And here we have it folks. The last installment of an excellent, well-written and thorough piece from David Edwards at VindicateMJ:
I will close out this series by examining the well-intentioned but ineffective ways that fans try to defend Michael Jackson. Also, take note: you can follow me on Twitter @sanemjfan.
Now that we have dealt with how to handle MJ haters, let’s take a look at how some fans, despite their well intentions, have truly dropped the ball in vindicating MJ by using some of these same fallacies in their defense. Let’s take a look at some of the most widely used defenses by fans (I won’t repeat the definitions here):
Name-calling and Ad hominem arguments: A crucial mistake that I see many fans making is attacking anyone who is skeptical about MJ’s innocence as a “hater”, and that’s why I differentiated between a hater and a skeptic in the first part of this series. Calling someone names is very immature and childish, and will get you nowhere. If you want people to respect your views on MJ, you must conduct yourself as a mature adult who is capable of engaging civil dialogue with someone who doesn’t agree with you, instead of having a temper-tantrum like a two-year old who doesn’t get his way. That argument goes both ways! We can’t reduce ourselves down the level that most MJ haters reside!
Another mistake that I have heard over and over again is when fans reference MJ’s childlike personality or charitable endeavors when discussing the allegations. When you make that argument, you give the impression that you are just some “crazy, rabid” fan who is so “in love” with MJ that they don’t want to take the time to thoroughly research the facts, so instead you have to try and tug at people’s heartstrings and get them to feel sorry for MJ. This is no different than the parade of so-called “character witnesses” that have testified for Conrad Murray! No matter how nice he was to them, and no matter how many lives he saved, it doesn’t excuse what happened on June 25th, 2009, and whatever good deeds MJ accomplished cannot and will not ever rebut the allegations; only the presentation of exculpatory evidence through sound research into the facts will do that.
Ad hominem and name calling attacks can also be classified as red herrings, non sequitur attacks, and snow jobs, which were discussed in part 4.
Let’s look at what this legal analyst – a true analyst, not an entertainer! – Tamara Holder had to say about MJ after his death. She met him briefly in 2007 at a birthday party for Rev.Jesse Jackson:
There’s no question Michael Jackson, the King of Pop, leaves behind a legacy. He was considered the most famous man in the world. I had the opportunity to privately meet MJ in November 2007 at Rev. Jackson’s 66th birthday party at the Beverly Hilton in LA. Michael was sweet and genuine. He complimented my dress. I did, however, get the sense that he was empty inside and full of pain. It was at this meeting I believed there was no way he ever touched a child inappropriately or intentionally harmed anyone. Michael was a good man. And his love of Rev. Jackson as a longtime friend and advisor was obvious.
We all know that she meant well, but as a lawyer, she should know better than to say that! Don’t get me wrong, I’m not mad at her, but I’m just trying to point out the inherent weakness in her assertion. For her to say that she believes he was innocent because she met him ONE TIME at a birthday party will not get any skeptics to change their minds! And to prove that she’s a true legal analyst, as opposed to just another talking head, here is a post she wrote on July 28th, 2009, where she contrasted MJ’s death and Elvis Presley’s death and predicted that Murray would be charged with murder (which, as we all know, wasn’t the case, but she had the right intentions!)
Appeal to Heaven: This is another weak defense that I’ve occasionally heard from MJ fans, although not as often as some of the other aforementioned fallacies. Some fans have said things like “MJ was a gift from God, who was sent here to show us how to L.O.V.E. each other through the power of his songs and his charitable work, he united the world with his message, BLAH, BLAH, BLAH, etc.” This is a weak, ineffective, and unconvincing argument (just like every other fallacy we’ve discussed). There are many hypocrites in ALL religions that are extremely pious, loving, philanthropic, and yet they have committed all types of crimes, so merely being a Believer doesn’t refute the allegations. There is no reason to invoke MJ’s religious beliefs or philanthropy as a defense of him. In fact, with so much sexual abuse in organized religious organizations, this may make MJ look even more guilty!
The same thing applies when you refer to MJ’s personality, or his good works, or any other reason that doesn’t directly refute the facts!
I could go on and on, but you guys get the point (especially the long time readers of this blog). Now, let’s look at some video examples, and take note of how NOT to defend MJ! In this video clip from July 2nd, 2009, pop culture columnists Toure and David Wilson discuss whether or not there is too much coverage of MJ, and of course the host of the show, Dr. Nancy Snyderman, had to include those biased statistics to insinuate that whites cared less about MJ than blacks. (Another ad populum attack!) I transcribed the interview, just in case the video is ever removed.
Dr. Nancy Snyderman: And of course, the Jackson coverage raises a question: has the media been spending too much time covering the Michael Jackson story? Certainly it’s something you can’t get away from right now.
A new poll from the Pew Research Center shows that 64% of people surveyed thinks that the coverage of the Jackson story is excessive, 3% think too little, 29% just about right. But let’s take a look at the coverage, and how it’s seen through different eyes: African-Americans vs. White Americans. 70% of Whites thought there has been too much coverage, compared to just 38% of African-Americans, and another way of breaking down these numbers, and more than half of African-Americans said the coverage has been just right, compared to one in four whites, 25%.
Toure: Michael Jackson was the biggest star – not black star, the biggest star, period – of his period. He still in a moment of his fame, and we were already talking about him, and he’s still in the moment of his fame.
Dr. Nancy Snyderman: The bubble is still there.
Toure: So, sudden death, and the chair is pulled out from under us, so we’re in shock, and we need to talk about it. I don’t understand why all these white Americans are saying “it’s too much!” It’s a major American story. It’s not like the media is shoving it down; people want to hear about this.
David Wilson: He’s been around for 45 years, in American homes, for 45 years, so he’s an American icon, and he’s a treasure, so I think that, like you said (pointing to Toure) the fact that we lost him so suddenly pretty much shocked everybody.
Dr. Nancy Snyderman: Maureen Orth, who contributes to Vanity Fair and NBC, was pretty damning in what she said. “This man was a pedophile, this man had drug abuse, and we are, forgive the pun, whitewashing all of this……..
David Wilson: He never was convicted of anything, ….
Dr. Nancy Snyderman: No he was not, he was exonerated …..
Toure: He was repeatedly exonerated, that is correct. I think Maureen Orth, in particular, has been inappropriate at this time. He just died. Let us grieve as a nation. Let his body get into the ground. Let his spirit rest. Let’s take a moment, even a couple of months, if not a couple of years, before we come back to say, ‘OK, there are other parts of this story.’”
You’ve got to be kidding me, right? Dr. Snyderman mentions the comments that tabloid trash peddler Maureen Orth said shortly after MJ died, and the only thing they can say is “he was never convicted of anything”? Do you guys see how PATHETIC that defense is? MJ was accused multiple times of child abuse, and several of his employees claimed to have seen this child abuse, and he settled two civil lawsuits out of court, and he was stripped search, yet (according to Toure) we should “wait a couple of months, if not a couple of years” before we get to the truth of the allegations?” Has he lost his damn mind?!!
Let me take a moment to inject something into this conversation that I think needs to be said: these are two BLACK MEN who are essentially saying that we should “trust” the justice system. This is the same justice system that, over the years, has REPEATEDLY failed the black community by convicting innocent black people charged with crimes against whites, acquitting guilty white people charged with crimes against blacks, punishing black men with harsher and longer prison sentences than their white counterparts who are convicted of the same crime (look no further than drug convictions), but when it comes to Michael Jackson, the system all of a sudden “worked”?
When those four white cops were acquitted of beating Rodney King to a bloody pulp, no black person in America said that we should “trust the system”! (In fact, many blacks rioted after this verdict in 1992!) What about all of the Ku Klux Klan members who were never convicted of killing and lynching blacks? When it comes to Michael Jackson, all of a sudden we’re supposed to trust the justice system because he was exonerated? The same justice system that recently allowed an innocent black man named Troy Davis to be executed?
Also, did you notice Toure’s egregious error? He said that MJ was “repeatedly exonerated”, which is FALSE! Once again, I know he meant well, but that assertion simply isn’t true. Sneddon and Garcetti NEVER closed the 1993 case or exonerated MJ; they merely left it “open but inactive”. Here is a quote from Sneddon in February 2001:
Charges Against Jackson Stand, Says Prosecutor
Michael Jackson is not out of the woods.
So says Santa Barbara District Attorney Tom Sneddon, the man who brought child molestation charges against the singer in 1993.
Jackson is scheduled to deliver a speech tonight at Carnegie Hall on behalf of his Heal the Kids initiative. Although Sneddon can’t be there in person, he’s definitely arching an eyebrow from 3,000 miles away.
“The case against Michael Jackson was never closed, and he was never exonerated,” Sneddon says. “It’s in suspended animation and can be reopened at any time.”
Think about this for a moment: if you’re someone who has serious doubts about MJ’s innocence, and you heard those two idiots on TV say those things in response to Orth’s comments, would you be persuaded to believe MJ was innocent? Of course not! They didn’t provide any facts, and Toure acted like he wanted everyone to bury their head in the sand like an ostrich, and just pretend that those allegations didn’t exist. Their reactions VALIDATE Orth’s comments in the eyes of most skeptics, and definitely in the eyes of haters. They will say “Hey, why should Maureen Orth have to wait months or years to trash someone who she thinks is guilty of child abuse? How many years do we have to wait until we trash O.J. Simpson after he dies?”
Here is an excerpt of what she said the day after he died:
“He was surrounded by sycophants,” Orth continued, “He isolated himself so much, but honestly I think a lot of that isolation was self-imposed so he could play with little boys and do whatever he wants.”
“His celebrity got him off the charges when he had that trial,” Orth said of 2005. “As big a genius he was with music he was also that big a failure as a human being, in my opinion.”
“I think this ending is great for Michael,” Orth said when asked about his death and the outpouring of emotion and media blanketing. “He would have wanted to go out this way.”
Man, I WISH this video was still available, but unfortunately it has been removed (and this is why I transcribe videos before they’re deleted). What amazing analysis of the trial, huh? She summarized the trial in a single sentence, and gave the entire world the real reason that he was acquitted!
What’s truly sad is that her husband was the late, great Tim Russert, a highly respected political journalist and host of “Meet The Press”, and when he died there was an outpouring of prayers, condolences, and well-wishes from all over the world. Yet, she couldn’t extend that same courtesy to the Jackson family? She truly showed how callous, heartless, and classless she really is! And let me be clear about something: when she went on that show to make those comments, it was 100% premeditated! It’s not like she was already scheduled to be a guest on the show, and just happened to be asked about MJ’s death; she got up to be on that set when the show aired at 6:00am on Friday, June 26th, 2009 so that she could spew her venom at MJ while the fan community’s wounds were still fresh.
And if you think Orth’s views on MJ have changed over the last few years, think again! Here is an excerpt from an article written about her on March 15th, 2011:
Orth became a special correspondent in 1993 and since then has interviewed countless celebrities and political figures such as Vladimir Putin, Margaret Thatcher, Madonna and Michael Jackson.
Orth commented on how the increasing accessibility of celebrity news and the pervasiveness of the internet largely contribute to “one besotted planet feeling that connection to celebrity.”
“The celebrity industrial complex has grown rapidly like the fallout of the atomic bomb,” Orth said, giving the example of how Michael Jackson “was so addicted to fame he was willing to dangle his baby out the window.”
Michael Jackson was a subject of particular interest for Orth. Over a period of 12 years she interviewed hundreds of people concerning him and wrote a series of five investigative pieces about his life. This included investigations into his career, drug addictions, accusations of child molestation, the resulting trial and his death.
As you can clearly see, the authors of this article used the “blind loyalty” fallacy to trick gullible readers into thinking that her “research” is above reproach. They emphasize the title of “special correspondent” (as if that means anything), and the fact that she interviewed “hundreds” of people about MJ (which they fail to mention that those “hundreds” of people included Victor Gutierrez, the Hayvenhurst 5, the Neverland 5, Ray Chandler, former advisors who had been fired, etc.)
Even when she writes about her charitable endeavors with the Peace Corps, she STILL cannot miss an opportunity to throw in MJ’s name and bash him for no reason! Here is what she wrote in an LA Times op-ed on February 25th, 2011:
Just trying to fit in at any level as one constantly has to do in the Peace Corps has served me in good stead, whether I was listening to heartbreaking tales of naive, star-struck parents allowing their little boys to spend too much time with Michael Jackson or uncovering Arianna Huffington’s fierce loyalty and reliance on her odd guru, John-Roger, to cite just two examples.
See what I mean? There she goes again, playing the “phantom victim” card! She and her buddy Diane Dimond spoke to all those parents who were sooooooo afraid of pressing charges against MJ for fear of media attention, but they were brave enough to tell (or possibly sell?) their stories to two tabloid journalists? Gimme a break!
Let’s look at some examples of how some fans have valiantly tried to defend MJ by discussing his childlike personality, and how it has backfired and been misconstrued! Once again, here is Bill O’Reilly’s interview with Rep. Peter King, and let’s listen to what they say at 4:00:
O’Reilly tried to play “devil’s advocate” by asking King to react to fans’ defenses (or as he perceived it, excuses) of MJ’s behavior by saying “the people who know Jackson say that he was the product of an arrested development, and he was a child in his own mind, and I think that speaks to the way that he conducted his life. He was not an adult in an emotional way.” He then goes on to MISQUOTE MJ by saying that MJ said that he “slept with children only because he loved them and wanted to be close to them, and there was no sexuality involved.” (Michael NEVER said this! He merely said he gave the bed to the kids when they asked for it.)
As you can see from King’s reaction, he wasn’t having it! To him, it sounded like a copout from some crazy fan, and he completely dismissed it. That is the last thing you want a hater or skeptic to do! Your defense of MJ must be unassailable, and King cut through that argument like a hot knife through butter! What most fans don’t realize is that when you say things like that about MJ’s personality, it doesn’t exonerate him; instead, it makes him look even MORE guilty because skeptics and haters are likely to believe that he truly did abuse children, but out of ignorance or curiosity instead of a sexual desire!
Think about this: when quack psychologist Stanly Katz described MJ as a “regressed 10-year-old” to a police detective in a taped phone interview, did that exonerate MJ of the allegations, in their minds? Of course not! The cop sat there and acknowledged that he AGREED with Katz, and yet the so-called “investigation” continued! Here is an excerpt:
In a taped June 2003 telephone interview, Katz, 55, gave a Santa Barbara sheriff’s investigator his “off the record” opinion of the 46-year-old entertainer.
Jackson, Katz told Det. Paul Zelis, “is a guy that’s like a 10-year-old child. And, you know, he’s doing what a 10-year-old would do with his little buddies. You know, they’re gonna jack off, watch movies, drink wine, you know.
And, you know, he doesn’t even really qualify as a pedophile. He’s really just this regressed 10-year-old.”
“Yeah, yeah, I agree,” replied Zelis.
Whenever you’re discussing (or arguing) with someone about the “he sleeps with kids” issue, follow Mesereau’s example! Let’s look at what he said shortly after the trial, beginning at 4:50:
Notice that all he did was refute the myth that MJ didn’t have girls around, and he clarified the facts, and THAT’S IT. He didn’t sit there and give MJ a mental diagnosis as if he was MJ’s personal psychiatrist! That is ALL you have to do! Just debunk the myths, state the facts, stay away from giving a psychiatric evaluation of MJ, and you’ll be fine! Because, as you have already seen, the “he never had a childhood” spiel can get twisted and distorted very easily!
And not only that, but when you “misdiagnose” MJ ‘s personality like that, it validates that belief that some people have of MJ being “mentally disturbed”, and therefore not deserving of any honor or respect!
Here’s another example: Jermaine’s well-intentioned but awful interview with Piers Morgan. Let’s listen to how he described MJ allowing kids to sleep in his bed, beginning at 3:15:
And in case that video is ever deleted, here’s the transcript:
MORGAN: I remember — I remember all that. And it just always struck me that I didn’t know enough about the reality of the truth, certainly not in the position that you were. It just seemed to me that Michael, he did stuff that was — to the public, just looked a bit inappropriate, especially as he got older. Did you ever think as his big brother of warning him, it may not be a good idea to have sleep-overs with young boys, because people won’t get it? They won’t understand what you’re doing.
JACKSON: See, but I’m the same way, because what’s wrong with sleep- overs? What’s wrong with sleep-overs with — with kids? It’s only the demented mind that thinks something different. It’s like Michael said it best, why do you — why do you relate the bed to sex? We can have sex standing up. We can have sex in the car, outside, on the ground. And during those times when he was sharing his bed, he was on the floor. But at the same time, these are people’s minds who were demented. Like they were saying Neverland was used to bring in kids and to molest them. And when you go to Neverland, the wheelchair ramp going up to the rides. He was concerned about bringing the joy to kids who were terminally ill, who were dying of all types of diseases. This is — this is a man who lived his life according to God’s will. This is a man who really cared about people. And it’s so sad, because this world didn’t look at that until after he was dead. And he was trying to say this all along while he was alive.
MORGAN: But when you watched the Martin Bashir interview, the infamous interview, clearly Michael did that to try and set the record straight, and, if anything, made it 10 times worse. When you watched that, what did you feel about that interview?
JACKSON: Well, first of all, Martin Bashir needs to be slapped and he never should have been around Michael. And there again, Michael trusted. And — and see, why this — there’s a question for us, why does people in the media want to say the most horrible things about someone, knowing that they have all the right intentions to do good?
MORGAN: I guess the answer, if I’m putting my media hat back on, because I worked in newspapers at the time of all that, is that it’s not normal — I use that word in, you know, just in a straightforward way — for a guy of, say, 44, to be sharing a bed with a boy of 12. That — it’s not what most men of 44 do. So when the public hear about this —
JACKSON: But how do you know that?
MORGAN: — or the media —
JACKSON: How do you know that?
MORGAN: I just —
JACKSON: How do you know that?
MORGAN: I just guess — I don’t anybody like that.
JACKSON: No, but you can’t just guess, because see, that happens all over the world and people don’t think of that as people —
MORGAN: But do you believe that?
JACKSON: Yes. Yes.
MORGAN: You do?
JACKSON: Absolutely. Absolutely.
MORGAN: I don’t think it does.
JACKSON: Yes, it does, because —
MORGAN: And I’m not casting aspersion over Michael. I’m saying I don’t think it does happen all over the world. Was Michael too innocent for this modern world, do you think?
MORGAN: You really believe that, that he was just from a different era?
JACKSON: He was from the era that — that we were from. I wish that we were around him more to tell him, Michael, get this person away from you because they have a hidden agenda, whether it was the — all the people who accused him of — of the — of the child molestation, but at the same time, he saw the good in people, the good.
Oh boy, where do I start? Yes, I know Jermaine loves his brother, and tried to defend him the best way he could, but (to use a baseball analogy) he completely struck out! Just imagine if he said that to Bill O’Reilly instead of Piers Morgan, who was very easy on him! O’Reilly would have eaten him alive! He would have pounced on Jermaine’s “what’s wrong with sleepovers with kids?” comment by saying “You set yourself up to be accused of misconduct, that’s what’s wrong!”
When you compare Mesereau’s eloquence to Jermaine’s inarticulateness, the results couldn’t be more disparate!
Just imagine what a skeptic would say after watching that clip? They would say “If MJ and his family felt that cavalierly about him sharing his bed/bedroom, especially after what happened in 1993, then he got what he deserved! I’m so sick of these lunatic, crazy, rabid MJ fans telling me that I’m supposed to care about clearing his legacy, and getting justice for his murder!”
This mentality is something that conservative commentator Matt Drudge discussed on his radio show in 2005, and at 7:56 he gave a valid reason why people should care!
At the very moment they’re making this wonderful video, and they said they were coached, the problem is the guy making the video was German, and he barely spoke English! How did he coach them for an hour and tape the whole thing? This is a disaster! Sneddon is a disaster, as far as I can tell. And you can say “Why do you care so much about this Drudge? What’s in it for me? Why should I be worried about Michael Jackson? Every time I see his face I get creeped out, the music sucks, maybe if he gets back with Quincy Jones we’ll listen again”, you know, that whole rap. Because what can happen to an individual, when you have overzealous prosecutors in this country, is frightening! And this is the story of the Michael Jackson case, in my opinion. 100 search warrants. Photos of his genitalia and his arse. And I know many of you don’t want to think of Michael Jackson in those terms. But Sneddon photographed his privates! Sneddon did! And if he did it to Michael Jackson, he could do it to you! Think about that!
Drudge is 10,000% correct in his assertions! It truly is frightening what can happen when not only overzealous prosecutors, but corrupt judges and police officers too, decide they want to make an example out of somebody for their own personal gain! And if you don’t believe me, then go ask those Duke Lacrosse players!
So, in closing, when you defend MJ, just stick to the facts, remember those questions and talking points that I gave you in a previous post, avoid using the fallacies that I’ve discussed in this series, and follow Mesereau’s example whenever you discuss MJ’s bed sharing, and you’ll be able to hold your own against any MJ hater or skeptic!
Now, let’s end this series on a happy note! Over the past 2 and a half years, I’ve heard nearly every ridiculous excuse as to why MJ is guilty, and I’m at a point now that whenever someone tries to convince me that MJ is guilty, the video below perfectly illustrates all that I hear!
And I also experience the same physical reaction that Peppermint Patty experienced in the clip, too!