Inner Michael » Media: Toward hope and a more humane narrative? Part I

Media: Toward hope and a more humane narrative? Part I

Seriously? The media can’t tell the difference between respectful human decency and the first amendment? Between purposeful indignity and deliberately employed honor? Between “news” and exploitation? There is no moral compass to accompany the “statement of ethics” that every media outlet claims to have but rarely exercises?

See: “Ethics Codes” at the bottom of the page (from “Words and Violence” Project Dedicated to Michael Jackson and Lady Diana Spencer.) The “Ethics” section is eye-opening.

The media doesn’t understand the power of words to do harm? Really? The industry depends on words and their power. So do we assume that when stories are invented to sell copy, peddle more papers, get more hits on a website, the media doesn’t see where their morals depart in favor of a cannibalistic business model? They don’t see the specter of actual slavery in the unwilling conscription of celebrities’ ridicule for “entertainment?” And apparently they think: the children of celebrities should be servants of that same bondage?

Celebrities in California, championed by Halle Berry and Jennifer Garner and supported by other actors and famous faces, won a recent victory against the violence and aggression of paparazzi who have no regard for the humanity of their subjects.

One columnist, a journalist who writes about law said: “The most troubling aspect of the law at issue is that it treats First Amendment-protected speech as if it had no constitutional protection at all, and can be treated as if it were solely conduct, and not conduct mixed with speech.”

My response? “When the conduct fits…”

The first amendment was never intended to trump human decency and civility. And privacy is at the forefront of everyone’s mind in the revelations of Edward Snowden and the National Security Administration. Only allow the invasion of others’ privacy if you are willing to have your own privacy invaded.

Hmmmm, I didn’t think so. As Bob Dylan would say, perhaps… “The Times They Are A Changin'”

Perhaps a more humane human narrative is on its way? If words and images begin to have civility, might humanity follow down that same path? A narrative is a story. The human narrative or story on this planet is one of the predominance of violence.

How’s that workin’ for ya?

Time for a change? What’s the antidote to a violent and inhumane narrative? Perhaps compassion? Maybe it’s time to try it on and see…

How’s that workin’ for ya?

The clip is Courtesy of NBC News

Dax Shephard took on this subject in the Huffington Post and not only is the article enlightening, the comments are informative. It seems that most of the public supports the right to privacy for everyone.

Those who use the tired argument “You signed up to be famous, so suck it up.” Or “Stop whining; it’s part of the deal.” Or, “If you’re so worried about exposing your kids leave Hollywood or get another job” are oblivious to their own Schadenfreude or jealousy. It’s the “Tall Poppy Syndrome.” They would not be pleased if they were stalked and exposed because of their God-given-talent, hard work and choice of career. Those are also the ones who carp about the entitlement lifestyle as if someone else is responsible for their own lack of creativity and celebrities should forfeit all their rights. The argument just doesn’t wash and it reveals a deadly sin in the mind of the complainer– envy.

If the envious whose jealousy precludes their humanity  has ever attended a movie, watched TV, read a magazine featuring celebrities, they are hypocrites. You can’t have it both ways. Its cause for celebration how many (via comments) empathize with the dark nature of stalking and paparazzi invasion of privacy.

I admit though, that I wondered how many of the commenters thought the cultural abuse of Michael Jackson was acceptable. I wondered how many thought an autopsy program that carved him up one last time was an acceptable form of entertainment. I was curious how many repeated the cultural meme of “monster” when there was no evidence of his guilt in a trial that was a mockery of justice and racism at its ugliest in a town that prided itself on its “exclusivity” and “sophistication” as ‘Queen of the West Coast’ (read rich ‘whiteness’.) I wondered too, how many of them just repeated the tabloid invented caricature and dark reputation without giving it another thought and certainly without questioning or investigating its truth.

Jackson’s kids were stalked while he was alive and he was mocked for putting them in masks so that the paparazzi and public wouldn’t know them when they were without him and attended a park or children’s entertainment venue in the company of his bodyguards because he certainly couldn’t be with his children. It’s now being recognized how clever that was and what a great father he was. I wondered if any of the people who commented on the side of the celebrities reflected on how Jackson was treated, how his children were stalked and how his daughter attempted suicide because of the media’s treatment of her father’s latest accuser– one of a long string who saw a way to cash in on the Jackson fame, name and fortune. The paparazzi stalked and chased the Jackson children almost causing an accident.

The Jackson children have been fodder for tabloids from the day they were born. Every tabloid and tabloid reporter speculated on whether “those children were really Michael Jackson’s children?” Were they the product of artificial insemination? How could they be his biological children when they had blue/green eyes? (Joseph Jackson has hazel-colored eyes) Were they from Jackson’ sperm or someone else’s? Who talks about these kinds of things? Who thinks it is alright to discuss someone’s sperm publicly on a website or in an article? Has humanity sunk that low? Or was it just Jackson who was under constant attack and ridicule? The facts point to a media bias when it came to all things Jackson.

The “Man Behind the Myth Documentary takes on the question of prejudice directly:

Man Behind the Myth from Walking Moon Studios on Vimeo.

Many of the commenters beneath articles about celebrities introducing the bill to protect their children recalled Lady Diana’s death while being chased by paparazzi. Whether drinking or not, the driver of her car didn’t speed up because of the alcohol, he sped up to avoid the paparazzi. Alcohol was a contributing factor but a reasonable speed might have been maintained without the harassment that Diana had to endure every day of her life.

It seems that lots of people think it’s enough already.

I believe Jackson fans might see the bitter irony in that at the same time they applaud.


  1. Greet Boete Belgium said . . .

    Money rules the world, greed is the norm. I am happy that some media outlets now start to think about not hounding celebrity children and stop chasing for pictures. Coincidently (or not ?) I saw a few minutes of the evening news on our national TV (and I rarely watch TV or news). They said that magazines, especially tabloids, had lost 10% of sales. I was happy. At least it is a start. But now I am afraid that they (tabloids) will come up with even worse behavior, articles and pictures, to be more sensational, in order to try to sell more. I hope people will not fall into that trap and will reject them even more. Let’s wait and see !

    In November a new magazine in Belgium, published a two double page interview with Katherine Jackson. And it was a good one, for a change, with some nice pictures. I never buy stuff like that but somebody gave it to me because she thought I would like to “check” it. I don’t know about the other articles in that same magazine, if they were decent, telling the truth… I can only check on Michael articles, because there I have thousands of hours research on the subject. Maybe I have to send them a letter, congratulating them on this specific article. And I could suggest that there is so much positive to write about Michael, the humanitarian, the artist. Thank you Rev. Barbara for your steadfast continuing support of the truth, and Michael.

    Posted March 1, 2014 at 12:10 pm | Permalink
  2. B. Kaufmann said . . .

    We are not complete victims to this money/greed ruler “norm.” The world is a reflection of human consciousness and what “we” (collectively) value. Reality outside reflects a vectoring of the reality inside. If we truly value generosity and compassion, we must embody it and employ it in our lives with everyone and everything around us. We also have to demand it in the world. That means that when there is an injustice, we are obligated to call it out. But at the same time we are criticizing and calling it out in the world, we must look in the mirror to see what part of that lives in us. (Because it absolutely does.) For example, I must take a good look at where in my own life I am being stingy. (Hint: I may be actually being stingy with myself. If I’m not generous with self, who will be generous with me?)

    Generosity also has to do with how we treat others. Being scathing, name calling and hateful while criticizing others (using our voice) is not helpful because we are actually stirring more hate into the world. Michael Jackson was always generous in his treatment of others and he was never hateful in his criticism. He understood that the wounds inside need more love, not more abuse. It is hypocritical to claim to be a fan and revere Michael’s way of being in the world and then be the opposite of that with other people. Michael always said the world needs more love. He was right. Michael was aware of the laws of the universe and he understood how it works. He knew we could do better so he requested it.

    And here’s the thing: when we find the shadow in self, we don’t then, need to beat ourselves up but understand that there is a wounding inside us that favors and attracts scarcity and selfishness. (The shadow of that is excesses involving money and greed playing out in the world.) We must understand that the antidote is more LOVE. And… this “and” is important: we need to take action for change. We need to use our voice over and over if necessary and until they “get it.” If we are offended by something, we are obligated to speak out. Write a letter, Tweet it, post it, and join an organization or movement to change things because there is power in numbers. Be steadfast, but be professional and as kind as possible. THAT is what you want to stir into the world.

    Posted March 3, 2014 at 7:00 pm | Permalink

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