Nov 07 2011

GUILTY: Post Verdict Reflection by Michael Jackson Fans & Advocates

Category: Justice,VideosSeven @ 9:04 pm

Conrad Murray is guilty. He has been remanded to custody with no bail, taken away in handcuffs, finally. Sentencing is November 29th, 2011. It is the 7th day of the month, the 7th week of trial, and GUILTY begins with “G”, the 7th letter of the alphabet. 7•7•7

Post Verdict Reflection by Michael Jackson Fans & Advocates

Today, the jury in the trial of The People v Conrad Murray returned a Guilty verdict.

In a statement sent to media outlets, we expressed our gratitude and appreciation to the jurors who put their lives on hold to serve their community, to DDA David Walgren and DDA Deborah Brazil for the outstanding case they presented, and to the honorable Judge Pastor, who ensured this trial – in the courtroom at least – did not echo the disgrace of 2005 and pander to a selective, hystericized media.

Even though this verdict can never compensate for the profound loss that Michael Jackson and his children – Prince, Paris and Blanket, family, friends and fans have suffered – and will continue to; what it does achieve is this:

It declares publicly, the undeniable truth that Conrad Murray’s actions and inconceivable omissions led directly to the death of a human being. It doesn’t matter whether that human
being was Michael Jackson or anyone else. Michael was a friend, brother, son and a father. He was a person. Yes, an unfeasibly famous one. But still a person.

In reaching this result, the court has recognized that something precious was taken – a life. A life that mattered and will always matter, not least because for so long that life was treated with so little regard and even less basic human decency.

Predictably, of course, now that the verdict has come in, there will be endless debates by media and the usual talking heads about whether it was the right one. Our position is that it is. But we recognise that there are wider questions.

This reflection talks about some of those questions and the implications of this trial.

Most of the public tuning into this trial were presented with a picture of Michael Jackson and the fans, that in reality has very little connection to fact. Michael Jackson was not the demanding, selfish ‘addict’ he was typically painted as by many in the media, and most of the fans were certainly not all dressing up in front of the courthouse as a small minority chose to. [Note: Most of the fans at the courthouse were actually not doing this either].

The truth, however, is rather different.

Most Michael Jackson fans are ordinary citizens with ordinary concerns and aspirations. Just like you; we have kids at college, are paying off mortgages, working in jobs we either love or tolerate, are studying for a better life – and just trying to live our lives the best way we can. The only difference between us and those who saw this trial as just another high profile ‘tragic tale’ – is that for us this trial was personal.

Personal, because for decades we have supported and loved Michael for the human being that he was. This was never about how great a performer he was, or how many records he sold or broke. This much delayed trial was about trying to get justice – albeit limited, for Michael, his family, and us – the fans.

This has now been achieved.

But what we also clearly saw in this trial, was the same disturbing distortion we witnessed in 1993, in the years in between, in 2003/5 – and since. Billed as the trial of the century by some, or at least in the running, it was Michael Jackson’s celebrity that stoked the interest of worldwide media in this case and underpinned their attempts to turn the trial of Conrad Murray into the second trial of Michael Jackson.

Whether or not that media accurately reflected or influence the opinions of ordinary people around the world cannot be calculated, but it is certainly no stretch to state it reflected and influenced some of it. The media’s unique role in directing the tone and content of national and international conversation about this trial, evidently reflected the relationship that existed – and still exists, between Michael Jackson and the media.

For over 40 years, approximately the same time he was thrust onto the world stage as a child star, Michael has occupied a complex place in world culture. Evolving from an adored child of America to powerful advocate for those he felt were overlooked and in need – Michael consistently used his profile and resources to help others.

Before any other modern celebrity and to an extent that hasn’t been equalled since, far from being the narcissist he was routinely painted as, Michael Jackson’s endorsement of organizations such as: – Make A Wish, the United Negro College Fund, his fundraising efforts for the Horn of Africa famine relief, his work in collecting funds to vaccinate over 5000 children in developing countries against childhood diseases, assisting the ‘Pajama project’ in providing books, toys and pajamas to children – not to mention Michael’s own organization’s Heal The World Foundation, work in Sarajevo, drug and alcohol abuse education in the USA, and work in raising funds for paedriatric AIDS research; Michael Jackson’s lasting and indisputable commitment to the alleviation of global suffering of our some of most vulnerable social groups stands as a peerless achievement.

Yet none of these achievements were mentioned in the day to day coverage by the media during this trial. With something exceeding glee, the public were blanketed 24/7 to re-cycled images and audio of a man at a critically life-threatening point in his life. Media coverage during the trial invariably misinformed American audiences with the opinions of invested tabloid reporters, miscellaneous talking heads, past employees, those who were once Michael’s friends (but no longer) – and more rarely actual friends.

The question of direct and immediate causality for Michael’s death was clearly answered by the court – but there is a wider one. Media focus during the trial understandably centered on Conrad Murray and Michael Jackson, but whose lens were we viewing that focus through? Whose voices were we hearing, reading and watching?

As renowned author, scholar and music critic Joseph Vogel in a recent seminal article ‘Am I the Beast You Visualized? The Cultural Abuse of Michael Jackson,’ pointedly wrote:

“We have heard the point made over and over these past few weeks: It is not Michael Jackson currently on trial; it is Dr. Conrad Murray. But, of course, we know the reality. This is the ‘Michael Jackson Death Trial’ . He is, as he always was, the main event, the tantalizing spectacle. It is Michael Jackson who is under the microscope as we pry, one more time, through his home, his medical records, his body.”

In the run-up to the trial of Conrad Murray, the media didn’t even attempt to deny the sensationalist nature of their interest. After the payload of 2005, this trial was, after all – the next best thing. In July of this year, respected journalist and media critic, Tim Rutten heavily criticized the increasing tabloid directionalism most networks and press outlets now unashamedly promote as valid news.

In his article ‘The Threat of Nancy Grace’, Rutten asked:

“Why does HLN, a sister channel of CNN, give Grace this sort of abusive license? The answer is simple: Ever since it abandoned its straightforward news cycle some years ago, the one-time Headline News has struggled to find an audience — and, of course, revenue. An unremitting focus on sensational criminal cases — most of them involving missing or dead white women or children — with Grace’s snarl at the center of the coverage has provided that audience. HLN’s saturation coverage of the Anthony trial doubled its daytime ratings and nearly tripled its share of the lucrative prime-time audience.”

Rutten also quoted Scott Safon’s on-record comments to the New York Times earlier this year when Safon – executive Vice President for CNN Worldwide and the man responsible for managing the domestic US television network HLN – said: “I want to replicate this [Anthony trial coverage] when the Conrad Murray trial starts.”

Rutten’s closing question in the same article, leaves no doubts as to his thoughts about the above statement by Safon: “Is Turner Broadcasting’s abuse of its power as a news organization through the biased coverage of criminal trials really any less a betrayal of public trust than the Murdoch tabloid scandal now underway in Britain? ”

Good question. Is it?

British media commentator and academic, Professor Brian Cathcart, who teaches Journalism at Kingston University, London, and founded the highly successful Hacked Off Campaign – an organization launched in the wake of the still on-going hacking scandal that continues to rock Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp organization on both sides of the pond – recently wrote damningly about the behavior of the UK’s Daily Mail newspaper in its coverage of British Actor, Hugh Grant.

In his article, ‘The Mail and Hugh Grant: flagrant intimidation’, Cathcart described how Grant, rehabilitated and now [pretty excellent, actually] media ethics activist, had been subjected to intrusive and personalized targeting by the Daily Mail, as a direct result of Grant’s public denouncements against media overstepping of individual’s Privacy rights and illegal trading in confidential information by specific outlets.

Cathcart wrote: “The Mail’s great broadside against Grant has nothing to do with morality and nothing to do with the perils of fatherhood outside wedlock. It is simply an act of intimidation. The actor has been a prominent critic of privacy intrusion by the press and the Mail has chosen to make an example of him.”

It is saying to any prominent person who challenges the press: if you speak out, this is what we will do to you. One of the most vivid insights into the culture of the old News of the World was a conversation from 2002 that happily was recorded for posterity. “That is what we do,” a news editor told a reporter, “we go out and destroy other people’s lives.”

The Mail plays the same game, and its technique in this case is willful distortion. Take three facts and from those facts derive a dozen assumptions, all of which fit your agenda. From those assumptions weave a narrative as demeaning as can be contrived, and then pile the outrage on top. Never mind that the same three facts could provide the foundation of five entirely different narratives, leading to entirely different perspectives on those involved.

This is horrifying and it is happening. Now.

Many public figures, those that dare to put their heads above the parapet to address what Cathcart calls the Daily Mail’s desperation “to blunt the message that the unregulated mass-circulation press – the press that gave us hacking, the McCann case, the Christopher Jefferies case and so many others – is a threat to the health of our society,” are now finding themselves subjected to similar invasive ’stories’ by certain outlets in the British press.

Tellingly, the reason why the hacking scandal grabbed then pummelled international headlines was because the now defunct News of the World newspaper didn’t limit its criminality to British Princes, celebrities and politicians. It went much further.

Nick Davies – the phenomenal, British, newspaper journalist at the Guardian newspaper, who had been tracking and reporting the evidence against the News of the World for over 4 years prior to the Milly Dowler breakthrough story – broke that shocking story to the world on July 4, 2011. Davies’s story revealed, harrowingly, how missing schoolgirl Milly’s Dowler’s family – desperately waiting for news of Milly – had thought she was still alive when the previously full in-box of voicemails on Milly’s mobile was suddenly able to receive voicemails.

Naturally, Milly’s family assumed Milly was deleting the old voicemails. Their hope and their joy was to be shortlived however. As it turned out, the person deleting voicemails left for Milly was Glenn Mulcaire, a private investigator employed, until very recently, by yet-to-be-determined, senior staff at the News of the World. The reason? To obtain the inside scoop on the Milly Dowler ‘story’ in order to publish and sell newspapers.

The British public were disgusted. One, because the abuse of Milly Dowler and her family’s privacy is, and will remain, a universally agreed low for journalism, but also, secondly, because they perceived it as involving an ‘ordinary person.’ One of them. This distinction between what is considered appropriate journalistic ethics in relation to an ‘ordinary’ individual or a ‘celebrity/public’ individual was made time and time again by commentators in, and by the media, over the weeks and months that followed the Milly Dowler story.

The truth, of course, is simpler. When it comes to damaging, false, explicit or any other serious matter; the things that hurt someone who is famous will equally hurt someone who is not. In fact, the fall-out is often more acute when the person (s) concerned is famous. If a person is considered too privileged or ‘lucky,’ the world will turn on their ‘missteps’ quicker than you can say Tiger Woods.

The distinction between the rights and wrongs of press intrusion into so-called ‘private’ and ‘public’ individuals is a baseless one. Apart from clearly stated instances of public interest, there is no justification for the kind of gross overstepping of media ethics the News of the World – and others – engaged in, and perhaps still do.

None of the above was news to Fleet Street – or Michael Jackson fans.

For years, we have watched helplessly while Michael was slowly dismembered and misrepresented by inflated, inaccurate incendiary stories that had no basis in fact. Word by word, headline by headline, the pressure on one human being was intolerable. Michael wrote about it, sang about it, talked about it. But no-one was listening. No-one but those close to him and us, the fans.

The reason Michael Jackson was treated this way? As always, the bottom line – money. Careers were made, air-time was filled, TV shows shlocked viewers and copy was sold. The reality is; that with few exceptions, if one looks at the media’s coverage over the past twenty plus years of not only the legal challenges Michael faced during his life but also typical news stories, there are relatively few examples of any serious attempt to inform and neutrally cover Michael’s life.

In death, it was no different.

Across-the-board media bombarded the public with stories from opportunists eager for their 15 minutes of fame. From would-be ‘I’m-the’real’daddy’ contenders, to ‘here-buy-my-book/DVD/tapes,’ to Maureen Orth on June 26, 2011, unbelievably telling then host at MSNBC’s Morning Joe program, Matt Lauer, that “I think this ending is great for Michael”, and “He would have wanted to go out this way,” to ‘exclusives’ from everyone and anyone that ever set eyes on Michael Jackson; the queue around the block for face-time by these characters was unprecedented, and inevitably – paid for by media outlets.

During Conrad Murray’s trial, in a million bars and workplaces around the world, from sofas and news-stands, advert screens at Times Square, New York and Piccadilly Circus, London – Michael’s life and death was autopsied by the very people that in an authentic, larger understanding of cause and effect played a critical role in exacerbating the context that would eventually bring June 25, 2009 into being.

This trial was yet another opportunity for the media to continue making money at the expense of Michael’s character – and the truth. For weeks we have watched and listened while the media ignored the clear facts of Michael Jackson’s autopsy and toxicology reports and the reality that he died from acute propofol intoxication, preferring to speculate about issues unrelated to the crucial events of June 25, 2009.

On a daily basis and almost uniformly, sweeping, assumptive judgements were made about Michael Jackson’s life and character by large sections of the media in order to draw eyeballs, ratings and clicks to their outlets. As a result, they painted a picture of Michael Jackson far removed from the reality of a man, in fact, being inadequately treated by the doctor paid to care for him.

It is a well documented fact, corroborated by numerous statements by both Michael Jackson and those who knew or treated him over the years, that Michael suffered from the nightmare of insomnia. It is also a fact that Conrad Murray’s choice to ignore rudimentary safety procedures when administering a demonstrably inappropriate drug to treat that condition led directly to Michael’s death.

While most of the media or independent commentators did not focus on these facts, there were exceptions. Beth Karas, Anthony McCartney, Linda Deutsch and the Associated Press, Law Med, Dr Barry Friedberg, Sky’s Michael McParland, Michael C. Barnes, Dr Patrick Treacy, Matt Semino, Thomas Mesereau, and those of Michael’s friends who spoke up for him – voices that avoided easy soundbites and paid attention to the facts Michael Jackson’s toxicology and autopsy reports established.

Mostly, however, lowest common denominators like TMZ, Harvey Levin, Bill Handel, Dr Drew, legal anachronism Brian Oxman, and the UK’s Kelvin Mackenzie and The Daily Mail chose to either deliberately or simply incompetently disregard those facts.

The misreporting of the circumstances surrounding Michael’s death began just hours after he died. Willful ignorance of the facts was typified by a story in Britain’s Sun newspaper on June 29, 2009, which quoted extensively from a fake autopsy report. The content of this bogus report was then replicated all over the world.

As well as referring to a “network of scars” on Michael’s face, which turned out not to exist, the Sun’s story spoke of a chest “wound” supposedly caused by recent skin cancer surgery. The Sun further claimed that the bridge of Michael’s nose had “vanished,” his nose had “caved in” on one side, and that he had cuts on his back and puncture marks all over his body. Each and every one of these claims would prove to be false.

In fact Coroner Dr. Christopher Rogers, testifying for the prosecution in Murray’s trial stated that Michael Jackson was “healthier than the average person his age.”

The toxicology report established that there was no Demerol in Michael Jackson’s system when he died. In addition, no evidence of Demerol withdrawal was feasibly proven by the defense at this trial. Yet this red herring was continually offered up as mitigation for Murray’s criminality by many in the media for one reason: generating controversial content in order to drive up ratings.

For years Michael Jackson said he had Vitiligo. An inhibitive and exposing condition for anyone – but even more so for a black man whose life was lived so publicly – how painful must it have been to be continually accused of ‘hating’ his own race when in fact the truth was anything but?

That Michael Jackson had the condition of vitiligo was established as a matter of record by the autopsy report of June 26, 2009.

With this verdict we hope that people around the world take a long, hard look at those responsible for informing them with accurate facts – and further, asks serious questions about the growing trend in high profile trials for lawyers to use PR teams to feed deliberately distracting stories to waiting outlets while juries have yet to be chosen.

We would like to be clear:

We welcome this verdict and applaud those who fought for it and awarded it; but it is not the whole story of how we arrived here.

Somewhere along the way that basic human right we all share – the right to be treated with dignity and decency and recognized as a thinking, feeling individual – was taken away from Michael Jackson. And while it was happening the only people raising the alarm were Michael’s family and friends and us – the fans.

In 1993, widespread checkbook-journalism incentivized a parade of disgruntled ex-employees and other dubious ‘sources’ selling their ‘eye-witness’ accounts on prime time.

In the subsequent trial of 2005, all of these ‘sources’ would prove to be utterly without credibility.

Over the next 18 years a coterie of singularly one-sided media commentators – namely Diane Dimond, Maureen Orth, Nancy Grace, Gloria Allred, Joy Behar, Bill O’Reilly and the rest – were given carte blanche to say and write whatever they wanted to about Michael Jackson without attention to fact or journalist ethics. The result? An industry that should – and did – know better, gave credence to the patently extortionate claims of 1993 and the maliciously motivated charges of 2003/5.

After Michael’s death those who actually knew him came forward to reveal the truth of who Michael Jackson was and who he had been all along. During the trial, America and the world heard for itself in an illicit recording made by Conrad Murray, the slurred but humanitarian intentions of a man who even in his lowest moment was thinking of others and what he could do to help them.

In the rush by many to diminish an exceptional man’s legacy and a lifetime spent giving, the secondary issue in this trial – the agony of long-term insomnia – has been forgotten. Michael Jackson died because of the profoundly egregious actions and inaction of Conrad Murray on June 25, 2009; but what about what was done to him for decades before?

Could any of us have lived Michael’s childhood, dealt with the competing demands of uber fame and the longing for normalcy, empathized on such a core level with children in need – while yet being so reviled, used and betrayed? Could any of us have stood it? Or would we too have been confused, frightened and in need of help? Is it any wonder that Michael Jackson suffered from insomnia?

Yet amid the frenzied speculation the one question no-one is asking is: Why?

It seems a media that was content to conscript public opinion and so effectively hystericize it to act as judge and jury when Jackson was being turned into an object of worldwide derision, is now reluctant to turn that same spotlight on itself. Where is the frank self-examination of that behavior? Behavior, which – if those who participated in it are honest – know was little more than legitimized abuse by an industry that refuses all attempts to regulate itself.

During this trial an implausible defense team overtly banking on the nearly 20 years of ignorance and embedded misinformation that many still believe about a proven, innocent man, asked America and opinion around the world to swallow the premise that Michael Jackson would actually pay a man to inadequately monitor him and provide a less than 25% chance that he would wake up and see his children again.

Thankfully, 12 men and women saw through this absurdity and handed down a verdict that reflected the facts and evidence presented by an outstanding prosecution team.

Meanwhile the one question the media is still refusing to ask; what brought a man who gave so much joy, art, and selfless example, to a place where his best-case scenario was nightly oblivion – remains unanswered and unexplored? Predictably, the echo chamber continues to rattle with the wrong questions, the prurient questions. The ones that go underneath a picture of a dead, naked man on a gurney.

Is Conrad Murray the cause of Michael Jackson’s death on June 25, 2009? Undeniably, and now legally, yes. But let us not forget what came before and those who share collusive responsibility for that.

~

What the world needs to read and watch:

Journalist Charles Thomson: One of the Most Shameful Episodes in Journalistic History

Joseph Vogel, author of  ‘Man in the Music: The Creative Life and work of Michael Jackson

Man Behind the Myth by Walking Moon Studios.

_ _ _

NOTE: By way of credit, readers should know I did not write this post-verdict reflection. I can’t say who did but rest assured the writer(s) are very loyal MJ fans and advocates who spent considerable time putting this beautiful article together in response to the verdict.

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Oct 03 2011

Some thoughts on the first week of the Conrad Murray trial

Category: Justice,Photos,VideosSeven @ 12:09 am

Hmm . . .

Hmm . . .

I have a few thoughts to share about the first week of the Conrad Murray trial. There has been not one day of this trial thus far that didn’t feature something shocking, heartbreaking, or just plain disgusting. I am not going to give a detailed analysis of each witness but rather just share some thoughts about various aspects of the week’s proceedings.

If you want a detailed and well-done transcription of each day’s proceedings and each witness’s answers to examination by the prosecution and cross-examination by the defense, you can find those at MJJ Community.

Keep in mind that the prosecution will present their witnesses first, subject to cross-examination by the defense. Later in the trial, the defense will present their own witnesses subject to cross-examination by the prosecution. A partial list of witnesses the prosecution may to call to testify (or have called since we’ve gone through day 4 of the trial at this point) follows below. Witnesses who have already testified may be re-called to testify further during the trial.

I say ‘partial list‘ because the name “Bob Johnson” is not on this list. He was called on Day 3 (Thursday). Bob Johnson is Director of Regulatory Affairs Clinical Research and Quality Assurance at Nonin Medical. He was called to discuss various models of pulse and blood oxygen monitoring equipment. Also, “Kathy Jorrie” is not on this list. She testified on Day 2 (Wednesday). Kathy Jorrie is a lawyer with Luce, Forward, Hamilton, Scripps and is in charge of their LA office. She was contracted by AEG to draft a contract for services involving Conrad Murray and MJ. She began drafting contract in May-June timeframe after being contacted by Tim Wooley of AEG. That contract was never signed by Michael or AEG.

1. Kenneth “Kenny” Ortega – Director/choreographer who was helping to direct Jackson’s upcoming “This Is It” world tour

2. Paul Gongaware – AEG Live CEO

3. Michael Williams – Michael Jackson’s Personal Assistant

4. Faheem Muhammad – Head of Michael Jackson’s security detail

5. Alberto Alvarez – Michael Jackson’s director of logistics

6. Kai Chase – Michael Jackson’s personal chef

7. Richard Senneff – Los Angeles fire fighter/paramedic

8. Martin Blount – Los Angeles fire fighter/paramedic

9. Harry Daliwal – Regional retail sales manager with AT&T, retrieved text
messages from Murray’s phone

10. Jeff Strohn – Records custodian for Sprint/Nextel

11. Dr. Richelle Cooper – Physician who was working at the UCLA Medical
Center emergency room the day Michael Jackson was brought in

12. Dr. Thao Nguyen – Cardiology fellow at UCLA, she was present in the
emergency room when Jackson was brought in

13. Dan Myers – Senior Homicide Detective with the LAPD

14. Sade Anding – Houston cocktail waitress who dated Conrad Murray, she
was on the phone with Murray when Michael Jackson went into distress

15. Bridgette Morgan – Friend of Conrad Murray, she called him 30 minutes
before Jackson went into distress

16. Nicole Alvarez – Actress and ex-girlfriend of Conrad Murray, with whom
he had a child in April 2009

17. Elissa Fleak – Investigator for the Los Angeles County Coroner

18. Stephen Marx – DEA computer forensics examiner

19. Tim Lopez – Pharmacist, testified Conrad Murray purchased several drugs including propofol

20. Jaime Lintemoot – Senior Criminalist for the Los Angeles County Coroner

21. Orlando Martinez – LAPD Detective

22. Dr. Christopher Rogers – Forensic pathologist with the L.A. County
Coroner’s Office

23. Dr. Richard Ruffalo – Anesthesiologist and clinical pharmacologist

Day 1 of opening arguments started out being emotionally devastating. Besides playing a May 10th recording of Michael found on Murray’s iPhone in which Michael was obviously very sedated, a macabre photo of Michael deceased and lying on a gurney was presented by the prosecution to the court. I understand the value of this image and this recording to the prosecution’s case but it was nonetheless very hard for fans and certainly Michael’s family to see this image and to hear Michael in that condition. This recording is not the last one we’ll hear, the prosecution tells us, and some reports are that there are many more recordings like this. Why would Conrad Murray record a patient in this condition? Worse, why would he do it multiple times? We can guess that Murray intended to sell these recordings to the media. Or, that he intended to use them for blackmail purposes in case Michael fired him or for some other reason if things weren’t going well. Perhaps he wanted material for a book he was planning to write or for a film he was planning to do. Over the years many people have unethically obtained photos or recordings of Michael and sold them to the media for tidy sums of money. Else, what other reason would a doctor make such a recording of a patient? If this is legal, it certainly is not ethical.

If this doctor was medicating Michael this heavily, how are we to believe he was attempting to “wean” him off of anything, as he claimed? Further, how are we to believe that Murray thought it was good practice to continue to medicate Michael in this fashion for weeks, insisting to all and sundry that he was “in great shape and perfectly OK”, as more than one witness in testimony this week stated? Clearly that was not the case — and it was not the case because of Conrad Murray. Prosecutor David Walgren stated in opening statements that this shows that Murray knew the effect of his treatment on Michael, yet continued to order propofol in very large quantities, sent to his girlfriend’s home.

Michael said:

We have to be phenomenal. When people leave this show, when people leave my show, I want them to say, “I’ve never seen anything like this in my life.

Go. Go. I’ve never seen nothing like this. Go. It’s amazing. He’s the greatest entertainer in the world. I’m taking that money, a million children, children’s hospital, the biggest in the world, Michael Jackson’s Children’s Hospital.

It’s important to note that even in this sedated condition, Michael Jackson’s primary thoughts were still of others – of building a hospital for children. I hope that the public doesn’t miss this point when considering this heartbreaking recording. There can be no doubt that in Michael Jackson’s heart and soul, he was always about helping others and that the ability to do so was what drove him to be the successful entertainer that he was. Remember that he once told an upset Frank DiLeo during a hospital visit with very sick and possibly terminally ill children: “This is why we do this. It’s not about the stage, it’s about helping others, making them feel good.”  This is what Michael lived – and died for.

On Tuesday (Day 1), Kenny Ortega testified that on June 19th, 2009, Michael was threatened that if he didn’t start showing up at rehearsals, they would cancel the shows. The same has been stated by Michael’s brothers Randy (in a television interview on CNN) and Jermaine (in his book, which I just finished reading tonight). In Jermaine’s book he writes that Ortega saw something on the last day of rehearsals at The Forum on June 19th that greatly concerned him. That would have been that Ortega saw Michael in a state he desccribed as “chilled, lost and a little incoherent“. Ortega states he gave MJ some food, wrapped him in blankets and gave him a heater. Michael, according to Ortega, asked him if he could sit and watch the performance, with Travis Payne filling in for MJ. Ortega agreed. Ortega emphasizes that he’d never seen MJ like that, and that he suggested Michael go home.

Then, on June 20th, Ortega is asked to go to MJ’s house for a meeting with Randy Phillips, Frank Dileo, Conrad Murray and MJ. The topic is that Murray is upset that Ortega sent Michael home on the 19th. Murray tells Ortega that he should stop being an amateur doctor, and leave that to Murray. Ortega clarifies that he did not make the decision to send Michael home on the rehearsal date 6/19, it was a mutual decision between Ortega and MJ. Ortega states that Murray’s demeanor is stern.

On June 21st, Ortega sent Randy Phillips a letter which read:

Randy

I will do whatever I can to be of help with this situation. If you need me to come to the house, just give me a call in the morning. My concern is now that we’ve brought the doctor into the fold and have played the tough love, now or never card is that the artist may be unable to rise to the occasion due to real emotional stuff. He appeared quite weak and fatigued this evening. He had a terrible case of the chills, was trembling, rambling and obsessing. Everything in me says he should be psychologically evaluated. If we have any chance at all to get him back in the light. It’s going to take a strong therapist to help him through this as well as immediate physical nurturing. I was told by our chereographer that during the artists costume fitting with his designer tonight they noticed he’s lost more weight. As far as i can tell there is no one taking care responsibility (caring for) for him on a daily basis. Where was his assistant tonight? Tonight I was feeding him, wrapping him in blankets to warm his chills, massaging his feet to calm him and calling his doctor. There were four security guards outside his door, but no one offering him a cup of hot tea. Finally it’s important for everyone to know , I believe that he really wants this. I twould shatter him, Break his heart if we pulled the plug. He’s terribly frightened it’s all going to go away. He asked me repeatedly tonight if i was going to leave him. He was practically begging for my confidence. It broke my heart. He was like a lost boy. There still may be a chance he can rise to the occasion if we get him the help he needs.

Sincerely,
Kenny

Letter Kenny Ortega wrote to Randy Phillips of AEG on June 20th, 2009

Letter Kenny Ortega wrote to Randy Phillips of AEG on June 20th, 2009

Given this information, I have the same question on my mind that Jermaine and many others have on theirs: How is it that when so many others noticed there was a problem, that Michael was losing a lot of weight, was incoherent at times, was unable to perform, that AEG did not notice this? And why in God’s name were these shows not canceled? I realize that Michael may not have not wanted them canceled. This would have meant he would lose everything. I wrote about this previously when I illustrated how AEG had Michael in financial bondage. And it’s true. They did. The way the contract reads, AEG would have taken his home (which they were paying the rent on), his children’s tutors (whom they were paying), and the most valuable thing he owned – his music catalog (his half of the Sony/ATV catalog) in order to extract the cost of the advances they’d put forth for these shows and for their financial loss due to their cancelation. I was truly a “do or die” situation for Michael. And unfortunately, the latter is what occurred.

But, had these shows been canceled given the obvious signs that Michael was in no physical or psychological condition to complete them, he might still be alive today. Was the Sony/ATV catalog worth his life? That is a key question — and it seems it has been for quite some time. Michael Jackson feared for his life for years because of that catalog. He apparently felt that some might try to kill him for it. It could be argued in moral, sentient terms that what this catalog costed his family and this world is far more than what the catalog itself is actually worth in terms of mere dollars.

From wrongful death suit Jacksons have against AEG. I believe June 18th date may be incorrect, as it was said in testimony to be June 19th

From wrongful death suit Jacksons have against AEG. I believe June 18th date may be incorrect, as it was said in testimony to be June 19th

Also from Jackson's wrongful death suit against AEG - stating that they would recoup their costs by taking Michael's catalogue

Also from Jackson's wrongful death suit against AEG - stating that they would recoup their costs by taking Michael's catalogue

Also on Day 1 and Day 2 (Tuesday/Wednesday) Paul Gongaware of AEG testified. He said that initially Conrad Murray wanted $5 million dollars per year to work for Michael. Murray did not solicit any counteroffers until he was told via Michael Amir Williams that Michael himself said to offer him $150,000/month. Murray accepted that still-outrageous offer. I know we deify doctors in the United States but I still find such amounts stunning, particularly for such poor medical care as Murray apparently provided not only to Michael, but to another patient who testified on Day 4 (Friday). That patient, whose name is Robert Russell, was also abandoned on and before June 25th, 2009 by Conrad Murray. Russell had to threaten legal action to even get a phone call from Murray about his continuing medical care. Prior to this, Murray had informed Russell that was going to work exclusively for Michael Jackson but after that, Murray seemed to completely lose interest in Robert Russell, prompting the legal threats from Russell to Murray’s offices if he did not get a response. Murray finally called Mr. Russell on the morning of June 25th, 2009, but then Murray went on to then abandon yet another patient – Michael Jackson – after apparently pumping him full of benzodiazepines and propofol.

Conrad Murray had been shown to have ordered the approximate equivalent of four gallons of propofol before June 25th,2009. And again, for someone trying to “wean” Michael Jackson off of an alleged addiction to propofol this seems rather excessive, not to mention that propofol isn’t a physically addictive drug so this whole concept is logistically beyond comprehension.

Days 2 and 3 saw Murray’s defense attorneys badger Michael Amir Williams, Faheem Muhammed, Alberto Alvarez, and Kai Chase seemingly about why they didn’t call 911 when Murray called them, starting with Michael Amir Williams, who was 30-40 minutes away when he received Murray’s frantic call. Williams called Faheem Muhammed and Alberto Alvaraz to go to the property and into Michael’s bedroom to see what was going on. What good would it do for anyone other than Murray to call 911 if no one else but Murray knew the situation? Don’t let Murray’s defense cause people to lose sight of these simple logistics. The bottom line is that Conrad Murray was the only one who could or should have called 911.

When a doctor is in charge of a patient and something goes wrong, it is primarily the doctor’s responsibility to call 911 immediately if (s)he is not already in a clinic or hospital. If (s)he is in a clinic or hospital, then the doctor should call an immediate code Red for assistance. If the doctor instead chooses to call everyone else on the planet instead of calling 911 and also does not instruct or fails to instruct anyone else to call 911, then 911 will not be called because others will follow the doctor’s orders. That Murray did not immediately call 911 himself is flatly inexcusable. No one else but Conrad Murray was responsible for making this critical call, yet he failed in even that basic action.

On Day 4, paramedic Richard Senneff testified that had Murray called 911 immediately, there was a good chance they could have saved Michael Jackson and got him breathing again. However, rather than doing so, Murray chose instead to call and have security personnel call 911 when they arrived, but only after instructing them to scoop up propofol bottles so that Murray could (unbeknownst to the security guards, they were just following the orders of the doctor in charge) dispose of this evidence. It appears that Murray took at least 20 minutes to even think of making that call. By that time, it was far too late for Michael. Worse, Murray lied to Senneff about when 911 was called. When Senneff asked Murray how long Michael had been dead before the call was made, Murray stated that 911 was called right away. Senneff could tell, he said, that this was a lie because Michael’s eyes were dry and his body was cold to the touch.

Here is a recap of paramedic Richard Senneff’s testimony:

* Richard Senneff said Murray told him he called 911 the second he realized MJ was in distress, when in fact there was an approximate 20 minute delay. Senneff said had Murray called earlier there was a good chance EMTs could have restarted Michael’s heart.

* Senneff said when he arrived at the scene MJ was already dead.

* According to Senneff Murray lied when he told paramedics at the scene MJ had no underlying condition.

* When Senneff asked him what medications MJ was on, Murray lied again, saying “none.” then admitted he had given MJ a sedative, Lorazepam.

* After almost 40 minutes and several unsuccessful rounds of starter drugs, the dispatcher at UCLA decides to call time of death… but Murray insists on continuing.

* Paramedics decide to take Michael to the hospital. After getting him into the ambulance, Senneff goes back to MJ’s room to retrieve his equipment…. that’s when he says, he sees Murray picking up items off the floor.

* Senneff said there was no sign of life at any point during the 47 minutes he treated MJ.

* He also testified that at NO point did Murray ever mention the word Propofol.

That Michael could have been saved if Murray had acted appropriately and called 911 immediately rather than calling practically everyone else on the planet first, and insisting on hiding evidence first, was really hard to hear. My friend Reverend Catherine Gross put it this way:

Defense is questioning why Kai didn’t get security but NOT why Murray didn’t call 911? Really? You gotta be kidding me. . . the only person who knew there was a life and death emergency was MURRAY.. not Kai, Amir, Farheem, Prince.

How painful it was to watch Alberto Alvarez as the tape of him calling 911 for help was replayed. I felt so badly for him on the stand. It was apparent that this was a traumatic event for this man and reliving it in that courtroom was very difficult. Alvarez has had offers from many media outlets (six-digit offers) for interviews but has wisely refused them all. At the same time, he testified that he has had trouble finding work and was financially strapped. Remember too, that I’ve previously mentioned in various different articles here that the media has offered Karen Faye, Jennifer Batten, Patrick Treacy, David Nordahl, and others huge sums of money to tell stories (true or not) about Michael Jackson. And I mentioned above how many people would obtain photos or recordings of Michael and sell them to the media, Conrad Murray possibly being one of those people since he had recorded Michael in an inebriated state that Murray himself put him in. I know that this is how the media operates. It is legalized bribery and I salute those who refuse to participate in it.

Murray’s defense also has annoyed the judge by writing Alvarez’s timeline on a whiteboard – incorrectly. Chernoff tried his best to knock Alvarez off of his timeline when Alvarez would say one thing while Chernoff would write and repeat something else. Chernoff further attempted to bully Alvarez into admitting that he could not possibly accomplish all the tasks Alvarez said he had upon entering the property, in such a short time. But this was an emergency situation. And, Alvarez’s response was: “I’m very efficient, sir.” At some points, jurors could not see this white board and that was another issue. Chernoff was also admonished for making editorial commentary to witnesses ie: “well that’s interesting but..”  Both Chernoff and Nareg Gourjian’s style in the courtroom seemed somewhat thuggish or perhaps borderline mocking at times, bringing back memories of school bullies in the First Grade.

Chernoff has openly admitted that he has no experience with high-profile cases such as this one and that was particularly evident on Friday (Day 4) of the trial, when someone else from his law office did an interview with The Today Show that morning, discussing the case and Alberto Alvarez’s testimony on television. This led to Judge Pastor having a “come to Jesus” meeting with counsel (a very loud and very animated one I understand), admonishing them that they or no one on their team is to speak to media about this case. Pastor issued a gag order and will have a contempt hearing with Matthew Alford, the member of Murray’s defense team who gave the interview, on November 15th.

Also at the end of Day 2 (Wednesday) Judge Pastor delivered what has been described as a “stinging lecture” to prosecution and defense teams. According to this article, he “ticked them off for being late in the morning session, for comments in court “not appropriate” to the trial and snippy remarks between each other.“. It has been stated that defense counsel was particularly guilty of these behaviors.

At the top of this article, I mentioned the pulse oximeter. Bob Johnson of Noni Medical testified that Conrad Murray had used a cheaper model of pulse/blood oxygen monitor that is not meant for continuous monitoring. In other words the device was inappropriate for the treatment Murray was giving Michael (anesthesia). No matter however, because we learned Murray did not use the device at all anyway until after Michael was already dead. Alberto Alvarez testified that only after he arrived and they put Michael on the floor, did Murray put that device on Michael’s finger. Someone might mention to Conrad Murray that this device doesn’t work like that. It’s meant to monitor a patient who is still alive and meant as a tool to help keep the patient alive. However, Murray did not see fit to utilize the device at all until after his patient was dead. The sequence of events as told by Alvarez are as follows. Notice that no pulse oximeter was observed on Michael when Alvarez arrived. Murray only placed it on him after Michael was clearly already deceased:

* AA saw CM giving chest comprehensions to MJ. MJ was in the bed. AA saw MJ lying on his back, his hands extended out to his sides with palms up, his eyes and mouth was open. His face was slightly towards the left. CM was using one hand (his left hand) giving MJ chest comprehensions.

* CM said to him they need to get him to a hospital. AA was walking towards the bed and reaching for his phone in his pocket. Prince and Paris followed him into the room, they were behind him. Paris screamed out “Daddy”. Paris was crying. CM said “don’t let them see their dad like this”. AA ushered the children out the door and told them that everything will be okay and not to worry.

* When returned AA asked CM what happened. CM said “he had a bad reaction”. AA was at the foot of the bed.

* AA saw some sort of a plastic device on his penis to collect urine. AA now knows that it was a condom catheter. AA did not see any monitoring equipment, no ventilation equipment. AA only saw a clear plastic tubing for Oxygen attached to MJ’s nose. AA saw an IV stand.

* CM got some vials from the night stand and asked AA to put them in a bag. AA held out the bag and CM dropped the vials. CM told AA to place that plastic grocery bag to the brown bag. Then CM told AA to get the bag in the IV stand and put it in the blue bag. AA says there was a bottle in the saline bag.

* Walgren: “Why were you following these instructions?” AA ” I believed CM had MJ’s best intentions at mind, I didn’t question his authority. I thought we were getting ready to go to the hospital”.

* IV stand has 2 hooks. One hook had a saline bag, CM didn’t ask AA to remove that one. AA was only asked to remove the saline bag with the bottle. AA saw milky white substance at the bottom of the saline bag.

* Walgren shows the saline bag pictures to AA. The bad has a cut, AA says he didn’t see the cut on june 25th. Walgren shows the cut to the jurors. Walgren then shows empty 100ml Propofol bottle. Walgren replaces the bottle in the saline bag through the slit shows it to AA and the jurors.

* AA says all these events happened very quickly. AA says he was obeying CM’s instructions.

* 911 call is played in court. Alberto visibly upset and looks like about to cry when listening to the call.

* AA and CM moved MJ from bed to the floor. AA saw a clear plastic tube coming from the bag on the IV coming to MJ’s leg. CM removed it when they moved MJ. CM took pulse oximeter from a bag and clipped it to MJ’s finger.

We also learned (again) that Murray did not mention to any paramedics or to anyone at UCLA that he had given Michael propofol on June 25th, 2009. By the time paramedics arrived, Murray had hidden the evidence of what he’d done. It wasn’t until two days later when Murray returned all lawyered up and was interviewed by LAPD investigators that he mentioned having given propofol to Michael.

If you’re not on their mailing list, MJTruthNow has provided the following information for those wanting to avoid establishment media spin and who want to avoid giving such outlets ratings:

The public should wake up, trust their own ability to evaluate what they see and hear, and discard these cut-rate pundits, self-styled experts and fakirs whose purpose is not to inform, but to lead viewers by the nose to advertisers. We do not need Grace and her one dimensional cartoon colleagues — Velez-Mitchell, Behar, Positan, Ryan, Dimond, and Pop Doc Drew to explain the Conrad Murray Trial, what we are seeing and how we should feel about it. Anyone interested in seeing the Justice System at work and unfiltered should watch on free streaming video and come to your own conclusions.

Try the two links below for this experience. It’s commercial free, opinion free, discussion free, spin free, and Grace-free. This is where you are free to make your own decision about what you are hearing and learning.

Live Stream Link 1:
http://www.ontheredcarpet.com/livevideo?id=8361777

Live Stream Link 2:
http://www.ustream.tv/conradmurraytrial

For a trial schedule, go to this link:
http://www.ontheredcarpet.com/Conrad-Murray-trial:-Schedule–details-and-live-stream/8368739

You may also wish to read the documents and transcripts of the trial. Records of the day’s court proceedings will be slightly delayed as verbal proceedings require transcription by a person. Please be patient until they become available. You may access them at this link:

Trial Transcripts
http://lasuperiorcourt.org/courtnews/ui/HPDocumentList.aspx?title=Peo+v+Conrad+Murray&casenum=SA073164&date=2010-05-04

Please do not give HLN the satisfaction of high ratings and the money they generate.

Gatorgirl aka Nikki has written a couple of very interesting articles about Day 1 and Day 2 of the trial. You can find those here and here.

Finally, some interesting interviews and comments this past week. We’ve seen Tom Mesereau on Joy Behar, Dr. Patrick Treacy on Dr. Drew, and Dr. Barry Friedberg this past week commenting talking about the case. And Michael’s friend Lou Ferrigno remembers feeling like Michael was “under tremendous pressure.

Let’s look at some of what they had to say:

OK, if we look at the facts… why is propofol so popular with anesthesiologists? If you give injection of it, there is no antidote, but it only last four minutes and it wears off. So, if he took a 20 mil syringe himself, the most he can give himself a shot of is 200 milligrams, which would only keep him asleep for four minutes and he would wake up again. So, it is almost physically impossible that Michael Jackson could have killed himself.

-Dr. Patrick Treacy, who treated Michael in Ireland in 2006-07

Leaving a sleep deprived, propofol-d­emanding Jackson in a room with propofol was like leaving a pyromaniac in a room with matches & failing to anticipate a match might get lit.

No judgment whatsoever­.

FYI…ther­e is no such thing as a lethal dose of propofol, even if Jackson somehow did open the crude infusion device to self-medic­ate.

The only lethal thing about propofol is its tendency to cause disruption­s in the airway & breathing.

Many critically ill ICU patients receive propofol safely for days on end because they are being mechanical­ly ventilated­.

The only ‘lethal’ thing about propofol is the failure to watch & monitor the patient’s airway & breathing and intervene when appropriat­e.

Read the Michael Jackson chapter in ‘Getting Over Going Under, 5 things you MUST know before anesthesia­.’

-Dr. Barry L. Friedberg, board-certified anesthesiologist

He hugged me and said ‘take care of yourself, I love you’. It gave me a funny feeling because I knew something was wrong. I knew he was under tremendous pressure and that kind of concerned me.

-Lou Ferrigno, ‘The Incredible Hulk‘, and Michael’s personal fitness trainer for This Is It

~

It’s obviously been a really gut-wrenching Week 1 of the Conrad Murray manslaughter trial. If I can manage to find time to write a similar summary next Sunday for Week 2, I will do so. Meanwhile, I hope I can squeeze in an article or two about more pleasant subjects!

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Sep 11 2011

Michael Jackson did not drink propofol (plus jury selection, media, and other news)

Category: Justice,MJ Quotes,Quotes About MJ,VideosSeven @ 2:24 am

Michael did not drink propofol

Michael did not drink propofol

Drinking propofol?

It’s been reported that the defense still plans to use the “Michael Jackson drank propofol” excuse.  Last week, CNN interviewed expert anesthesiologist Dr. Nancy Strand about this claim. Here’s what Dr. Strand had to say:

I don’t believe personally that there is any way Michael died from swallowing the propofol. Likely the propofol would be inactivated in the stomach, this theory doesn’t make any sense. [It’s] Quite easy for the (TRACES) propofol to get into the stomach retrograde from the blood.

This is the same conclusion that Nikki came to in her previous blogs about the matter:

Perhaps Murray and his defense team are too ignorant to know that propofol renders no effect when ingested orally, not accounting for the lack of visible propofol in his stomach, too.

Propofol must be given intravenously (in the vein) to render an effect. Being ingested orally, propofol would take so long to reach the brain it would become inactivated before reaching it (propofol only renders an effect once it crosses the blood/brain barrier).

Dr. Steven Schaefer has agreed with both Nikki and Dr. Strand:

The rapid hepatic metabolism of propofol makes it impossible for Michael Jackson to have received a fatal overdose by drinking propofol. . . there is zero possibility that the propofol was orally ingested. . . there is almost nothing in Murray’s care of Michael Jackson that reflected the actions of a trained physician. . . . extreme and unconscionable violations of the standard of care.

And Dr. Barry Friedberg agrees with Dr. Schaefer regarding Murray’s extremely negligent treatment of Michael. On Friday, in response to this article, Dr. Friedberg said:

So it is not the dose of propofol, or who may have given it that is at question, but the flagrant absence of well-established propofol safety protocols that is the cause of involuntary manslaughter.

Murray having left the room without any remote monitoring devices subjected Jackson to a patently unsafe propofol practice that directly led to the predictable, avoidable death of Michael Jackson.

No amount of defense tactics can relieve Murray of his absolute responsibility to have watched & monitored Jackson.

Not even a day one intern right out of medical school would be so reckless and cavalier.

Murray’s defense claimed last week that no plea bargain was ever considered. “Plea bargains are for guilty people,” Murray defense lawyer Ed Chernoff said in an interview this week with Jean Casarez, a reporter with CNN sister network In Session. “If you’re not guilty then we need to go to trial.”  Considering the opinions of the three experts cited above, and other facts of this case, it beggars belief that anyone could consider Conrad Murray “not guilty“. But it is their job to defend him.

Jury Selection

If you haven’t seen it yet and would like to, the new Juror Questionnaire is available on my Scribd account. This and other public documents pertaining to this case can be found on the LA Superior Court website.

As I understand it, 145 potential jurors were selected last week after others were dismissed for hardship. These jurors will complete the 117-question, 30-page questionnaire. Those will be examined by the attorneys next week and those jurors who have answered unsuitably will be dismissed. Jury selection is the week of the 19th, and on September 23rd, they will return for voir dire. Opening arguments are said to begin on September 27th. Some outlets also say September 26th for opening arguments.

Media

In other media news, two outlets have changed their online articles in response to public protest about the derogatory, racist “Jacko” moniker. Both CNN and USAToday last week changed headlines and text to remove the disrespectful name from two their respective online articles. A further effort is underway to urge all media outlets to drop the name from their reporting. This open letter to media outlets has been drafted, as well as a petition to be signed. Michael said himself that he did not like being called “Wacko Jacko” when he interviewed with Diane Sawyer a few years ago.

Dr. Patrick Treacy, Michael’s doctor while he lived in Ireland in 2006-2007, has supported the effort with this letter:

I wholeheartedly support this substantial effort to prohibit the use of the name ‘Jacko’ in the media when referring to the late Michael Jackson. In reality, this level of offense has continued for quite a period as there are two types of media presently functioning in western society. One embraces objectivity and sees its function to provide credible news commentaries primarily written for its listeners and readers. This type of professional reporter is usually devoid of having to please advertisers with high volume of sales, television audience management (TAM ratings) or ABC numbers. The other type of reporter pens stories that are written solely to please advertisers. These are usually subjective, lack credibility and often push the very limits of legality. Their information sources usually lack proper credentials and may be untrustworthy. Unfortunately, most people in society are poorly informed or inadequately educated and sometimes may not be able to differentiate between the subjective components of the believability of a source or message. The media plays with the minds of these people solely to generate sales of their publications. To achieve high volume they must write about someone who a lot of people know. The absence of regulation in this marketplace leads to gross defamation of character and this is legally easier whenever the person in question is deceased. This media induced misconception once even caused me to prevent Michael from visiting a paediatric hospital, (where I once worked as a junior doctor)to see some children who were recently firebombed in a car and who were left with horrific scars. As he took off his wig and showed me his own burn injuries, I too felt his pain of how the media had treated him so unfairly. I knew that the noble intention of his visit would be used by them. On another occasion, I was contacted and offered a substantial sum to say he used drugs. The worst of this as yet unfolding saga has still to come and I await with some trepidation to what new level the media will stoop to disrespect possibly the greatest humanitarian that the World has recently witnessed.

Dr. Patrick Treacy, Medical Director
Ailesbury Clinics Ltd.
Suite 6 Merrion Court
Ailesbury Road
Dublin 4 IRELAND

Those 50 shows and Michael’s contract with AEG

Something I’d been looking for a while which has again turned up is Michael’s comments to his fans back in June 2009. On June 2nd, 2009, Michael had been complaining to fans that he didn’t think he could do 50 shows. Numerous fans who were present when Michael shared his feelings on this, have attested to what he told them:

I don’t know how I’m going to do 50 shows. I’m not a big eater – I need to put some weight on. . . . I’m really angry with them booking me up to do 50 shows. I only wanted to do ten, and take the tour around the world to other cities, not 50 in one place. I went to bed knowing I sold 10 dates, and woke up to the news I was booked to do 50.

It’s notable that a key video segment detailing these comments has disappeared from the internet since then and also that security was considerably tightened around Michael in an effort to keep him separate from these fans after AEG learned of these comments through the media. Were they simply protecting their profits, or hiding something? According to these same fans and Michael’s make-up artist, Karen Faye, Michael was not physically or emotionally well during this period. Also, much has been written about the very unusual contract AEG had Michael under and at least two people have stated there were threats against him, his brother Randy being one of those people. Consensus is that the AEG contract seemed rather abusive, to put it mildly. My article on the matter called it “financial bondage“.

In conclusion, I’d like to leave things with you on a lighter note than all this unpleasant trial sadness. Below, Michael explains to claymation animator Will Vinton how he envisions two of the raisins’ appearance and behavior for an upcoming California Raisins television commercial based on Michael’s music and style back in 1989.

Here’s the result. How do you think Michael did as director?

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Sep 10 2011

Beware the sewage flying around on the internet(s)

Category: JusticeSeven @ 3:15 pm

Septic Tank . . .

Septic Tank . . .

Yesterday we were all subjected to yet another media(loid) “expert” talking about Michael, or in this case, his fans. We’re not going to let this one slide without comment. At least I’m not.

If the media was interested in inviting experts to talk about MJ, the Murray case, MJ’s fans, they’d invite Aphrodite Jones, Patrick Treacy, Barry Friedberg, Joe Vogel, and Larry Nimmer,  rather than crackpots like Wendy Walsh.

Wendy Walsh is the “psychologist” who claimed fans believed Michael was their “savior” and that Murray was “satan” – and that MJ fans were living in a “fantasy” world. Here is the link to Wendy Walsh’s bubbleheaded babble:

http://bit.ly/ppEOw7

The thought that Michael’s tragic death and the Murray trial is yet another horrible travesty of justice apparently doesn’t enter Walsh’s mind while she’s spouting her medialoid, medialoud, pseudo-science about MJ fans.

I don’t know of any MJ fans who believe Conrad Murray is “satan” – and I know a lot of MJ fans. I do know that quite a few of them believe Conrad Murray is a sociopath. It’s also interesting to note that Dr. Barry Friedberg has unequivocally stated that Murray is a sociopath. Wendy Walsh might spend some time talking on that subject but she won’t. Her employers would likely not allow it, just as they will not invite Dr. Barry Friedberg onto their shows to speak about anesthesia and propofol – about what Conrad Murray did wrong and how egregious it truly was. They also have not invited Dr. Patrick Treacy who was Michael’s primary physician in Ireland just a year or two before he died. Treacy said that Michael was in no way an addict or on any drugs while being treated by him. None of these ideas, facts, or stories from people with firsthand knowledge and expertise in their fields seem to make it into the establishment media because they don’t fit the portrayal of Michael that they want to bring to the public eye.

The caricature Walsh portrayed of Michael’s fans was not only lacking basis in fact but was strictly based on her personal opinion, or possibly what she knew she was expected to say about them by the network she works for. It was unprofessional, disrespectful, ignorant, and insensitive. Walsh is a primarily a “television personality“, not a psychologist. She may have psychologist credentials, but I cannot see a professional psychologist “diagnosing” or portraying an entire worldwide group of people (whom she’s certainly never met) in such a way.  Her comments tell us more about her than they do about Michael’s fans. It’s called psychological projection. Being a psychologist, I’m sure she is familiar with the term.

The requirement for the media’s version of an “expert” seems to be someone who will simply use their credentials to parrot the media’s negative caricature of Michael Jackson, and his fans. There are plenty such crackpots available and willing to be put on the air. Wendy Walsh is obviously one of them. Dr. Drew is obviously another.

Another piece of sewage that somehow escaped proper disposal in a septic tank is from UK tabloids and it has spread from there. That alone renders it questionable, in its intent or its implications. The piece has one objective: to portray Michael Jackson as guilty even though he was acquitted and to give the impression that even his family doubted his innocence and were planning to make him a fugitive if he was convicted.  Here is (one of) the specimens:

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2035830/How-Michael-Jacksons-family-planned-fly-singer-U-S-Bahrain-jailed-child-molestation.html

The thinking goes: “Well, if he wasn’t guilty, why would he flee if he had been convicted?” – and: “Look! Even his family doubted his innocence!” – and: “Jermaine is exposing his plans to make himself and Michael fugitives from the law!”  This is the impression that piece and others like it is intended to give the public. Even some fans have bought into it whilst missing the bigger story.

If we’re paying attention, reasoning and logistical thinking kicks in when presented with such stories because we’re so used to this type of media manipulation of public opinion in regards to Michael.  Reference: Diane Dimond and Martin Bashir among others (speaking of crackpots).

In the minds of the public, he was guilty regardless whether he had fled the country or not. Because that’s the storyline that has been fed to them by the media, who have made billions if not trillions off of manufactured Michael Jackson scandals in past couple of decades — and they’re still doing it. Big name. Easy target. Easy money. That’s what this is all about – keeping that storyline (and those profits and careers) pumped up. And the truth – or at least any mention that these stories are often logistically senseless? Well – that’s just not included.

I know that often, a person who is made a pariah by, or otherwise ousted from his/her own country for various reasons (not necessarily that they are a criminal) will flee that country and / or denounce their citizenship.

Is the Dalai Llama guilty because he fled Tibet? Of what his he guilty? Being too peaceful? Same as Michael I suppose. There’s a lot to be said about that.

According to Jermaine’s comments both in and outside of his book, as well as other Jackson family members, they did not doubt Michael’s innocence. They doubted the justice system and the possible outcome. Who could blame them when such a flimsy case had ever even made it into a courtroom on the wings of a vengeful, malicious, racist DA, and various self-serving media personalities and media entities out to build their careers and fortunes out of destroying a talented, wealthy, powerful entertainer with these scandals?

Here’s an interesting distinction in regards to these articles – Jermaine tweeted this today:

my book doesn’t say ‘if convicted” but thanku for demonstrating my point about those in media not interested in facts

So the tabloids did put their own “spin” on the story. The excerpt the tabloids based their story on is from Jermaine’s new book: “You Are Not Alone“, where Jermaine explains a plan to help Michael out of the country during (not after) the 2005 trial. Michael was not aware of these plans, and Jermaine did not say the plan was to be carried out only if Michael was convicted.

There’s a logistical issue with this story as presented by the media: If convicted, it would have been difficult if not impossible for Michael to flee, regardless Jermaine’s plans. Michael would likely have been taken into custody immediately. Also, his passport had been seized by authorities until the trial was over. If convicted, he’d be unlikely to have gotten his passport back and thus could not have gone out of the country. So in that regard the story also makes no sense given the limited context it has been presented in. The tabloids then put their own spin on it which made it even more senseless.

Tom Mesereau and Jermaine have said the same thing I’ve written here on the subject: that is that there would have been no way Michael could flee if convicted even if he planned to (which he did not as he was unaware of Jermaine’s plans). The story Jermaine relates is to illustrate how unfair he thought the system had been to Michael and how desperate he was to save his brother from wrongly being persecuted and to save him from certain death in prison if things began to turn against them in the trialbefore any verdict was decided.

It’s a story of desperation – with good reason behind it. That good reason is completely lost in the focus on Jermaine’s plans and the spin the media placed on them.

The media has taken this one paragraph from his book and micro-focused on that, leaving out the rest of the story (and any nuance along with it) and further twisted it for the purposes of sensationalism. Fans who dislike Jermaine have taken that twisted version and used it as a further excuse to lambaste him.

I can understand fully his desire to take his brother from a situation in which he might be wrongly convicted of something he didn’t do. He explains this in his book and interviews. The REAL crime – was committed against Michael Jackson. Many of us know that. That’s what Jermaine expresses and that is the bigger story that is being completely ignored here in favor of simply focusing on Jermaine’s plans as twisted by the media.

And as it turns out Michael did flee to Bahrain – legally. Because he didn’t want to be in a country where he was constantly targeted. Tom Mesereau told Michael he should go after he was acquitted for that very reason – because he would continue to be targeted in the U.S..

When he finally returned – he was murdered. Lambaste Jermaine Jackson if you want but Jermaine isn’t the problem here! It’s bigger than him.

I can understand Jermaine being very emotionally honest in his book about his concern for his brother and his desperation to help save him at the time – but unfortunately emotional honesty sometimes causes trouble – especially when the media gets hold of the story and twists it for sensationalism. It shouldn’t happen, but it does. How many times has the same happened to Michael, that his emotional honesty got him into trouble and he was completely misunderstood as relates to a bigger picture? Didn’t we empathize with him anyway? Didn’t we want others to empathize with him anyway? Of course we did. Then, can we not afford the same consideration to his brother when he is being honest? If not, we are hypocrites.

The whole world needs to grow up and think – preferably about someone besides themselves. Else, what is it that the media and fans who need a reason to dislike Jermaine Jackson are trying to make people believe – while the bigger story about the horrific injustices against Michael and the numerous violations of his civil rights goes ignored?  I think it’s pretty obvious.  If you’re a Michael Jackson fan, you might need to examine why you have gotten sucked into this distraction.

© Seven Bowie, 2011

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Jun 04 2011

Jealousy, avarice, deception, willful ignorance: all impediments to the truth

Category: Books,JusticeSeven @ 3:18 am

Turn towards the Truth.

Turn to truth.

Just a day or so ago, I wrote about Kathy Hilton’s interview with CNN and their deceptive editing of that interview which left out key facts about Michael and his behavior, namely that Mrs. Hilton stated that he was not a drug addict. It’s important to note that her observance of this was just months before Michael allegedly died of “drug addiction” — if one believes the media’s hype, misinformation, and willful ignorance on the matter, disregarding what the autopsy says, and what many others like Mrs Hilton and Dr. Patrick Treacy say.

It seems that perhaps CNN did not, for some reason, want that part of the interview left on their site. I’m reminded that Investigation Discovery has also refused to air the interview with Dr. Patrick Treacy in which he shared that Michael would never, ever allow anyone to administer anesthesia to him without a qualified anesthetist present.

After Mrs. Hilton appeared on CNN, she showed up on The View. Admittedly, I cannot, with the exception of Whoopie Goldberg, tolerate most of the hosts of that program – particularly Joy Behar – who was her ‘usual self‘ during that segment, rudely interrupting Mrs. Hilton who had begun speaking about Michael in very positive terms. Behar interrupted in order to inject the common and snide media insinuation that Michael himself somehow created his negative image in the public eye. Behar says something to the effect of: “the person you put out there is what people pick up on“.

You can watch here. Look around 6:00 where Mrs. Hilton begins talking about Michael. Shortly after, Joy Behar interrupts with her allegation.

Behar is suggesting that Michael himself was responsible for the negative caricature created of him by the media. Michael tried his entire life to show people who he really was: doing the Oprah interview, doing that tragic Bashir interview, etc. — but it was always twisted to the negative, sliced and diced, taken out of context, defined as ‘strange‘, made into something sinister, and demonized. Whatever Michael did or said, it was turned into the worst thing that could be made of it.

It wasn’t Michael who negatively manipulated the public’s opinion of him. It wasn’t Michael when he was alive and it certainly isn’t now! It was (and is) Bashir, Behar, Walters, Dimond, Orth, and many others in the establishment media who manipulated the truth and demonized Michael, always focusing on anything but who he really was ie: anything but the truth. They made an entire industry and several careers off of spinning lies and hiding facts.

That’s probably why that CNN interview with K. Hilton & Piers Morgan was ultimately chopped off in the middle. They are protecting their revenue stream re: Michael Jackson. They have defined him (‘marketed‘ him, if you will) as a drug addict. Particularly since he’s died, that has been their “meme“. K. Hilton clearly stated (having seen him just a few months before he died) that he was not a drug addict and that she saw no sign of such. But perhaps the media doesn’t particularly want that out there. It’s not consistent with their profitable characterization of the man as a ‘freak, wierdo, pedophile, and drug addict‘.

The establishment “infotainment” media (and it is allinfotainment” at best if one is generous) has zero integrity because that’s how they work – particularly the Bashirs and the Breitbarts – but really all the establishment media. They cut, twist, and demonize and sensationalize – until the truth is nowhere to be found except on blogs or by people who are truly paying attention. They are often essentially character assassins for profit.

In case there might be some logistical reason why that video was chopped off, I checked CNN’s video site. There are other videos there that are up to 11 minutes long. So it wasn’t that they had to cut the video short to fit some time or space constraints. The Piers Morgan interview with Kathy Hilton was just over 7 minutes long. The small part left on CNN’s site after it was edited was only 3-4 minutes long. What else can explain why the ‘Michael Jackson‘ portion of this video was cut so short just after it was originally posted?

To CNN’s credit, they did at least leave the entire transcript intact.

The flogging of Michael and his memory never ends though. The next day, this jagged little jewel turned up on my Twitter timeline:

http://www.avclub.com/articles/michael-jacksons-bad,56798/2/

The author of this article seems to be incredibly ignorant about who Michael Jackson was as an entertainer, businessman and person, and thus way off the mark about Michael’s artistic, business, and personal motives. Obviously insanely jealous of Michael, whilst shockingly unfamiliar with his chosen subject, Steven Hyden even makes the oft-uttered and entirely untrue media(loid) claim that Michael dubbed himself the “King of Pop“. Wrong. Elizabeth Taylor crowned Michael the “King of Pop, Rock, and Soul“.  And as one commenter mentioned below, we’ve learned since her death that the media themselves may have crowned him even before that.

Regardless, it is clear that Michael did not choose that title for himself, nor did he ever insist that anyone apply it to him in any circumstances. A simple Google search would have bore that out. This is not a case of bad research. It’s a case of no research. It’s a case of what appears to be a hopelessly envious person just wanting to spit vitriol at what he believes to be some sort of competition.

Says Hyden, in an acidic and sneering tone that is consistent through his entire narcissistic diatribe:

When Bad failed to out-do Thriller, Jackson only amped up the bluster, insisting that the media refer to him by the self-applied moniker “The King Of Pop” when promoting the release of 1991’s Dangerous.

-Steven Hyden

Talk about some amped up “bluster“. That was a sizeable tornado of it right there!

Joe Vogel, the author I’ve featured here previously, and whose book “Man in the Music: The Creative Life and Work of Michael Jackson” is due out November 1st, had something to say about Steven Hyden’s diatribe:

I read the AV Club article on MJ’s Bad. Hyden starts out with a compelling question: Why the insanely vitriolic response to this album?

But then proceeds to offer most of the same reductive, petty, predictable nonsense that’s been written about MJ for decades. As usual, most of this is mythology, speculation, and pseudo-pscyhoanalysis.

I actually interviewed people who worked on this album.

They speak of an artist and person who is multi-dimensional: passionate, kind, funny, shy and HUMAN, not a caricature or corporation.

Did MJ want to sell 100 million copies? Yes. But why? That’s the question critics never really consider.

The assumption is that he was this vain, calculating, materialistic “entertainer” targeting demographics.

The truth is that since he was young, he was told black artists couldn’t be the best. He wanted to prove them wrong.

He wanted to be the best: commercially AND artistically.

He believed in his music and wanted it to reach as many people as possible.

I address all this in my book. Bottom line: the MJ media caricature is nothing like the artist who worked tirelessly on Bad for 3 years.

-Joe Vogel

Joe Vogel is an author, freelance journalist, and instructor. Look for his book “Man in the Music: The Creative Life and Work of Michael Jackson“, due out in November, 2011. You can pre-order the book at Amazon.com.

You always expect [inaccurate reporting] from the Star Magazine and National Inquirer, their business is built on misinformation. But, when it spills over into the mainstream media and they would perpetuate these lies and innuendos-I just couldn’t fathom that…these are supposed to be news-people. You’d think they’d check something before they talked about it. Because a good news-person has to have a basis [for what they are saying]…but [the media] were just willing to repeat this stuff.

-David Nordahl on the gross character assassination of his friend of 20 years, Michael Jackson – from the Reflections on the Dance Interview.

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