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Michael Jackson: The Making of a Myth - Part 1 (FEATURE)

Monday, 28 June 2010 Written by Deborah Ffrench
Michael Jackson: The Making of a Myth - Part 1

One year on, from the shocking events that took place in Los Angeles in the summer of 2009, and the universe of questions Michael Jackson’s extraordinary death threw into orbit shows no signs yet of abating. That Jackson actually died on June 25 is not in question. But it is the manner in which he departed that birthed an epilogue of controversy. Courtesy of TMZ‘s first truly global scoop, conversely at 14:26 pm – recorded as the moment the vitality in Jackson’s body officially flickered and died, the world as we knew it would galvanize into unprecedented hyperlife. AOL would call the ensuing web meltdown a “seminal moment in Internet history.” Jackson’s death would precipitate a virtual news blackout of anything that wasn’t Jackson related. From then to now, speculations of the Grisham-type variety about the state of Jackson’s health and body to conspiratorial scenarios involving AEG, Sony, Jackson’s last advisers, and his doctor – have raged like wildfire across the media.

Los Angeles, in the wake of Jackson’s death, as well as coping with the influx of mourners and the world’s press, also endured a summer of simmering tension between its bullish City Attorney, Carmen Trutanich, and Tim Leiweke, president of AEG – the sports and entertainment jewel-in-the-crown subsidiary of the Anschutz Company. Long-standing billboard issues, the city’s huge debt, and good old-fashioned ego, resulted in public sparring for several months as the two men locked horns over who should foot the bill for Jackson’s magnificent Staples Center memorial last July. Simultaneously transmitted live in over 22 countries around the world, news sources recorded the worldwide viewing figures as in excess of 1.5 billion, making it the most watched live television broadcast in history. The run-up to that event saw countless tributes from celebrities, heads of state, politicians, friends, and fans. But there was anger and a repetition of old accusations too.

On Capitol Hill, the day after Jackson died, in response to Congresswoman Diane E. Watson’s request that a minute’s silence be observed for Jackson, some members protested by leaving the House floor. Congressman John Yarmuth, would later tell radio pundit John Ziegler that the gesture made him feel “almost nauseated.” On the same day, Maureen Orth, past correspondent for Vanity Fair, appeared on MSNBC’s Morning Joe and Today to declare Jackson, “a failure as a human being.” On June 29, Rush Limbaugh called the media coverage a “horrible disgrace,” and on the eve of the July 7 memorial, Congressman Peter King took the time to release a youtube video pronouncing Jackson, “a pervert” and, “a low life.” Diane Dimond, long-time Jackson detractor, responding to the blogs of grieving fans on her website where she had posted an article just days after Jackson died, wrote that she hoped Jackson‘s death would be “ a teaching moment for millions ”adding that, “ the cyclical nature of molestation that causes the victim to grow up and victimize others …the list of what Michael Jackson's life can teach us is long.”

The next few months would bring a seemingly endless stream of graphic, brutal revelations. International speculation about the results of the autopsies, the shock discovery of propofol and other narcotics in Jackson’s system, the redefining of his death as a homicide, arguments over how fit for This Is It Jackson had been, ever-changing dates for the final burial of Jackson’s body, custody of his three children, as well as the fight for executive control of the Estate; all severely polarized a city with a history of igniting easily.

A succession of tributes at the BET’s, VMA’s, Emmy’s, Grammy’s – albeit briefly, and finally the Oscars, brought some relief from the rancour. But with the awards season over, the business of determining what and who killed Jackson, returned to the fore when Doctor Murray turned himself in to be formally charged in February this year with involuntary manslaughter. The following month, Joe Jackson and his attorney-on-call, Brian Oxman, launched public opening shots against Dr Murray in a 13-page legal document filed at the Los Angeles County Superior Court. Effectively serving notice to Murray’s lawyers of their intention to pursue a ‘wrongful death’ civil suit against their client, Edward Chernoff and his team can hardly have been surprised since a civil suit so often follows or parallels a criminal one.

Headlines that ‘Michael could have been saved,’ followed in the wake of Joseph Jackson and Oxman’s accusations that Murray had not acted quickly enough or, more damagingly, disclosed vital information to staff at the UCLA Medical center Jackson was taken to. Both Oxman and Joe Jackson claimed that when Jackson arrived at UCLA, staff had to use “ aggressive resuscitation ” to establish a pulse and a heartbeat, which eventually stopped. In the lead up to Murray’s trial, details such as these will inevitably take center stage in the media’s coverage. What is also certain, is that this coverage will focus almost exclusively on the most sensational aspects of Jackson’s alleged drug dependency for maximum effect and maximum ratings.

In the eye of this storm, the fate of Murray – a man who increasingly bears the look of someone completely bewildered as to how he arrived at his infamy, seems almost surreal. While the media have consistently placed Murray sharply front and center of the investigation into his death, they have so far declined any public self-reflection on the part they arguably played in creating – or at least, exacerbating the conditions that brought Jackson within touching distance of a fatal tragedy.

This is not a defense of where Murray stands along the line of causality that led to the death of Jackson. Involuntary manslaughter, a paradoxically catch-all yet legally tight charge with barely punitive consequences for someone found guilty of it, needs only the component of reckless judgement to be present, and Murray looks likely to qualify. But the media’s focus on Murray’s still-to-be-determined culpability, is in reality, self-serving. The truth is, Murray, while not exactly the “fall guy” his defense team have cast him as – is not only the only player in this story.

Famously reticent, Jackson – after the success of Off The Wall in 1979 and the phenomenon of Thriller in 1982, had long ago retreated behind carefully constructed PR statements and controlled press calls in an attempt to limit an already chaffing over-exposure. Already no stranger to the knife, in 1979 Jackson had rhinoplasty surgery to remedy damage sustained during a dance routine. Later, he would have surgery to restore cohesion to his scalp after the serious burn injuries he suffered while filming a 1984 PepsiCo commercial. By the late 80’s, while he was still relatively comparable to ‘little Michael’ from his Motown days, the media were still a relatively neutral presence in Jackson’s life. Fantastic tales of Jackson‘s exotic lifestyle at Neverland – some leaked by Jackson himself, played in the public gallery as evidence of a bizarre but adorable man/child.

This neutrality eroded, however, as Jackson’s physicality changed more radically and his perceived ‘oddness’ began to attract criticism and attention in the intervening years between his highly successful Bad tour and the beginning of promotional chores to support the release of the Dangerous album in 1991. But it would be the momentous events of 1993 that would shatter forever the fragile stand-off that existed between Jackson and the press.

Attempting to scope an overview of the most turbulent and devastating years of Jackson‘s life is almost impossible for one reason. So much of the truly important information was not covered by the journalists and networks paid to do just that. Most Americans remain unaware to this day that the ‘facts’ they were presented with, in both 1993 or 2003/5, bore no resemblance to the truth of what lay behind the headlines and ubiquitous media coverage. The ambivalence that many people still have about Jackson’s legacy hinges on these omissions, and it for that reason that retracing the steps of the media-led immolation of Jackson’s name and reputation remains an important task.

It would, of course, be both ridiculous and naïve to have expected journalists, editors, and TV networks to have ignored the commercial news ‘value’ of the accusations Jackson faced from 1993 onwards. But in charting the negative narrative pursued by an entire industry, it can be clearly seen that the media’s behavior as a whole – and in particular, that of certain individuals within it – went way beyond acceptable standards for any profession. The highly effective ‘monsterdom’ of Michael Jackson was both deliberate and systematic. But in examining its construction, it is possible we may come to understand how a myth was built.

Most people think they know Jackson’s life-story.

Boy accuses Jackson in 1993, Jackson goes missing, comes back and cries on TV, Jackson pays boy off. Jackson gets weirder and whiter, dangles baby off balcony, appears in a documentary with disastrous results, stands trial in 2005 – then ‘gets off’ because he’s a celebrity.

But these are just captured media moments. Simplistic reductions of events that not only impacted the life of Jackson, but many others too. Undoubtedly the biggest story of 2009, current interest in Jackson remains exponential. But for many, the biggest question is not how Jackson died – but how he lived? Put bluntly, did he do it? Did he molest young boys? Or is this still prevalent perception of Jackson, as British journalist, Charles Thomson contends, “a character assassination on a scale we’ve never seen before? ”

While most reasonable people are prepared to accept that huge suspensions of belief were required to swallow Tom Sneddon’s 2005 gambit; when asked how they feel about Michael Jackson, they will invariably say – ‘well, it all comes back to 1993 doesn’t it?’ Confidently, they will recite three ‘facts’ and tell you these are the reasons why they ‘know’ Jackson was guilty.

Firstly, that Jordan Chandler accused Jackson of molesting him. Secondly, that Jordan accurately described Jackson’s genitalia, and lastly, that Jackson paid Jordan off to buy his silence. So far, so incorrect.

For contrary to what most people believe, these three ‘facts,’ are in reality – myths. Myths, which for years have been regurgitated, promoted and assimilated into the public consciousness, much like the Richard Gere-gerbil story or the leave-a-tooth-overnight-in-coca-cola fable. So how did these myths become part of our everyday landscape, and who or what is keeping them alive?

In 1993, and since: the context of the ferocious custody battle between Jordan Chandler’s parents, the use of a controversial drug to extract an accusation from a child, overwhelming evidence to suggest Jordan’s father, Evan Chandler, planned and successfully managed to extort Jackson aided by unscrupulous lawyers manipulating the no-win situation of a molestation accusation, and the real reasons why the financial settlement was paid – were given little to no meaningful attention by the media.

Once lit, the biggest story of the early 90’s was fanned into a fire by specific media outlets, tabloid brokers, and television journalists using compromised sources, all of which obscured crucial facts from the American public. The reasons are obvious enough.

An industry that needs a fast turnover of fresh news to shift copy and attract audiences is not motivated to ‘slow’ a news story down. The speed at which a story develops creates its own momentum, regenerating itself in the process. For headlines to have their day, something has to give, and in 1993 – it was Michael Jackson.

In the last two decades, the advent of satellite news gathering (SNG) changed the face of the television news industry. Satellite news vehicles could drive to the scene of major stories anywhere and transmit on-site. When the allegations against Jackson first broke on a local LA news station, few could have guessed that Jackson, at the time a much loved artist and known advocate of children's’ welfare, would so quickly become ‘first blood’ for the radical new era of 24-hour ‘rolling’ news reporting.

For America, the first hint of the media saturation that was to come began on August 23, 1993. KNBC-TV, broke the news that Neverland had been raided in its early evening news slot. They had been tipped off the day before by Don Ray, a freelance reporter living in Burbank at the time, after he himself had been called by a source in the early hours the day before. Ray, describing the media tsunami that followed said, “ [he] watched this story go away like a freight train.” Indeed it did.

The Jackson coverage would make the hot story de jour – the revelations of Heidi ‘Hollywood Madam’ Fleiss’s black book – pale in comparison. In her 1994 article ‘Was Michael JacksonFramed: The untold story’ journalist Mary A. Fischer wrote, “within 24 hours, Jackson was the lead story on seventy-three TV news broadcasts in the Los Angeles area alone and was on the front page of every British newspaper.”

One of those front pages belonged to Caroline Graham, back then a journalist at the Rupert Murdoch owned British tabloid, The Sun. After an early tip-off, Graham, convinced her editor to hold the front page. The Sun’s morning edition ran with ‘Jacko Child Abuse Probe ‘ as its headline story on August 23. The rest of Fleet Street jumped on the scandal a day later.

The pace of events would avalanche, however, as a direct result of the leak of a confidential document to an American TV reporter at Hard Copy – a syndicated tabloid news television show, and its sale within hours to Splash News Service, an LA based agency that operated as a de facto ‘clearing house’ for tabloid news stories.

A go-between for the anonymous source of the leak met Hard Copy reporter Diane Dimond and her producer Steve Doran, in the early evening of August 23 at an Italian restaurant in Santa Monica. They would leave that meeting with an illegally obtained copy of a report detailing the accusations made by Jordan Chandler and his father Evan Chandler (now deceased,) in an interview with the LA Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS.) Hard Copy insisted it did not pay for the report.

Aware of the impending leak, Jackson’s security adviser at the time – Anthony Pellicano, in an attempt to beat the press at their own game, held an impromptu press conference on August 23, and another on August 24. Telling reporters that the police investigation involved claims of child abuse, and that the accusations were the result of an “extortion gone awry, ” Pellicano’s disclosures sent an already bated media into barely controlled hysteria.


At a time when the police were officially “not disclosing” any information, the threat of the DCFS leak had already claimed its first consequence. It would compel Pellicano to pre-empt the leak, thus revealing the nature of a police investigation that had barely begun to gather evidence. Journalist, Allan Hall, then based at The Mirror – a British tabloid, recalled the media’s excitement at the time, “ you had a sense that people were flying in from all over the world.” Such was the media appetite for Jackson news that within 48 hours literally hundreds of journalists descended on the City of Angels.

The explosion in ratings across the media that the release of descriptions of graphic, unproven allegations against Jackson generated, would make TV networks and editors more willing to pay for information from compromised sources and tabloid brokers. This practice of using paid ‘witnesses’ would directly affect the direction and substance of the criminal investigation against Jackson, and later significantly influence the decision to pay a financial settlement to the Chandlers.

The decision by TV executives, producers, newspaper editors and reporters to use an illegally obtained document to broadcast incendiary accusations into the public domain, represents the critical point at which the media essentially ‘entered’ the state’s investigation. Nothing had been established, no charges had been made. But yet headlines went around the world linking Jackson’s name to something that even the suggestion of – destroys.

On August 25, Dimond, with an overtly ‘he’s guilty’ slant, told an audience of approximately 6.1 million (Nielsen figures), that the report Hard Copy had “ exclusively ”obtained was “extremely graphic and detailed…right down to the sexual act.” Splash News, busy fielding offers from LA to Tel Aviv at $750 a time, ensured that the next day every television screen in America tuning in to either NBC, ABC, or CBS, would have seen the words written by the social worker who conducted Jordan’s interview, “while laying next to each other in bed, Mr Jackson put his hand under [the child's] shorts,” flashing up on their screens.

In those first early days, the real damage to Jackson came not from the police investigation, but from the media roar created by 24-hour rotation of the same allegations, the same sound bites, and the same uninformed analysis. This roar, would allocate air-time only to the most lurid of details. The broadcasting of the DCFS report on prime-time television, as well as accelerating the pace of the Jackson story, also clearly directed the public to form an opinion based only on an accusation – not proven fact.

The facts were these:

Jordan Chandler, the child at the centre of the allegations, whose family first befriended Jackson in May 1992, repeatedly denied being molested by Jackson until he was removed from the custody of his mother, June Chandler. Up until August 1993, the only person accusing Jackson of anything, was his father – Evan Chandler.

The relationship between Jordan’s divorced parents, already fractious, deteriorated rapidly when Evan’s attempts to convince Jackson to buy him a house failed. It was only after this rejection that Evan first raised the issue of molestation. And it was only when Jordan was under the physical control of Evan – a man who would seriously assault his own son in 2006, that Jordan would accuse Jackson.

Evan, a dentist, who at one point only narrowly avoided losing his license after the Board of Dental Examiner’s found his work revealed “gross inefficiency,” aspired to a career as a scriptwriter. At the time, owing his ex-wife $ 68,000 in child support, Evan had previously shown little interest in his son, until he became aware of Jackson’s friendship with Jordan. In 1994, Mary A. Fischer quoted Dave Schwartz, Jordan’s step-father, as saying he believed Evan’s reasons for insisting Jackson had molested his son, were because [Evan] “wants money.”

June Chandler, until told by the police in late August ’93 that Jackson ‘fit the profile of a pedophile,’ repeatedly stated that she did not believe Evan’s accusations. Her lawyer at the time, Michael Freeman, would tell Frontline in November 1993 (aired February ’94) that June ‘changed’ her mind when she became afraid she would be prosecuted for parental neglect.

The existence of considerable collateral evidence, in the form of tape recordings Schwartz secretly made of conversations between him and Evan between June and July 1993, as well as eye-witness statements; support the view that it was when Evan engaged the services of Barry Rothman – a Los Angeles lawyer with a savage reputation and code violations from the California State Bar against his name, that Evan actualized his plan to extort Jackson.

On July 11, Jackson’s lawyer, Bertram Fields, in an effort to head off the lawsuit he had seen coming when Jackson first told him that Evan was demanding a meeting with him back in June, agreed to Evan and Rothman’s demand that Jordan be allowed to stay with Evan for one week. Jordan would never return to his mother’s custody. Crucially, it was in the period that followed this transfer, that Jordan’s accusation materialized.

From July 12 through to August, documental evidence suggests that procedural steps were put in place by Rothman to secure Evan’s custody of Jordan, and to ensure that continued.

On June 15, Rothman presented a hypothetical abuse scenario to Mathias Abrams, a psychiatrist who, without meeting either Evan or Jordan, supplied Rothman with a written statement that, “events as presented above provide the basis for the conclusion that reasonable suspicion would exist that sexual abuse may have occurred.” If evidence were needed of premeditation by Evan Chandler and Rothman to allege molestation, for many, this would perhaps be it.

The use of the drug Sodium Amytal on Jordan during apparently necessary dental work by Evan and an attendant anesthesiologist, Mark Torbiner, would be the turning point. Jordan would subsequently tell child psychologist Richard Gardner (now deceased) from the Los Angeles Sexually Exploited Child Unit that when he “woke up” after this surgery, he remembered being asked if “anything had ever happened between [him] and Michael.” Jordan, still under the influence of the drug, would reply that it had. Evan Chandler would later claim that this was the moment when Jordan first admitted that Jackson had touched his penis.

From August 4 to August 16, Evan and Rothman initiated the negotiations with Pellicano. They demanded a sum of $ 20 million, to be paid in five installments by Jackson. In those meetings, it was made clear by Evan and Rothman that this money would ‘persuade’ Evan from going ahead with his threat to make his accusations about Jackson public. By August 13, these negotiations had irretrievably broken down.

On August 16, June Chandler, realizing Evan intended to keep Jordan indefinitely, authorized her attorney, Freeman, to apply to the court for the return of Jordan to her custody. Freeman informed Rothman that this order would be applied for the next morning. Rothman immediately informed his client, Evan.

The next day, August 17, Evan took his son Jordan to Mathias Abrams, the psychiatrist Rothman had already primed for exactly this turn of events. Jordan repeated the molestation story. Mathias, required by California law to report such an accusation to the authorities, did so – as Evan and Rothman would have known he would.

The dangers inherent in the use of Sodium Amytal are well documented. Suffice it to say, no other dentists or psychiatrists at the time in 1993 – or indeed now, recommend its use on a child, in the course of dentistry, or as an adequate basis on which any accusation made while ‘under’ such a drug should ever be upheld as legally or ethically authentic.

Evan, himself, corroborated that he sanctioned the administering of the drug to Jordan, when interviewed by a reporter from LA’s KCBS-TV on May 3, 1994. The news report quoted Evan saying he had, “used the drug on his son,” adding that, “the dentist claimed he did so only to pull his son’s tooth and that while under the drug’s influence, the boy came out with allegations.”

Despite, unsubstantiated claims circulating on the Internet that investigative journalist, Mary A. Fischer, no longer stands by her 1994 GQ article on Jackson, this is not the case. As recently as November 25, 2005, in an interview with Greta Van Susteren on Fox News’sOn The Record, Fischer restated her 1994 findings about Sodium Amytal, saying: “It’s a powerful psychiatric drug which, when under the influence of, a person is highly suggestible. And that drug was given to the boy by the father of the boy and the father's friend who was a dental anesthesiologist The dental anesthesiologist gave the boy the drug in a dentist's office.”

But perhaps the single most important detail that reveals extortion was at the heart of 1993, is the most obvious one. Before the allegations went public, and while the negotiations for a financial settlement that Evan initiated were still progressing, the easiest thing for Jackson to have done would have been to simply pay Evan what he wanted.

Jackson did not do this.

Fischer, speaking on a PBS documentary in 1994 observed, “ They couldn’t reach any kind of mutual agreement, but had they been able to, the interesting thing about it [is], this case would have never gone beyond this room.”

This simple fact was apparently lost on the journalists, networks, TV pundits, and general public in 1993. Back then, no-one challenged the absurdity of the premise that a father in an apparently criminal situation where he suspected that his son had been molested, had sought the advice of a notoriously ruthless civil lawyer, instead of simply going to the police.

Given that Pellicano widely distributed the illicit recordings of Evan and Schwartz’s conversations to the press and CBS – who rushed out the first exclusive coverage of the tapes, a snapshot of the headlines surfacing just days after the allegations first broke, reveals where the media intended to stand on the question of Jackson’s innocence.

Peter Pan or Pervert?’ asked both the New York Post and The Sun in Britain, within days of the story breaking. ‘Michael Jackson: A Curtain Closes’ opined another. Britain’s The Mirror kept it simple and punned one of Jackson’s past hits with ‘He’s Bad’, while The Sun ran with‘Jackson Used Me As A Sex Toy,’ and The Washington Post with ‘Malice In Wonderland.’ Even the serious publications stepped into the fray. Notably Newsweek’s 1993 cover, ‘Is he Dangerous or Just Off The Wall?’ and Time’s -Michael Jackson: The End of Innocence?’ – would take the debate beyond just the tabloids’ walls.

Despite the headlines; a little over a month after the allegations had broken, a concerted campaign of damage-control consisting of press conferences with Pellicano showcasing Wade Robson and Brett Barnes as examples of Jackson’s ‘healthy’ relationships with children, expressions of unity from Jackson’s own family, and playbacks of Evan’s voice threatening that – if a “certain plan” was not followed, “it will be a massacre if I don’t get what I want ” to assembled press scrums – had resulted in a degree of softening towards Jackson in the publics mind.

Opinion polls at the time compiled by A Current Affair, Entertainment Weekly and the National Enquirer, suggested well over 70% of Jackson’s target audience – teens and females, did not believe the allegations.

It was at this point, however, just when the extortion component of the story was beginning to take hold as a viable reason for the allegations, that the media found a way to reignite a story that was in danger of resolving itself. In the absence of any personal statement from Jackson ( legally obligated to fulfill the third leg of his Dangerous tour,) the momentary ‘gain’ generated by the release of the tapes – would be short-lived.

Billed at the time as ‘explosive new revelations,’ the media successfully re-catalysed the Jackson story by offering huge amounts of money for stories from a line-up of flexible ‘witnesses.’ Indeed, media outlets competed for these stories, driving up the price and the ‘graphic’ quotient in the process. The first of these ‘witnesses’, would be Stella and Phillipe Lemarque, former chefs at Neverland.

Using Hollywood investigator and well known tabloid broker, Paul Barresi (known to occasionally use firearms during negotiations,) the Lemarques attempted to sell their account of Jackson ‘abusing’ the child actor Macaulay Culkin to anyone waving a checkbook. Their story was eventually sold first to The Mirror for an unspecifiedamount, headlining with ‘Jacko’s New Home Alone Slur,’ then to The Globe for $15,000 who ran with Peter Pan or Pervert: We caught Jackson Abusing Child Star.’

Lemarque, who alleged that Jackson’s technique was to ‘get’ children so overstimulated that they barely noticed what Jackson was ‘doing’ to them – when subsequently cross-examined in 2005 by Jackson’s lead lawyer, Thomas Mesereau – would admit that Barresi advised him that saying Jackson’s hand was ‘inside’ Culkin’s shorts instead of ‘outside,’ would significantly raise the asking price they could sell their story for. Indeed, writer Maureen Orth in her 1994 article ‘Nightmare in Neverland,’ wrote that Barresi actually showed her two written versions of the Lemarques ‘story,’ clearly revealing the relationship between the fee and their content.

In ’93, after the Lemarque story broke, Culkin publicly denied he had been molested by Jackson. But the press gave virtually ignored this, some even suggesting Culkin’s denial was an attempt to save his career. In 2005, Culkin – who interestingly, was not called by the prosecution as a witness even though under the prosecution’s own ‘prior acts’ criteria he qualified as one of the ‘victims’ – insisted on testifying after Mr Lemarque’s testimony. Under oath, Culkin adamantly denied any such incident occurred and denounced the charges against Jackson as “absolutely ridiculous.” It has since emerged that in 1997, Lemarque set up and ran a hardcore website called ‘Virtual Sin,’ which has since folded.

However, back in ‘93, without the benefit of hindsight to evaluate the Lemarques’s credibility, their story would add considerable fuel to an already blazing fire. The pressure on Jackson, increased simply because the media were willing to pay the price the Lemarques demanded.

The Lemarques ‘revelations’ would be swiftly followed by two former housekeepers from the Philippines, the Quindoys. Three days after the first news of the allegations, ABC would send a reporter to Manila to hear their ‘eye-witness’ account. And once again, the media would pay for the privilege. Meanwhile, Diane Dimond at Hard Copy was also keen to speak to the Quindoys. The bidding was about to begin.

The fees asked for by ‘witnesses’ and paid by the media would come to thousands, so great was the demand and commercial value of ‘fresh’ news in the Jackson story. As Paul Barresi would tell Frontline in 1993, “ someone just has to have a story, a half-truth, and you mix with it with a little venom, then you have a tabloid story.”

Michael Jackson - The Making Of A Myth - Part 1 is continued in the below downloadable PDF file - CLICK ICON TO DOWNLOAD FULL ARTICLE

Deborah Ffrench is an English writer. Part II of this online article will be hosted exclusively on Stereoboard.com. Citations will be listed when Part III is published.

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