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June 25, 2010

The Jacksons: Where Are They Now?

Posted: 06:13 PM ET

Los Angeles, California (CNN) - Michael Jackson's death instantly changed the lives of his family and friends. The weeks immediately after the pop icon died were chaotic, and many questions are still unanswered for those closest to Jackson.

Michael's children

The day their father died, Prince Michael, 13, Paris, 12, and Blanket, 8, moved in with their grandmother Katherine Jackson at the Encino, California, home where Michael once lived with his family.

The home is filled with memories of their father, including many photos of a young Michael Jackson. The theater room of the large house was converted into a classroom where they've been home-schooled for the past year.

The grassy yard of the Encino estate is often filled with Michael's kids playing ball with four cousins - the sons of Jackson brothers Jermaine and Randy - who have lived there the past year with their mother.

They share a computer with internet access, which resulted in fans getting a rare and candid look at Blanket's dancing, acting and light saber skills when several videos were uploaded to YouTube in April.

While Jackson kept his children shrouded in privacy during his life, they have appeared at a handful of public events to honor their father since his death.

(READ MORE)

Filed under: Michael Jackson


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babycarie   June 25th, 2010 6:15 pm ET

Leave his children alone...and I really do not care where anyone is but Michael...dancing with God and finally at peace.


TRUE-TO -YOU   June 25th, 2010 6:21 pm ET

oh my gosh its record breaking
all these blogs that you are making
but it wont be the death of me
i am keeping up can you not see
but i think my hard drive is gonna snap
my one true king i want you back

i believe i will be there its all for love love is free


Smith in Oregon   June 25th, 2010 6:24 pm ET

Best regards and the fondest of memory's for Farrah Fawcett, who also left us all one year ago today. May she rest in peace.


babycarie   June 25th, 2010 6:26 pm ET

I want to blog...not post and leave for a day and return to post again!!!!


TRUE-TO -YOU   June 25th, 2010 6:50 pm ET

'@babycarie

let me give you some advice
its family first so do think twice
so in between with baby stay
and post again another day
cos baby might make that first smile
so dont miss it cos its so worthwhile

i believe i will be there its all for love love is free


cocovelvet   June 25th, 2010 6:54 pm ET

Hi Babycarie........ How are you on this emotional day ?? I hope little Carie is also doing very fine and sleeping sweetly in her mum's arms.

Just can't imagine its truely one year since we have all been mourning MJ, and worse enough a lot of questions still hanging out there unanswered. Anyway, have you heard anything of our dearest Ancle Arnie A.K.A Frog attack Eyes ?? Hope he won't start getting his usual hysterical behaviour at this moment...... I would just faint.


lois48   June 25th, 2010 6:54 pm ET

Thank you for posting an update about Michael's family. They are a very important part of his history and legacy. They are Michael's family and he respected and loved them dearly. I will continue to support the family because they are a part of Michael; they are the one's that grew up with Michael, raised Michael and supported and loved Michael and will always love him.

I only have love and support for the family.


babycarie   June 25th, 2010 8:06 pm ET

Yes...rest in peace both Michael and Farrah. Farrah fought such a hard battle with cancer...she is a hero!!


Purple Haze   June 25th, 2010 8:21 pm ET

An action doesn't have to be wrong just because it is not logical. It doesn't have to be right just because it has its logic.


sandyhouston   June 25th, 2010 8:48 pm ET

And so I return to the place where it all started for me after learning of Michael's passing. I was devastated then and heartbroken now. My comfort comes in knowing where he is now, his Eternal home. At peace with a heart full of joy.
Michael thank you for making me a better person. I will carry on the words you spoke...."But I will never stop helping and loving people the way Jesus said to."
My prayers go out to the Jackson family. I could see on your faces today that the grief has never left you. May you find a little comfort in seeing and knowing how much love and respect Michael's fans have for him. Paris, Prince and Blanket ~ take your daddy's love and his love of God and carry it with you always. Make your daddy proud in whatever you do in life. God bless you sweet angels. <3


pam   June 25th, 2010 9:43 pm ET

now Its all about l.o.v.e. his children and his family.

MICHAEL JACKSON THE KING OF POP A LEGEND
GONE BUT NOT FORGOTTEN !!


ckesling   June 25th, 2010 9:51 pm ET

god bless the family, and bless his children... michael loved his children so much... rest in peace michael, you are missed !!!


Jessie from Auckland, NZ   June 25th, 2010 10:02 pm ET

@TRUE-TO -YOU June 25th, 2010 6:21 pm ET

LOL! It has gone crazy again. Hmmm!


Jessie from Auckland, NZ   June 25th, 2010 10:07 pm ET

@babycarie June 25th, 2010 6:26 pm ET

I want to blog...not post and leave for a day and return to post again!!!
===

You mean to chatroll isn't it. You don't own the blogs by the way. Show some respect.


monica   June 25th, 2010 10:17 pm ET

I WAS ALWAYS A MICHAEL JACKSON FAN I WILL REMAIN A MICHAEL JACKSON FAN HIS MEMORY AND MUSIC LIVES ON


Jessie from Auckland, NZ   June 25th, 2010 10:18 pm ET

Great to see Michael's children are thriving and growing up into normal, beautiful children and enjoying life. Michael will be proud of them. He has done a good job bringing them up.

Michael's Family look very loving and stay close together. They have been through a lot but they still come out smiling and supportive of one another and others.

May God watch over them all.


Jessie from Auckland, NZ   June 25th, 2010 10:20 pm ET

Remembering beautiful Farrah Fawcett at this time too. RIP.


Bundtcake   June 25th, 2010 10:24 pm ET

i rememember michael when i was a little girl i carried my portatable record player around listening to i want you back and Ben i will never forget Michael i can feel his mothers pain i also loss a child it is something you learn to live with by the grace of God but the pain is everlasting. My prayers is with Michael and his familily. May God Bless


TRUE-TO -YOU   June 25th, 2010 10:24 pm ET

to be the best that you can be
it begins with love from family
its where the seeds of love are sown
and blossomed in the family home
they are the ones that hold you tight
and keep you safe day and night
and if in life things do go wrong
the families love will keep you strong
it is a love that will not betray
it will protect and always stay
a families love is pure gold
the strongest love for you to hold
a families love is forever and a day
i do believe its the jacksons way

i believe i will be there its all for love love is free


"Pixie Dust "   June 25th, 2010 10:47 pm ET

True-To-You,Beautiful poem.about family,yes I would say it is the Jackson way.Thanks for sharing (Smiles) to you.


letta(IbeLIEve)   June 25th, 2010 11:15 pm ET

@Lois 48
Hi . Your Post was nicely stated. thank you for stating that . Hugs Letta

@
Family , Family not matter what. The Good and The Bad. Family, is there from day one, and will be there at the end. In between there are lots of disagreements with each other, fights, laughter , and at the end of the day their still love one another. That's what Michael has, just like we do. We may not agree with what some things our members of the family do but we still are family. So let's treat his family like it would be if it was our own personal family. Love them as you love Michael,. Hugs, Letta


babycarie   June 25th, 2010 11:27 pm ET

COCO!!
No...no word from our beloved Frog attack demerol doc!! I predict he will come out from under his rock to dispute the stuff Jermaine has said about him during his LK interview. Kleiny and Murray, sitting in a cell...they can both just go to ....!!! :)
Love you my sweet Coco!!!


"Pixie Dust "   June 25th, 2010 11:33 pm ET

letta,that was such a lovely post you made at 11:15 pm.I agree with you 100%,Sending (Smiles) your way.


rose   June 26th, 2010 12:37 am ET

Dear larry, it was scary and sad to hear Jermaine talk about how individuals at the Dr. who killed MJ, he said they were laughing. There are many cold, heartless, ruthless persons who are without a soul. They can kill, murder, and geel nothing, more animal than human. There will be justice for the innocent. Smile Jermaine.


Lori - Justice for Michael   June 26th, 2010 2:46 am ET

I continue to pray for all the Jacksons. They will need all of their strength. They want and need justice. And then maybe they will have closure.

It is so nice to see so many of the original bloggers back on the LKL.

@Sandy Houston–keep an eye out for Murray! Did you hear he saved another life today?

@Coco..Good to see you too. I still cannot believe it has been a year already...and still no real answers to anything. I was at out old Yahoo page...I am glad that we all found each other for support.

JUSTICE FOR MICHAEL 8)
DR. QUACK IS WACK


Antie Tougbay   June 26th, 2010 3:48 am ET

When M.J die, I was in school and some girl came in and starte laughing and said that M.J, was dead. When she said that ,I didn,t belive her until I got home and put CNN on. I cry every night, like he was my father. When I was in Africa, I hear about M.J but never watch his music video until I enter the U.S.A. The first time I watch his music video was in school and felt in love with him. Since that, I have been a big fan. I pray every night for his familys. Only God know why he took M.J. I love him and will away do.


Antie Tougbay   June 26th, 2010 3:53 am ET

Your comment is awaiting moderation.
When M.J die, I was in school and some girl came in and starte laughing and said that M.J, was dead. When she said that ,I didn,t belive her until I got home and put CNN on. I cry every night, like he was my father. When I was in Africa, I hear about M.J but never watch his music video until I enter the U.S.A. The first time I watch his music video was in school and felt in love with him. Since that, I have been a big fan. I pray every night for his familys. Only God know why he took M.J. I love him and will alway do.


Jessie from Auckland, NZ   June 26th, 2010 9:25 am ET

@TRUE-TO -YOU June 25th, 2010 10:24 pm ET
@letta(IbeLIEve) June 25th, 2010 11:15 pm ET

Quite true what you have said about family. Thank you.

I am the youngest in a family of eight and can relate to what you have both written. So I am nodding my head in agreement.

You may go your separate ways, but that family bond will always tie you together, no matter what happens. It is very strong usually.


Jessie from Auckland, NZ   June 26th, 2010 8:58 pm ET

Also good to see Michael's children enjoying themselves on a holiday in Hawaii. Nothing like a tropical holiday to revive the soul.

They are growing up quite fast and seem to change with each photo. Lovely how they are doing.


Maura   June 27th, 2010 4:28 am ET

@Letta
Awesome post about family Letta! Very true indeed about families. Yes, no family is perfect because no human is perfect. I know my family and I bug each other sometimes but that doesn't change the fact we love each other sooo much! Yes what matters is that the family sticks together. I agree Michael has a very beautiful family that are there for him and love him very much. Finally, I also agree that we should love his family like our own too. They are a special part of Michael. Lots of love and thank you for wonderful post! :)


"Pixie Dust "   June 27th, 2010 11:29 am ET

Jessie from Auckland, NZ your post June 26 at 8:58 pm ,yes that is good to hear I am sure they are having a lot of fun.Yes it is wonderful that they are doing so well (Smiles) to you.


Nicole   June 27th, 2010 10:06 pm ET

I was so happy to hear the family is doing well. I Love Michael Jackson the Greatest Entertainer that ever lived!


Alexis (from Detroit, MI)   June 27th, 2010 11:53 pm ET

My heart really goes out to MJ's kids, I know that June 25th 2009 is a day that will forever be vivid in their minds. GOD bless mother Katherine and the rest of the Jacksons family, the kids certainly need all of you to be able to pull through this horrible horrible tragedy. We've all lost someone that is only gonna come around ONCE in our lifetime, let us not forget all that he means to us, and all that he stood for.

R.I.P my angel


Nancy   June 28th, 2010 12:43 pm ET

Loved the Larry King interview with Jermaine. He is so sincere and brave. The Jackson family needs to continue to speak up for Michael and to spread his message to the world.

Jermaines comments about Michaels grave site and Neverland was so sweet and cute. I hope Neverland becomes a fun tribute to honor Michaels life. It sounds like a great idea to honor Michaels message.


mariam   June 28th, 2010 1:22 pm ET

Your a very blessed family with strong family ties that stand the winds of time. Please make sure Michael gets justice he deserves it.


Maria Copelli   June 29th, 2010 4:05 pm ET

Maura,hoping you are enjoying the summer! I know you are! Love Maria C..


Maria Copelli   July 10th, 2010 7:25 am ET

Nancy thank you for saying such kind things about Jermaine! I am sure Michael too would Love to read positive things about his family ,wouldnt we all? Love to you ,Maria C.


HOLLYROCK   July 13th, 2010 9:10 pm ET

DEAR JACKSON FAMILY, I THANK GOD FOR THERE BEING ONLY ONE SET OF FOOTPRINTS IN THE SAND FOR YOU. AND AS YOU ARE BEING CARRIED BY HIM, KNOW THAT IT IS GOD'S GOOD PLEASURE TO DO SO. I LOVE YOU.


Cat   July 26th, 2010 8:56 am ET

I miss you michael SO much. Finally you are in peace in heaven, but you are ALWAYS remembered. Your kids love you, family, and me as well. Rest in peace, Michael Jackson.


Cat   July 26th, 2010 9:06 am ET

Michael when i found out you passed away i was at my Grandma's house for three nights. I actually stayed up the whole night that you passed away thinking about you.
RIP MICHAEL -- I will love you and your family forever, God bless you all. Thank you Katherine for taking good care of Prince, Blanket, Paris.
I am also glad to see that Mikeys kids are doing well. It makes me happy to hear that they are enjoying life, but holding on to their dads memories – FOREVER. After the tragity they have gone through, God bless them.


Marilyn   October 24th, 2010 3:14 pm ET

Please read and share a very powerful article

–The American Public Must Demand Honest Journalism.–

by Forbes Everett Landis

What does our silence about the attacks on one of the most visible achievers of the American Dream say? Are we not forfeiting our children's future into the hands of bullies? Is it not time for us to speak up about the damage opportunistic journalism is doing to our culture?

Last year, the news of pop-superstar Michael Jackson's premature death shocked the world. As I am a classical music fan, not a connoisseur of pop music or any of its stars, Jackson's death did not immediately evoke any particular emotion in me. I just let it go.

But as the days went by, and as I passively soaked in more and more news reports on Jackson's death, I began to feel increasingly uncomfortable. A man had passed away: What need was there for the media to so eagerly show humiliating images of how Jackson would have looked on his death-bed? I was prompted to look into the case more thoroughly.

After more than a year, although I am not now nor ever will be a Michael Jackson fan, and despite my sometimes skeptical view of the frenzied remarks often made by Jackson's hard-core followers, I feel the need to say this:

To keep the American dream alive for our children, we should stop abusing our talented and creative spirits out of jealousy and misunderstanding.

Jackson had to deal with the media condemning him as strange, weird, and even labeling him a freak, both figuratively and literally. My opinion about this is clear: Though at times, to subjective eyes, Jackson might have looked ‘different,' half of this eccentricity was due to the fact that he was born to be an artist inevitably different from others because of his imaginative and creative nature, and half because he was forced into being so unconventional by a degree of media pressure few, if any, have ever experienced. Being different from others does not equate being harmful to others. As long as one does not violate others' human rights, one has the right to be him or herself. In a society that prioritizes human rights and freedom, I find no justification for attacks on people who are perceived to be ‘different.' These kinds of attacks are especially sordid when they involve the spreading of knowingly false rumors for financial gain. After Jackson's acquittal on alleged child related charges in 2005, several journalists, such as Aphrodite Jones, came forward to confess that most of the media in attendance intentionally put objectivity aside in covering the Michael Jackson case by fragmenting the facts divulged in court, reporting only anti-Jackson information.

The human race has quite often owed its scientific or artistic progress to the "weird" and the "eccentric." Let us consider, for example, Galileo Galilei, who was charged for openly discussing Copernican theory, a concept seen as sinful and roundly condemned at that time; later, of course, this theory went on to become the accepted standard of scientific understanding of the universe. We might also stop to consider how treasonable the very idea of democracy once was, how dangerous the aristocracy felt it to be; later, democracy became the world's prevailing political philosophy. We can also remember that the concept of equality between : women and men, different ethnicities, or diverse religions, was derided when it emerged. Also, had she not thought differently from others, might Mother Teresa not have been a stay-at-home mom instead of traveling to India and risking her life for humanity?

Keeping the history of these exceptional ideas and people in mind, I can almost guarantee that if one had killed all the "weirdoes" among our Australopithecine ancestors 3.5 million years ago, our species might not have made it to the 21st Century. We might very well have just remained a much more primitive species, one without the use of fire and the wheel, let alone an orchestra, democracy, or computers. Is it not, after all, diversity that allows for evolution?

In other words, "weirdness" is sometimes the inevitable result of an exceptional imaginative ability that sees no boundaries in search of all the creative possibilities. As long as such individuals do us no harm, we should let them be. It is our duty to be respectful of those who are different not only because every human being is entitled to freedom, but also because diversity is at the root of human survival.

To those who regard Jackson's soft voice altered skin tone or facial appearance as weird, I would simply say this: You are revealing your own nature, at best : narrow-minded or obtuse ; at worst – unkind and bigoted. Nobody's holy scripture deems it acceptable to criticize the physical appearance of people who have contributed so generously to the voiceless.

To those who think that the Jackson's spoken voice was peculiar, I would say that I see no significance in it. The spoken voice cannot be uncoupled from the singing voice that so many lauded. It might also be helpful for you to consider this information in order to broaden your understanding of the global context: there are countries where people respect those who speak softly, in a calm, non-aggressive manner. The American standard, where a loud voice seems necessary to assertiveness, is not the only standard in the world.

To those who criticize the 'King of Pop' for purchasing Neverland, I pose this question: Would you have survived without buying a Neverland-sized residential property if you were in reality never able to explore any place alone without being horded by an ensuing media and public frenzy whenever you stepped out of your front door? A huge residence with a vast garden might have been the only possible way for this worldwide megastar to relax and enjoy some fresh air without constant intrusion from the public. After all, Jackson earned his money though incredible hard work and a perfectionist work-ethic. In light of his Guinness record-making support of no less than 39 charities, it may very well be hypocritical to criticize his spending habits.

Having demonstrated that there is nothing inherently wrong with living unconventionally, the question now turns to whether or not Jackson ever harmed anyone with his behaviors. Here I will discuss the child related allegations leveled against him. -

In discussing the two instances of allegations Jackson was faced with, I would like to focus my attention primarily on the 1993 case due to the fact that the more recent (2003-2005) accusations ended with Jackson receiving a full legal acquittal on all counts, the extremely low credibility of the accuser's mother playing a significant factor in this exoneration. In other words, Jackson was found not-guilty so I believe we must discount this case.

Considering that the laws of most U.S. states set down one's right to sue anyone without being counter-sued solely in retribution for one's lawsuit, this means that one can safely sue anyone they wants to sue. Thus, the extortion of popular and wealthy persons is an increasingly attractive ploy for those seeking a quick buck. Fast and easy money may once have come at a personal price, that being distrust from one's community. But, with cities growing ever larger and more impersonal, an individual's local reputation is of gradually thinning importance, resulting in more room for thievery. To some mischief minded, the risk of exposure as an extortionist might thus seem lower when compared to the potentially enormous financial benefits of a scam. As a result, a millionaire, especially one whose professional value is greatly magnified by popularity, is more vulnerable than ever. According to the National Center for Child Abuse and Neglect, in 1998, 71% of the abuse reports were revealed to be false or unfounded. The false accusation rate even rises to over 90% when a custody battle and money is involved (as was the case between the plaintiff's parents in the 1993 allegations against Jackson, who was a friend of the child's mother). In the 1993 case, the charges never went to trial but were settled out of court.

The record illustrates that the financially troubled accuser's father had previously approached Jackson's representatives with a monetary request well before he sued for the alleged molestation, demonstrating that he would have refrained from filing suit in exchange for money. Would any parent with real care for the well-being of his or her children make such a deal?

As evidence for my position, I present the recorded phone conversation in which the accuser's father is heard to say that everything [is] going "according to a certain plan," that he would win "big time" and that Jackson would be ruined forever. These words sounds far more like the words of a mercenary than those of a father concerned with justice for his son.

It should also be emphasized that Jackson was never indicted on the 1993 allegations, even after an intensive 13-month investigation including interviews with over 400 witnesses in and out of the country, extensive searches of his residential properties, and even a 25 minute full-body examination in which Jackson had every part of his body photographed, videotaped and examined. And in the six years before the statute of limitation had expired, no criminal charges were ever filed. After the District Attorney's office spent millions of tax payer dollars in hot pursuit of the singer, had they found any evidence of molestation, they would have been certain to indict Jackson. Civil settlement does not prevent criminal indictment. The 13-year-old boy at the center of the allegations refused to testify criminally and his father, the main individual behind the allegations, committed suicide within months of Jackson's death.

Having discussed the mischaracterization of what people might dismiss as "weird," and having made plain the falsity of the allegations made against Jackson, accusations that in my view look suspiciously extortionate, I would now like to consider the moral impact that Jackson might have had on our society.

Regarding integrity, Jackson's deeds and lifestyle, apart from the media's fabricated stories, remained consistently appropriate. In fact, his decency made him look almost old-fashioned, even when he was young, when compared with many entertainers' indulgences in sex, alcohol, and drugs. Interviews with Jackson indicated that he felt it highly inappropriate to remark publicly on his sexual life. This, as far as I am concerned, is an example of his dignity and modesty. However, this very reserve may ironically have fueled baseless speculation about Jackson's sexual orientation. I wish to ask : is publicly questioning a person's sexual life not way more inappropriate than that person's choice of silence out of a desire for privacy regarding the same? The fact that Jackson was not involved in a multitude of sex scandals with women, a fact which should normally invite respect, seems unfairly to have been justification for the media to pathologize Jackson. It is beyond ridiculous to construct the lack of lasciviousness and scandal as itself scandalous and suspect.

Many people have also remarked that Jackson did not curse at all, especially when he was younger. Only after suffering numerous hate campaigns founded on falsehoods did he insert a very small amount of profanity into his songs, in response to a world which had betrayed him so deeply. Even then, his use of profanity stayed away from vitriolic attacks , but came across more as an artistic expression of deep anguish.

Jackson also faced many accusations regarding his appearance. But, turning this around, what might this suggest about those themselves who so scrutinized the way he looked? What does it say about their own biases ? And about the people who claimed to know details about every surgical procedure Jackson allegedly had, calling him a freak without even having seen him actually ?
After the 2003 allegations, the media repeatedly and mockingly displayed pictures of Jackson in an emaciated state, not out of concern for his well-being, but seemingly simply in order to label him a freak. It may very well be argued that Jackson was indeed beginning to look fairly thin, but doesn't taking somebody's tired physical appearance as direct evidence of inner abnormality only reveal our own superficiality ? Maybe , just maybe anyone else would have looked equally fatigued had they suffered the anguish of having to relentlessly fight vicious and false allegations.

On the topic of morality : Which is more admirable, giving people hope by regularly visiting and donating to hospitals and orphanages, or telling scandalous stories based on speculation or lies? Which is more despicable, pursuing an exceptionally rigorous dedication to artistic perfection, or giving in to jealousy and greed to bring down an artist? The tabloid press, of course, uses this strategy on most celebrities and public figures. One might argue that Michael Jackson had learned to use the press as cynically as it used him, that he , especially in the early days, once believed that "all publicity is good, even bad publicity," because it keeps their names in people's minds. One might even go so far as to say that Jackson purposely flaunted his eccentricities to generate press. He did, after all, have a fine artistic sense of the dramatic, with drama selling newspapers. And Jackson always managed to keep his fame burning bright, even when he was not producing any new songs. As elaborated below, my issue, however, is not with Jackson's handling of the media. Rather it is about what the media's handling of Jackson says about societal norms and ethics.

Critics have accused Jackson of not opposing false information adamantly enough. Pondering that charge, I suspect that having been abused by the media intrusiveness from his early days in the spotlight, Jackson might have come to feel vulnerable and victimized. Having been taught by his parent always to be nice to the media and to his fans, he might have felt he should not defend himself too vigorously for fear of losing his popularity. Furthermore, had Jackson taken the time to fight every rumor thrown his way, he would not have had time to be Michael Jackson, the artist as he did explain to a close friend. In the end ,we must ask ourselves, who is more faithful and true, a person who calls someone a freak without knowing him personally and without possessing any evidence of wrongdoing, or a person who shows patience and courage in the face of hostility and simply expresses who he really is by letting his work speak for itself?

Some might argue that the attacks Jackson had to suffer from the media and from consumers can be justified as a natural price to pay for the fame and fortune. No, I say. That is too high a price being charged from a human being. Those attacks had exceeded all justifiable limits, And I wish to note that he was not paid to endure pain, but for his relentless efforts and dedication to his craft.

We first explored "weirdness" as necessary and beneficial diversity, specifically addressing the fact that Jackson's physical appearance and spoken pitch seem irrelevant to his achievements. We then found that allegations of unethical behavior on Jackson's part were in truth baseless. Then we analyzed Jackson's non-aggressive stance during TV interviews, not as demonstration of guilt but as a sign of decorum. Lastly, we found that the cost of fame seems an insufficient justification for the extraordinary personal attacks Jackson went through.

We will now consider the implications of the behavior of the media and the public during the course of Michael Jackson's career. The American media have disgraced themselves by displaying to the world the schoolyard bullying of a talented and creative soul with great philanthropic achievements . Now consider how this public bullying of a legendary figure might present itself to a new generation of youth, how it might play out in their minds and affect their morale ... Might this type of public bullying not discourage the youngsters of today from pursuing their own creativity, their own inner diversity, for fear that they themselves might incur such abuse ?

The coverage of Michael Jackson's life poses among others, these questions to America: Does fulfilling the American Dream require that one subject oneself to unending media intrusion, to lies about oneself for the sake of selling newspapers, and where one unproven accusation is enough to be convicted in the court of national opinion ? Do you want your children to live in a world where pursuing the American Dream involves the risks of a nightmare of mistrust and abuse?

I refer again to the journalists who later admitted their purposely distorted biased reporting on the Michael Jackson child molestation cases. If we recall for a moment the enormous number of journalists who surrounded the Santa Barbara County courthouse, one can surmise that the handful of journalists who came clean about their deception make up only the tip of the iceberg.I suspect that there were hundreds more who remained silent and who knowingly bent the truth to sell papers.

I also suppose that there are thousands of people who, having received one-sided information, once believed Jackson to be a freakish criminal, but who, after his death and the revelation of new information, have come to see him just as one of us, a burdened human being and a caring parent, as well as a uniquely talented artist and a devoted philanthropist. Perhaps these now better-informed members of the public have come to doubt the veracity of the media itself, not just when it comes to Michael Jackson, but in general.

I speculate that there is a pervasive notion that it is safer to say nothing when it comes to Michael Jackson for fear of being promptly stigmatized. However, we need to address the implications of such silent behavior. What does our silence about the attacks on one of the most visible achievers of the American Dream say? If we play it safe, we are forfeiting our children's future into the hands of bullies. It is time for us to speak up about the damage opportunistic journalism is doing to our culture. As Edmund Burke once penned, "all it takes for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing."


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