Dec 31 2010

Universal Message: A Line Has Just Been Drawn for Human Dignity

Category: Humanitarian,JusticeSeven @ 8:02 am

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A Line Has Just Been Drawn for Human Dignity

The Discovery Channel has provided for many years valuable documentary programming focused primarily on popular science, technology and history. With this backdrop in mind, I find it incredulous that Discovery would exploit the recent death of Michael Jackson to increase their viewership at the expense of the integrity and positive educational track record of their network. The insensitivity and unprofessional tabloid approach that Discovery has decided to pursue is not only hurtful to the future of the network, but is deeply hurtful to the Jackson family, friends, colleagues and millions of supporters throughout the world… Please re-consider airing this dreadful re-enactment. –Statement from Stuart Backerman, Former Press Spokesman for Michael Jackson

L.A. County Coroner Ed Winter joins the criticism of the Discovery Network’s upcoming special reenacting Michael Jackson’s autopsy. Discovery Producers asked him for an interview earlier this year to describe the autopsy: “I told them no, we had no interest in doing it and it was a pending case… I think it’s unprofessional and I wouldn’t do it out of respect for the family.Assistant Chief Coroner, LA

Dear Sir, As a personal friend and previous physician to Michael Jackson for some years, I would like to also add my name to the growing number of people who feel that the special show to air in the UK on January 13th called “Michael Jackson’s Autopsy: What Really Killed Michael Jackson,” is being done for the wrong reasons and transgresses the boundaries of prudence and good taste. Autopsies, either forensic or academic should only be performed for legal or medical purposes, rather than for entertainment. A forensic autopsy should be only performed, as in this case, whenever the cause of death may be a criminal matter and this is the reason you do not intend this production within the US jurisdiction. Your show debases what is accepted decent behaviour within legal and medical practice in western civilisation since possibly two and a half millennia. Forensic autopsies have been performed under established clear regulatory parameters since 150 BC, including that of Julius Caesar in 44BC, which showed the second stab wound was the fatal one. Permission is normally required from next of kin is usually required for autopsy, although in this case you are circumventing this by use of a synthetic cadaver. There is a copy of the official coroner’s report on public record so I don’t presume the viewers will learn anything new from your production. It seems to me that the Discovery Channel is attempting to cash in on the misfortune of mythically famous cultural icon, with no respect either for human decency or the feelings of his children. Shame on you. -Dr. Patrick Treacy, Medical Director , Ailesbury Clinics Ltd., Dublin

Congratulations, Discovery. You just helped the light of human dignity to shine a little brighter. We thank you for your conscious action.

You were about to cross a line of human decency, worth, privacy and respect for life had you gone ahead with your planned re-enactment of Michael Jackson’s autopsy using a realistic synthetic cadaver that approximated his body. Discovery, you have shown courage and decency in the cancellation of the programs you planned to air from January 13, through January 16, 2011 in Europe.

Official statement from the Executors about Discovery’s change of heart:

The Estate of Michael Jackson is pleased that Discovery Channel made the correct decision in choosing to cancel this exploitative program. We are hopeful that this show will never run in any market in the future. While Discovery cited legal proceedings and our request as the reasons for its decision, none of this would have happened had it not been for the incredible passion displayed by countless Michael Jackson fans worldwide who knew they stood as one and that their voices could not be ignored. -John Branca, Executor for Michael Jackson’s estate.

The real question is: How did we arrive here anyway?

We would now ask them to consider what kind of cultural “norm” might have prompted them to think the unthinkable, or plan the unacceptable and we invite them, as well as all other media, to seriously consider examining their policies and what they consider ethical programming standards.

You may be hearing more from us– the crazy ones who stand up for sanity and human dignity. We invite you to stand with us.

Michael Jackson was a human being. He was a father, a brother, and a son. He was also loved by millions around the world.

We believe in the worth and dignity of every human being. Nobody deserves to be treated in a way that dehumanizes them– not in life, and certainly not in death.

This could have ended in a much different way. Now comes a re-examination of standards that inform the cultural narrative on this planet.

Never before in the history of television or media has anyone ever considered featuring the personal autopsy of a recognized human being using a synthetic cadaver to graphically dismember someone who once lived — and is survived by three young children.

Justice and Fairness Derailed?

What distressed us was that this program was cynically planned for deliberate broadcast in Europe so that Michael Jackson’s family and estate would have no legal reach and would be unable to stop the broadcast. It also included across the board screening in multiple countries and that tells us it was being considered for syndication.

But what concerned us most is that Michael Jackson has three minor children and such a program could not escape them. This image in the collective memory which would have found its way into their world had the potential to scar them emotionally. That rendered this program abusive to minor children.

The airing of the program might have obstructed legal justice since it had the potential to reach the minds of the public and prejudice the jury pool in the forthcoming January trial of Dr. Murray, the physician who administered his medication and was treating Michael Jackson when his death occurred.

It is really disheartening to think that media would schedule a program with this kind of content at precisely the time the public would once again become conscious of Michael Jackson, and that they would piggyback on that focus solely for the sake of ratings and bottom line profits. That isn’t journalism; it’s cannibalism.

Does this kind of programming rise to the level of bullying?

We think so. And we believe Michael Jackson’s children would agree. Their father was bullied in life — and now, it seems there are those who want the bullying to continue even beyond death. His children are the ones who suffer. They don’t live in a vacuum and they are affected by inhumane treatment of their father. We are pretty sure they would like to remember him as their beloved father.

His fans, friends and collaborators who know the truth about him — knew a dramatically different man to the one many believe he was. They knew him as a cherished friend, role model and hero.

It’s time to tell the truth and reveal the deliberate manipulation of that truth. It’s time to show you the real Michael Jackson:

Understand that everyone would have become vulnerable.

We cannot imagine that any human being would find this kind of programming in good taste. We wondered: what would stop Discovery or any other media outlet from dismembering and dissecting other beloved figures or celebrities publicly if the program went forward? What if they exhumed Lady Diana? Tim Russert? What if Oprah died tomorrow, or Bono, Helen Mirren, Brittany Spears, or Prince William? We wouldn’t want to see any of them displayed on a slab for profit and before the hungry eyes of invasive voyeurs. We believe we are better than that. And we want the media to believe it too.

The cynical precedent that would have been established with Discovery crossing a line that would have made everyone fair game to exploitation as lab specimens for sensationalism, market share and promoting sponsor’s products.

A Brand has become branded

Discovery Channel was deleted from many cable packages and its sponsors will forever wear a scarlet letter in our eyes, so we would ask that they rethink what kind of programming they support and what constitutes acceptable media narrative.

Discovery’s major sponsors include: Volkswagen, Procter and Gamble, Dow Chemical– as more are revealed and substantiated, we will continue revealing them. It should be noted that viewers’ decisions about boycotting of these brands is suspended pending final word from Discovery about their future plans with this documentary.

Dehumanizing people has consequences

One thing that makes this kind of program possible is when humans dehumanize other humans. When people lack ethics or ignore conscience, human laboratories and other abominations become possible: ethnic cleansing, lynchings, witch burning, human ovens, terrorism and war. So if you think there is no slippery slope, you are wrong. Dead wrong. Our humanity dies when we accept the claim that “anything goes.” Michael Jackson was systematically and falsely vilified over time. His humanity was stolen and our own humanity along with it.

Aren’t we better than this? Aren’t we there yet? Discovery drew this line and we hope they meant it when they drew the other—the line for human dignity. When a line like this is crossed it cannot be ignored, and those who forget the humanity of themselves and others must be called out. This is a global village that we are learning to navigate together. As we learn and go forward, let’s not leave our humanity behind.

We are still at a crossroads in the evolution of a civilization:

Which road will we, humanity take? The high road? Or another road?

If your decision is for human worth, decency, civility and dignity, then:

We are asking that you continue to use your voice when called and to respectfully request a more humane treatment of all humans. And refuse to consume that which reduces people to less than human.

As a consumer, you have power and you can effect change. If you’re offended by something, you can always ask that the offending channel be removed from your cable bundle or have your provider block it. You can write letters and you can stop using the products and companies who sponsor offensive programming.

Then tell the offender what you have done in a letter or email.

When power leads the media toward arrogance, we will remind them of their limitations. When people narrow the truth about Michael, we will remind them of his richness and love. When the media corrupts the people’s minds, we shall cleanse them. -John F. Kennedy and Patrick Treacy (2 great Irishmen)

The truth of why this violation could not ignored still stands:

All previous televised autopsies have been conducted on anonymous cadavers; their faces covered.

  • All bodies dissected were formally donated to Medical Institutes and the donors consented to their remains being used for educational purposes.
  • Michael Jackson did not consent to his remains– virtual or otherwise being used to satisfy anyone’s morbid curiosity or consent to millions viewing his virtual internal organs.
  • The dead remain a part of the living community, to be honored — not used for entertainment.
  • For many, this program would have provoked a horrific unease, anxiety, dread or revulsion. For some it would have resulted in PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.)
  • Even if a cadaver is synthetic, the process of repeatedly associating the name of a recognized person — is a violation of their name and memory.
  • The virtual autopsy of Michael Jackson was a planned publicity stunt designed to exploit inhumane curiosity and had nothing to do with education or fact finding.
  • In the same way burial sites are also considered deeply important, autopsies—even virtual ones, should be conducted in private, not on worldwide television.
  • Our responsibility is to respect those who once lived and whom they have loved — and who love them still.
  • We are not beings isolated within nature; what is done to one of us is done to all.
  • We may not be aware of exactly why this was so wrong, but we know that it is — and we will never feel the same way about Discovery again.
  • There is no respect or inherent value in this type of programming. It disrespects all peoples. It violates the sanctity of family, of life and memories, of everything we hold to be precious about the lives we are given. It violates humanity, the humane, and every sane thinking person.
  • All human cultures recognize the sanctity of human remains and burial and the peaceful non-disturbance of the deceased. This program and the use of a simulated corpse violate those sensibilities and moral codes.
  • This program would have been duplicated and parodied on YouTube, and Discovery would have been culpable and held accountable for any damage in the aftermath.
  • Mr. Jackson’s minor children don’t care about Discovery Channel’s sync-rights or profits. They care about their father.

Lines exist for a reason. Burial sites are sacred. So are human beings. We might want to hold that as self evident. A line was almost crossed. We are glad it was not.

Now, if you want to know the real Michael Jackson… GO HERE

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10 Responses to “Universal Message: A Line Has Just Been Drawn for Human Dignity”

  1. Ellen says:

    When I read that Discovery was postponing the airing of that awful show, tears welled in my eyes and started to pour down my face. I felt such a sense of relief that finally, some honor and respect towards our beloved Michael was being demonstrated. However, at the same time, I still feel wary for the future and will continue to write to the heads of the Discovery Channel to totally cancel forever the airing of such a despicable program. Michael was a messenger of God and spoke only of love and respect for all humankind. He has been shown very little of this same love and respect during his time on this earth, except for his family, close friends and loyal worldwide fans. To me, he is the brightest star and sweetest angel in God’s heaven and I will continue to pray for him and that one day EVERYONE will know who Michael truly was. I love you and miss you every day, sweet Michael. For me you were heaven on earth. Rest in peace.

  2. Jackie says:

    Thanks God And Thanks The FANS!! This line is still here and I hope it will never be crossed!!
    I agree that we need to keep sending messages to Discovery we can’t trust nobody from the medialoids industry!

    I hope very very much that this is a sign to things to come! Amen!!

    This open letter is amazing!! Deborah is amazing!!!
    Thank You for sharing dear seven!

  3. Susan T says:

    Wonderful, powerful article. Thank you, Seven!

    To look at the photo depiction just brings such pain to your heart, especially after you scroll down to see him adoring and being adored by his precious children. If that photo doesn’t the purest, most genuine love then I’m sure I’m on the wrong planet.

    I’ve began to send my “thank you” notes but with a degree of concern. The news says that Discovery has “cancelled” the airing of the program. We can only hope that the passage of time and the proceedings of Dr. Murray’s trial will render this program irrelevant. Although I gave thanks to God for this news, I hold the same sentiment that many others do.

    We must remain vigilant and poised to jump into action at the mere mention by a news service of its possible airing.

    One thing is certain, dear people, love IS truly the most powerful force in the universe.

    I am grateful.

  4. Dialdancer says:

    According to news reports from TMZ and Reuthers the program has been canceled. Actually it has only been postponed. Because they still attempt to disrespect and disregard Michael’s Mother, children and family and pay lip service to the trial I will not stop. I am posting the same or similar on every MJ Site on which I can.

    Not to take away the joy of the moment nor the success but he program has only been postponed.

    I am preparing an email for my cable company requiring that they inform Discovery Channel Network that I will not be resuming any viewing
    of their programs which will include their latest the OWN until they publicly announce that this program is canceled forever. It makes it sound like they are doing this only because of the trial and not because they care of the harm they can do to a family.

    If I do not hear back from my provider within 72 hours than I will call them and keep calling and emailing until they acknowledge the Discovery Network’s receipt of my message. (an email is a permanent record)

    I am requiring my provider to notify me when my message has been received by Discovery. I am making it official. No silliness from either company. The Media omitted to report of us blocking Discovery so we will have to find a way to make sure next time they do.

    I do not want to do this again in 6 month to a year later. In the meantime the air we breath is a little clearer.

  5. melinda says:

    Discovery Channel will be destroyed by the Higher Power !! Karma will come to these scumbags and they will lose everything!

  6. Irina says:

    Hi Seven! I never post here but I’ve been reading for months, I really appreciate your hard work.
    I’m writing to let you know that I saw this http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSTRE6BS3VZ20101231 on my twitter moments ago. I hope it is real, because things went too far and they have/had to be stopped.

    Wishing you and everyone a Happy New Year, a better year, good health and many accomplishments. Peace, Love & Light may be with you all!

  7. Mary Annie says:

    Seven,
    I was thinking who would be able to watch this program? A publicity stunt to exploit inhumane curiosity… You said everything. Unfortunately, our world became a place where its citizens don’t look like human beings and don’t act like human beings. Animals don’t act this way. The world forgot God, Love, Life, everything.
    It’s a shame for me to say to you that I once had a bad and wrong view of Michael. I didn’t know him in 2005, because I was too young. The only thing I knew about Michael was that he danced and grabbed his crotch on stage. And you have to agree with me that when you see Michael off stage, he is different. If you just see him on stage, you cannot know him well. When you don’t know a person it is easier to follow the opinion of the majority. But, thanks to God, I never judged Michael. I simply didn’t pay attention to the case. I remember that I saw some news on television but I didn’t follow the case. I feel so bad because I did not pay attention to his pain. I did not notice how much he was hurt, how much he was suffering and he did not deserve that. I felt so bad and I got very depressed. Thanks to God, I’m better now, because God, Jesus and Virgin Mary filled my heart with peace and hope. I feel happy knowing that Michael is better now and that these crazy people can’t hurt him anymore.

    About this inhumane, insensitive program, the best thing that could happen would be NO RATING. Nobody should watch this sick thing. Discovery could show this program to the wind.
    I do the only thing I feel I’m able to do. I leave it in the hands of God and Virgin Mary, who has already said loud and clearly that by the end of times, the world would forget God, forget the love to Our Lady and live in the most inhumane, sick, impure way. The way it is now.

    Happy new year to you… Never forget God… May Michael rest in peace.

    Mary Annie

  8. Jackie says:

    PERFECT!!!!!

  9. Solar says:

    Brilliant post and title, Seven! A line has absolutely been crossed!

    Discovery needs to understand that what is done to any ONE of us is done to and affects ALL of us, just as what is done by any ONE of their stations is done by and affects ALL of their stations WORLDWIDE…they will ALL be held RESPONSIBLE AND ACCOUNTABLE!

    COWARDS fill their inner emptiness by picking on and bullying easy targets. We witnessed an innocent gentle soul, Michael Jackson, God’s chosen messenger, become and remain the easy target of such EVIL-BASED work at the hands of coward profiteers. But there’s no escaping that on this constantly revolving mortal Earth, what goes around comes around…KARMA! And this the cowards can take to the bank!

    We, Michael Jackson fans and supporters around the world, REFUSE to stand idly by and allow God’s message and his chosen human instrument Michael, destroyed by cowards and greed because by divine law, sooner or later, GOOD OVERCOMES EVIL on this Earth!

    JUSTICE…KARMA will prevail!

  10. SandyK says:

    Well said, Seven!

    If I may, I would like to recommend an article by AllForLove called, “The Discovery Channel and The Cult of Disrespect: One And The Same.” Her article is about the sanctity of life and the western cultures insistance on disrespecting the dead, and by extension, life itself. She gives and excellent historic perspective to this phenomenon. I strongly recommend that all read her beautifully written and relevant article. I’d also like to include this quote from her article:

    “There is a cruel irony in the fact that Michael, who cared so compassionately about the dignity of people like Merrick, is now being subjected to the same type of inhumanity and desensitation.”

    Source:
    http://allforloveblog.com/?p=4896