reminded) we have it and that it’s powerful (more powerful in fact than shadow) and that the power of change is inherent in it.

    That may sound simple but “simple” does not assume “easy” and I have witnessed many dedicated to applying solutions as social justice activists slip into WIFS (well informed futility syndrome) and feel overwhelmed by the magnitude of the work that needs to be done. However, I have also seen the tools for change grow exponentially– the Internet and social media, for example. We now have the means to reach critical mass in human consciousness. Innovation and creativity change the world. Books change the world. Art and artists change the world. And now there is the capacity for that change to go viral and around the world in less than a day. If humans can plot “demise,” they can certainly plot “revise.”

    I think the stakes are high, urgent and constitute a high calling for everyone to not just occasional or spontaneous benevolence but immediate and deliberate guerilla-stewardship– a fierce kind of LOVE, if you will. It’s more and more evident that the planet and life depends on our awakening from the trance of too much shadow for far too long, and remembering our ego has a counterpart– the brilliant self, light or bright shadow. The Earth is our starship. There is no spare vehicle waiting if we continue to mismanage this one to extinction.

    I confess that sometimes when I think of the possibilities, I fantasize a call to action similar to the Prime Directive of very wise captain of another starship– Captain Picard on the Starship Enterprise in the Star Trek series: “Warp Speed… and….Engage!”

    Posted August 22, 2013 at 9:53 pm | Permalink
  9. Aberjhani said . . .

    I have no doubt that human bright shadow may be awakened, inhabited, and employed to initiate the “fierce kind of LOVE” so crucial to our survival and evolution as human spiritual beings at this time in history. Mr. Rifkin may very well be correct when he says we are hard-wired for empathy but the suffocating challenge to allowing its expression on a regular basis, I believe, is that so many of those dwelling in shadow believe it to be light—analogous in a way to the allegory of Plato’s cave. That belief just may represent the ultimate triumph (for the moment) of guerrilla decontextualization.

    And, paradoxically, many of those seeking to manifest light shun others doing the same because they are confused by differences in external forms—the various “trappings” in fact that you note in your profile “Story”–– and fail to recognize the sameness of the treasured essence.

    Nevertheless, I also feel certain that something greater than our individual awareness, or lack thereof, is lighting the particles and waves of our stagnant consciousness in ways that are sometimes subtle and sometimes overwhelming. More than 2 decades ago, upon returning to my hometown, I experienced a dream-vision that demonstrated just such an occurrence. At the time, and for years afterwards, I didn’t have a clue what it meant, yet it was so vivid and detailed that it never faded from my memory. Then I found myself living the revelation before I even realized it and was astounded that it happened without any forced input from me. Of course I had to write about it and within the next few months or so plan to see what potential publishers make of it.

    Bright Blessings,

    Posted August 26, 2013 at 3:38 pm | Permalink
  10. B. Kaufmann said . . .


    Plato’s cave is a remarkable illustration for its many metaphors! Interesting that the “reality” in that cave and story was “shadow.” A wise South American Curandero I studied with taught me that shadow has a mirror side and that if one is willing to look shadow in the eye, examine it closely and understand that the light is behind (the mirror) that shadow, one can access that brilliance, understand the purpose of the shadow and assimilate the light. If one can reach through it to grab what is behind it, one will grasp their own mirror of light. It takes a willingness to be self “reflective” and engage with shadow. The practice can be revealing but can bring pain particularly in the beginning before the light dawns. Addiction and acting out shadow is, he taught, a longing for one’s own brilliance gone invisible or missing. That gives me the option of empathy and compassion and still allows me to act within another context for tolerance is not always kind.

    We all have that internal compass that informs us if something is soulful or not. We intuitively know. The body knows. There is a twinge or some kind of internal cue that tells us. If one is asked to make a choice, one only has to ask the body ‘what is more soulful?’ and feel into each potential or choice to glean the information. The body’s intelligence knows. This discernment can be consciously honed. To test it one only has to face 2 choices and ask: is choice A more soulful? Or is choice B more soulful? The body acts differently to truth and health than it does to suffocation and falsehoods. When faced with something, we can examine one side and feel into that circumstance as if it were already true and see what if feels like and what signals the body gives and then try on the opposite scenario.

    I think we are all in Plato’s cave and quite possibly the trance is that we walk around with unexamined assumptions. We don’t examine closely where our beliefs and conclusions come from yet we act from them– indoctrinations, traditions, teachings, religious tenets, leaders, parental philosophies, cautions, educators, media– or other “authority” voices. We all walk around with beliefs that are unproven or aren’t ours. Or we rely on the past to inform the future.

    So many systems have indoctrinated us to forget who we are that we bear little resemblance to our inner divine blueprint. And we don’t often ask our bodies for the truth. Why must it take a tragedy, loss, shattering or spiritual emergency to inform us that we are that essence? Perhaps that is the real service of guerilla decontextualization. To recognize the mirror– that together we are ESSENCE. I do thankfully see signs of that recognition being birthed– an awakening of sorts.

    I embrace the idea of “the Dream” having studied with author and Dream guru Jeremy Taylor and with indigenous and shaman’s “dreams” or “journeys” or “dreamtime.” I love your contextualization of consciousness in particle and wave. I would love to hear of your dream. It sounds oracular and visionary. Can you reveal it or share its bones? Or must we wait for those publishers? I look forward to learning your dream. And I suspect it may be shared by many more than you might think.

    Thank you for brightening this space. Namaste`

    Posted August 28, 2013 at 12:31 am | Permalink
  11. Aberjhani said . . .

    And I thank you Rev. Kaufmann for maintaining this blessed space.

    The dream I referred to was in fact oracular and visionary. Without going into all the details, I will say it involved me and several others engaging in an urban guerrilla fire-fight against shadowy entities/soldiers attempting to take over the city. At one point, my allies and I suddenly float upward and form a line across the city. Upon forming this line, webs of light shoot out from our bodies and form a kind of net over the city. It is what happened next in the dream and what happened years later in my life that made the vision so phenomenal.

    HOWEVER, BECAUSE TODAY IS MICHAEL’S BIRTHDAY: If I may, I would like to share the first dream-vision I had of him which let me know that he was no longer just the immensely talented performer who had grown up the same time as I. He had evolved into a world presence of extraordinary social and spiritual consequence: Many years ago I dreamed that I saw MJ in the form of a constellation of stars in the night sky. As I stared at the beauty of the stars that formed this constellation, they suddenly began to shrink and fell from the sky into an alley. I began spontaneously to pray when I saw Michael Jackson’s glowing human form on the ground.

    After having this dream, I found out the next day that MJ had collapsed on stage (I believe in London) the night before, and had to be taken to a hospital. This event changed my awareness of him in a way that causes my pen to sometimes sing along with his voice. Each time I tell myself I am unlikely to write anything else about him, I end up doing exactly that. What can I say?

    Peace and Blessings,

    Posted August 29, 2013 at 5:39 pm | Permalink
  12. B. Kaufmann said . . .

    I am going to share this further in a new post because of what day this is. We are about to reveal something wonderful in this space today. The finishing touches are in progress as we speak.

    What I will say to you is this: after Michael Jackson’s passing, I wrote a review of the film “This Is It” for a magazine. Someone shared it with a Michael Jackson fan club. The next thing I knew, I was getting emails from all over the world asking me to say more about what I wrote and to speak about him more. I answered each letter personally until they became so many that I couldn’t keep up. That is how Inner Michael was born and grew– quite organically, actually.

    Fans and others began to write to me of their experiences in his passing from this world. Hundreds of very personal letters came from countries all over the world. Those were very tender and personal and I endeavored to answer every one. I sort of became the minister that fans came to and told their stories of grief and surprise. People who either never knew or liked Michael Jackson, or who lost track of him, suddenly began exploring his life and story. Most were stunned by what they discovered of him and all of them were reeling from the magnitude of grief they felt– for a man they never knew, never knew personally and had no connection to their lives.

    I heard from all walks of life, from clergy, business people, doctors, attorneys, teachers, professors, journalists…. name any station in life. And I heard from Hollywood.

    What I quickly recognized was that Mr. Jackson had, with his sudden and globally recognized passing, ignited a spiritual emergency that was both personal and universal in nature. It reminded me of Lady Diana’s passing and how people were grieving this loss around the world. And this spiritual emergency, ignited by a skinny little moonwalker was sweeping the globe. It had triggered existential crises in every person who wrote me. That prompted my own inquiry into who was this man who had people weeping in the streets?

    You might be surprised to know that you are not the only one afflicted and that many of those stories are similar to yours. Or maybe not.

    Posted August 29, 2013 at 6:14 pm | Permalink

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