Wednesday, July 15, 2009
Many of you know that after years of being a journalist, I'm still quick to defend the rights of the press. When people complain about photographers chasing celebrities, I always remind them it's the price people pay for fame.
But what has happened since Michael Jackson's death reminds me that even the press gets it wrong sometimes.
I've watched as journalists have turned Jackson, who no one can deny was a strange character at best, into a saint that deserves martyrdom. Many stories now saw he was "murdered" by bad doctors who gave him drugs to help him sleep and keep him from pain.
They talk about all of the wonderful music contributions he made and forget to talk about the fact that he paid one family off from allegations of child molestation and went through a long trial before being acquitted on a second case.
Those are all things that make the man and they are part of his story.
This morning a friend and fellow journalist posted a letter to the editors of the Washington Post (check it out here if you're interested: http://www.facebook.com/ext/share.php?sid=120057502441&h=2uoa3&u=F7goD&ref=nf). It was from a military crew who picked up the body of Lt. Brian Bradshaw, a young soldier killed the same day Jackson died.
While Jackson coverage took over the news, this young man's death was only mentioned briefly. But, according to the letter, when his body was picked up for delivery home his entire platoon came to honor him one last time.
It just reminds me that as a society we need to get our priorities straight. Whatever you think about the war or Hollywood life, it just doesn't make sense that an accused child molester becomes a hero and a real hero is forgotten.