Michael Jackson mania

July 6, 2009 2:07:41 PM PDT
Is there too much media coverage of Michael Jackson's death?

That's the question as we enter the 12th day since the 50-year-old singer suddenly died.

Republican Congressman Pete King weighed in on the subject, using YouTube to post his own video, and taking the media and the public to task for glorifying a man who many say radically altered his appearance to make himself a freakazoid, and for his fondness for young boys (and the millions he spent paying off lawsuits alleging sex abuse, filed by the parents of young children).

Rev. Al Sharpton had sharp words for Mr. King, saying now wasn't the time to belittle the deceased entertainer, now was the time to celebrate his remarkable talents.

The question has gnawed at everyone since Jackson's mysterious death on June 25. Why he died still isn't known, although there's no shortage of allegations that abuse of prescription drugs may have been a big factor.

Jackson's fans have always ridden two, parallel rails when it comes to the entertainer: He's incredibly talented and breakthrough as a performer and musician; he's also incredibly troubled as a human being.

The good news is that the media coverage of Michael Jackson will start waning after tomorrow's public memorial at the Staples Center in Los Angeles. ABC News will cover it, beginning at 1 p.m. Eastern Time.

The hoopla will subside after that -- except for the mystery of his death, and except for who gets control of his complicated but lucrative estate, and except for who gets custody of his three children.

Is the coverage focusing too much on tribute and not enough on the rather sordid parts of Jackson's life? Our informal 7online.Com poll showed that 56% thought there was too much tribute, 25% thought there was too much scandal, and 14% thought the coverage was just about right.

We'll have the latest on the Jackson scandal, and tribute, tonight at 11.

Oh, and one other thought about the Jackson memorial tomorrow, and perhaps it suggests just how Jackson's estate is as disorganized as was Jackson's life.

There's a private funeral tomorrow for Jackson at Forest Lawn in the San Fernando Valley side of the Hollywood Hills. (It's a gorgeous setting, for those who haven't been there. I know because my mother and grandmother are buried there.) To think that the people at the funeral will start and finish that service and then make their way to the Staples Center in downtown L.A. ? all in the course of two hours in the middle of rush hour, well, it just seems that the only way it could work is by helicopter.

I'm just sayin'.

And we're following the latest mud-wrestling that's passing for state government in New York these days.

The children who run the State Senate are still stalemated, 31 Republicans and 31 Democrats, so Gov. Paterson flew the trial balloon of wanting to appoint a Lt. Gov (his job before the last Governor had to resign in a sex scandal; maybe you heard about it) to break the logjam.

No can do, according to Atty. General Andrew Cuomo.

Sheesh.

Meanwhile, Mayor Bloomberg ordering a hiring freeze of police recruits, firefighters, school safety folks, 911 operators ? everyone, because the Legislature haven't approved a recession-necessary sales tax hike. The City, says the Mayor, is losing $60 million a month because of it. Of course, New Yorkers are saving $60 million in month in sales tax they aren't paying.

Speaking of the Mayor, I got one of those "do you have a couple of minutes to complete a survey" calls today. And it turns out it was on behalf of Mayor Bloomberg's re-election campaign. The guy wanted to know if I was satisfied with the job hizzoner's doing, and if I'd vote for him, or some such questions.

I said "no comment," because we're not allowed to give our opinions about who we might, or might not vote for. Or if we're voting at all. Company policy, and journalistic ethics.

Polls like that cost money, and I can't imagine anyone who's not a billionaire will be doing that kind of polling in the upcoming election.

We'll also have any breaking news of the night, plus weather and sports. I hope you can join us, tonight at 11.

BILL RITTER


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