The media storm around Michael Jackson is less about him and more about the media monster that makes and breaks our pop icons. We still don't know how or why he died. All we have is a lot of confusion from a lot of insane coverage.
Armies of journalists swoop down on him again. Drugs and death, the new postmortem, not quite as sensational as ruining him and his reputation with unsubstantiated charges of extreme moral depravity, the boy-man-god a pedophile, but drugs and death a suitable followup and a glorious media fire for the final end of a fallen star.
Questions, a lot of questions and conflicting and misleading answers and more doubt and misery. A lot of really great friends who weren't there for him. A lot of questions nobody asks. Journalists paid to ask them, but they don't.
Police slow to see that a simple death of the King of Pop doesn't make sense. Joe Jackson apparently, always say apparently when covering Michael, Michael's father ordering 2 moving vans to remove Michael's effects from the scene of his death, a rented mansion belonging to the Nation of Islam, rented at 3 or 4 times the going market rate for $100,000 a month. Janet, Michael's sister, dropping by the same day, but what was taken away from a possible crime scene two days after Michael dies? Does she know, does Joe estranged from Michael to boot, have any authority to mess things up for the inevitable police investigation?
Then a belated appearance by LA police confiscating 2 large bags of drugs after the moving vans have been long gone.
Then later still, the DEA shuffles in after nobody knows what happened at Michael's mansion before, during and after Michael's death, what was removed, what might have been planted later.
A lot of Diprivan found by the DEA, missed by the LAPD, unlabeled, IV anesthesia used only to knockout a patient for an operation, but what was it doing there? Michael couldn't sleep without it sometimes?
What doctor would prescribe it for insomnia when a small overdose is easily fatal, when ordinary doses are also sometimes fatal? It happens under ideal conditions in hospital operating rooms with an anaesthesiologist present monitoring vital signs.
Some very close to Michael say he wasn't a druggie, abhorred and never used recreational drugs and only took prescription drugs like anyone else would. Started with Pepsi, the hair on fire commercial, later a broken leg, broken vertebrae, performance injuries, then the painful cosmetic surgery and possibly skin cancer. And beat up badly twice for months by the media on unsubstantiated child molestation charges that would depress anyone. More and more people close to him thought he had a prescription drug problem. If he did, no one seems to have actually caught him doing drugs. One of his former bodyguards, Matt Fiddes, says he and Uri Geller often confiscated drugs and needles lying around. And Michael was in rehab once though what for exactly? The same people who say he was addicted to prescription drugs like the TV journalist Diane Dimond who broke the pedophilia allegations, say he also had a big drinking problem back then.
The more you repeat a story, the more people believe it, true or not, as the media and psychologists must know. If that's hard to swallow since we think we're not so easily fooled, remember when disinformation and propaganda were a daily routine made famous by Lenin who invented the formula: Tell a lie often enough and it becomes the truth.
Even easier to smear anybody if you use unnamed sources. According to a close, but unnamed member of the Jackson family Michael took daily shots of the super-painkiller Demerol and had a shot an hour before he died.
Anyone see needle tracks on Michael's arms? An unnamed Jackson family source did. Noted on the autopsy? No info released yet. An unnamed source commenting on the body, "surprised at how healthy Jackson was."
Unnamed sources always seem to be very sure of themselves. Some very close to Michael say he lived on prescription drugs. Look how thin he was, how little he ate. Then one of the people he knew best, Grace Rwaramba from Rwanda on staff as an assistant and promoted to nanny his kids was reported as saying by Times Online that she often had to pump his stomach when he mixed his drugs. On a news video later she denied she ever said that she did, didn't know how to pump a stomach either. Then she went further in print, saying she never even spoke to Times Online. Her full rebuttal to the long and juicy Times Online article was published in The Huffington Post.
The two autopsies and the lab tests will finally tell us something about the cause of death when they're released in a month or so. For now, who and what can you believe?
Could Michael have been saved? The AEG concert promoter for Michael's comeback series in London, Randy Phillips and the tour's director, Kenny Ortega, both said he was in great shape the night before he died. The AEG This Is It video of Michael's rehearsal at the LA Staples Center 2 nights before he died [also at the above link] confirms he wasn't on a doped-up downer going into London. If he could have been saved, the only one who could have done it on the spot was his cardiologist, Dr Conrad Murray, who tried to resuscitate Michael when he found him collapsed in bed that catastrophic day in LA's Holmby Hills, still alive.
But Murray the cardiologist failed at CPR, and there was some delay in calling an ambulance. How long was that? 40 minutes until the ambulance arrived says The Guardian. Murray couldn't find a phone, but he had his own cell phone, but he didn't call because he didn't know the address where he himself was living, doctor in residence at Michael's Holmby Hills Estate, that any goofball at 911 would be able to track down by a street name or 5 blocks from you know where. Stupid shit if you're Michael Jackson's doctor and you're doing CPR on Michael's too soft a bed for CPR when Michael should be on the floor as the 911 Operator reminded him on the phone when Michael's security guy finally called 911. Stupid shit when you're supposed to be a cardiologist and you're not Board certified, letting that lapse last year, when you don't pay your debts in the hundreds of thousands of dollars to creditors who were after you because your heart clinic was flatlining, like Michael who died under your care.
If CPR doesn't work it's a bloody emergency and you get help. Murray said he never gave drugs like Demerol to Michael, but if Michael took an accidental overdose himself of something or other, CPR isn't going to help. You pump his stomach, you get him to a hospital for life support, a heart-lung machine, maybe a total blood transfusion when you suspect poisoning by unknown drugs, but when the ambulance came the paramedics still did CPR for another 45 minutes, though the nearest hospital was 6 minutes away. Stupid shit, but shit happens when you're stupid.
The LAPD tow away Murray's BMW that same day, oddly not really his anyway. Great. Smart. Could be full of AMA Journals. Why not check the mansion first before 2 vans clear out a mountain of potential evidence in broad daylight with news cameras rolling?
The first sensible thing Murray does is he gets a lawyer. Then he talks to the LAPD for 3 hours. No one says what happened, just that he was cooperative. Not a suspect. Yeah, great.
A little later Dr Deepak Chopra talks to Larry King on CNN. He says Michael asked him for Oxycontin, another major painkiller back in 2005 and Deepak refused. Deepak warned Michael about getting hooked on prescription pain meds, but Michael didn't want to talk about it, didn't return his calls later. Deepak talked around the problem with Michael so he could stay in touch with him. Said to Larry that there were plenty of enablers in LA, doctors who liked to hang around celebrities and prescribe whatever narcotics they wanted. No shortage either of plastic surgeons I'd add, who turned Michael into a freak.
With all the bullshit flying, was Deepak right about Michael? If Michael had his own enablers would he bother Deepak about an easily obtainable prescription drug? With a lot on his mind, with things going badly since the embarrassing Bashir documentary and new allegations suddenly surfacing, Michael then was in over his head in the biggest fight of his life. $18 Million in legal fees for the child molestation case that consumed the nation and Michael too. Not guilty on all counts. Maybe all Michael wanted was a little help from a friend he was staying with to numb his pain? Michael was a child after all, as everyone who knew him well always said.
But then there's another screaming media report I saw on TV a few days ago, but oddly not archived on the corporate website, that said Michael was spending $48,000 a month on prescriptions and owed his pharmacy $100,000 when he died. But if true why isn't this big story plastered everywhere? Hope somebody at the DEA has been watching the megaTV investigation for leads. Can't be sure of that either after the LAPD apparently missed the televised Big Joe Jackson Moving Day.
If that's really $48,000 a month for Michael's drugs that's way more than 2 bags full collected by the LAPD. Enough to stuff an SUV every month and even so, how much can a single human being consume? 20 tabs of Demerol per day would turn you into a cataleptic couch potato for less than $1200 a month.
What's known? What's proven? Nothing really. Dead like Elvis.
Michael was married for awhile to Elvis' daughter Lisa Marie Presley. She said Michael told her years ago he was worried he'd end up dead like Elvis. "He Knew" she wrote on MySpace the day after Michael died. A premonition, a guess, or fate? More questions, no answers.
Michael Jackson's public funeral/ceremonial is set for tomorrow Tuesday 10AM Los Angeles time at the Staples Center. 1.6 million people applied for 20,000 free tickets, but all the major U.S. TV networks are covering it. If you're abroad and don't have access, you should be able to catch it on the Internet, on E! Online and CNN Live.
Michael Jackson Videos
From AEG, a hot promo video in advance of the London shows on the casting and rehearsals for This Is It [alternate link] at the LA Staples Center.
From AEG, a last look at Michael [alternate link] from the LA Staples Center rehearsal 2 nights before he died.
*****UPDATE July 10, 2009
BBC: Jackson foul play 'not ruled out'
The head of Los Angeles police has refused to rule out murder in the investigation into the death of singer Michael Jackson, two weeks ago. . . .
*****UPDATE June 25, 2010 One Year Later
LaToya 2009 Tribute to June 25, 2010
A day in the life of the Michael Jackson Legend lights a fire on TV with a dozen tribute shows and interviews starting 8AM Friday. NYC Radio kicks in right through the weekend with live shows from the Apollo Friday afternoon with the Rev Al Sharpton's Tribute on WBLS 107.5 FM (listen live), then at 9PM "Throwback Comes to Harlem" on WRKS 98.7 FM (no Internet live feed, but watch their MJ videos on KISS FM TV).
Try MTV in between for "Michael Jackson Top 10 Video Countdown" 5-6:30PM, and "Michael Jackson's Influence" 6:30PM. Here's the full Jackson Friday TV/Radio schedule.
In Los Angeles fans will be making a quiet pilgrimage to nearby Forest Lawn cemetery, though the mausoleum will be open only for family and their guests.
In Gary Indiana, Michael's mother Katherine will dedicate a monument to her son outside the old family home where the Jackson Five started out. A candelight vigil follows with the song "We are the World".
Michael Jackson: A Second Life
From the patchy, inconsistent and conflicting media reports on the death of Michael Jackson, that were better at knocking him down while destroying his reputation in a similar frenzy not so long ago, what do you get? Enough confusion to spin out his tragic death for million$ more. Sorry Michael. A year later and "What's Left Behind" we're nowhere near the truth. But the legend lives on.
See Jackson perform in this clean no yakyak video 2 nights before his death at the Staples Center LA rehearsal.
Since then Jackson videos on Youtube and even official promos of the Staples rehearsals have been taken down by the moneymen. Buy the CD, see the movie, get the the DVD. But Jackson fans keep uploading new stuff like this Jackson concert mix (sorry deleted) but watch this one.
On the official This Is It movie site, there's a nice surprise. Watch a clean stack of Tributes and oldie Jackson videos like They Don't Care About Us, Thriller, Beat It and more.
On michaeljackson.com there's another bonus. Listen to some great audio demos on this link that starts up with a fabulous a cappella Beat It and then click for more tracks from the new This Is It CD. Finally everybody's right. The London show would have been impossible to beat.
--Alan Gillis/ NewsHammer