A short "Talking Points Memo" on the not guilty Jackson verdict before we get to analysis...
For one of the few times in my life, I didn't make a prediction about the case. Usually, I'm shooting from the hip, but this one was too murky. That's because the accuser and his family were obviously troubled with a history of irresponsible behavior. Any jury has to take that into consideration. What is the motive behind the accusation?
Now right after the verdict, the jury did express their negative opinion of the accuser's mother.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What mother in her right mind would allow that to happen? You know, just freely volunteer your child, you know, to sleep with someone. And not just so much Michael Jackson, but any person for that matter.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I disliked it intensely when she snapped her fingers at us. That's when I thought don't snap your fingers at me, lady.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: A lot of the witnesses looked over at us from time to time, but then they'd look back. But she didn't take her eyes off of us. So that was a very uncomfortable feeling.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
Very interesting. Another key component. There was no smoking gun in the case. Many feel Michael Jackson is a predator, but there was "no beyond a reasonable doubt" sequence in the trial. So the jury gave Jackson the benefit of the doubt, even though the man is obviously strange and very, very inappropriate.
But the 12 folks judging him would not send him to prison for being inappropriate.
There is a nobility in that, but it still makes me uneasy. There's a good chance Jackson got away with it. But we all must accept the jury verdict because that's our system and it's a good system, although increasingly brilliant lawyers like Tom Mesereau (search) can outrun overworked prosecutors. But again, the folks made the call. And that's that.
One more observation. Every famous person in America, politicians, entertainers, sports people, should take note: You all have targets on your back. If you have money and fame, somebody is going to accuse you of something. All right, it's very likely that will happen. And I think the jury knew that. I believe they thought this family was trying to exploit Michael Jackson (search). No parent as the jurors said in their right mind will allow a child in his company unattended. Yet that mother sought him out.
Clearly the jury was appalled by that. And in the end, the mother of the accuser was Michael Jackson's best defense.
And that's "The Memo."
The Most Ridiculous Item of the Day
Our pal Stuart Smalley (search) apparently had a meltdown at a radio function in New York City over the weekend. Smalley had to be scolded by the event's host and at one point actually broke down in tears.
Now, this is not our concern, except to tell you that the "Washington Post" media critic, Howard Kurtz, was at the event, witnessed the meltdown and did not mention it in his article today. Failing to report things of this nature is, of course, an example of bias.
Well, we called Mr. Kurtz. He denied any bias. You make the call.
One other thing. I've got a lot of e-mails from people who ask me why I don't reply to smear merchants like Smalley. And the reason is most of these people are very troubled individuals who are simply seeking publicity in the worst possible way. It would be ridiculous to engage those people.