On air: Has all perspective been lost on the death of Michael Jackson?

UPDATE : On yesterday’s programme we discussed both issues : The first edition, which   goes out to the rest of the world MINUS Africa, the mood was clear ; generally speaking, you thought we  shouldn’t be talking about Michael Jackson at all.

The second edition, broadcasting to Africa, the response was equally clear : we can talk about China any day, you said, but today is about MJ.

Just thought i’d share that with you.


MJEver since we devoted a whole programme to his death, some of you have been fuming at the extensive media coverage and the outpouring of emotion that’s followed Michael Jackson’s passing. Put this in perspective, you’ve told us time and time again. Surely there are more important things for the media to be worrying about, you’ve argued. Some of you will think much the same when we discuss this today, but today’s memorial service is right at the top of the most read subjects online and we can’t ignore it.


That lots of people are interested is beyond debate, but are you one of those who’s exasperated with that interest and the way the media is catering for it? Or is this just the right way to respond to the loss of ‘one of the greatest entertainers of them all’.

On another related point, do you think it’s understandable for people to be so moved by the death of someone they’ve never met

115 Responses to “On air: Has all perspective been lost on the death of Michael Jackson?”

  1. July 7, 2009 at 14:41

    I just started wondering about this question: Why is everything around MJ getting so much attention? It starts to remind me of the Truman-Show. We saw (I wasn’t born yet) Michael Jackson grow up, we saw his different “stages” in life, the scandals, we understood the tragedy behind his life and now his death.
    Was Michael Jackson a “Truman” of his own and are we the public who kept him as a prisoner of his fame? It seems to be embedded in human nature, that we are to certain extent voyeurs.
    Maybe with the funeral and the memorial, the final chapter of Michael Jackson’s own Truman Show will be closed… and we’ll see zapp to something else on TV.

    • July 7, 2009 at 18:35

      I can certainly be counted among the list of people who are annoyed by the excessive coverage of Michael Jackson. If this is what people need to get on with their lives i suppose it does have a value. This is a great day for media types that recycle old footage and avoid doing what passes for news coverage.

  2. July 7, 2009 at 14:46

    You think this — that is, the response to Michael Jackson’s death — is ridiculous? Just imagine if it were Madonna instead.

    • July 7, 2009 at 19:10

      Not even a Madonna would recieve this coverage. The only other person could recieve this kind of send off is Obama, but maybe not even. The lines are crossing between reverence to a passing icon to what is going on in our psychie. There is a void that is being filled with MJ memory right now.

      • 5 Bassel
        July 11, 2009 at 23:45

        Never mind Madonna, Luciano Pavarotti who had devoted the last 20 years of his life to charity did not receive this coverage.

  3. 6 Kelly, from Chicago, IL, USA
    July 7, 2009 at 14:53

    Whether people are moved by someone they’ve never met is a personal question each will have to answer for themself. Emotion is emotion though, usually there isn’t a lot of logic to go along with it, and I don’t think we can say people should never be moved by someone they haven’t met.

    Is the media attention proportionate to the crisis of his death? No. I think we should figure out that the media is usually blowing up things that matter less than real issues, it’s an entertainment business in many cases after all. If we ignore them when they spazz out over something silly they will eventually get the message that they should provide more quality information. (Like BBC…or NPR!)

  4. July 7, 2009 at 15:03

    While on one hand I understand – when Elliot Smith died a few years ago, it really hit me hard. I felt a genuine connection to him through his music which was/is hard to define and understand. I admit, I actually wept and felt like someone I knew had died. I get that. It’s not for me to decide, based on taste, who’s music might impact someone and provide a not-exactly-real connection to the artist.

    However, I have felt that the media coverage has been a bit nauseating. It has felt like a feeding frenzy – proving once again that our mainstream media is a profit-driven, and whether or not it is relevant or real news, they will devote hours and hours and hours, Oh Lord the hours!

    All that aside, I do think he was a perplexing sort of genius and worthy of the remembrance that carries with it, but not the kind of saturation we’re seeing. I am pretty sure that has only to do with satisfying advertisers and sponsors, and it’s a sad state. I am glad that NPR and BBC exist as starkly different and better alternatives to the largely worthless news machines – FOX, CNN, MSNBC, etc. etc.

  5. 9 John Henry - Trinidad and Tobago
    July 7, 2009 at 15:06

    The answer to your question, In one word, is “No.”

    Nevertheless, I sincerely expect that the excessive use of drugs will be dramatised by the media so as to instill the fear of becoming an addict…to anything.

    Thank you Michael and may you rest in peace.

  6. 10 Tony from Singapura
    July 7, 2009 at 15:07

    Today there was a lunch time program (Singapore) on BBC world on the subject of MJ. I am so fed up with this story that I changed to another radio station.

    • July 7, 2009 at 19:16

      That is precisely it. Trust me, if the media outlets thought, percieved , surveyed that there was no interest, TRUST ME, this coverage would not exist. I am watching the memorial service as we speak. Stevie is singing They Wont Go Where I Go, I looked at who were carrying the service, ALL of the major networks and about 4 cable networks, I stopped counting after 10 stations were carrying the same broadcast. In addition to seeing people gathered in various cities watching it on big screens, hmmm who decided to do that.

      The coverage is merited. If you dont like it, change the channel, if you could find one.

  7. 12 patti in cape coral
    July 7, 2009 at 15:19

    I heard on NPR this morning that certain people were selected randomly by lottery, I guess, to attend MJs memorial service/funeral. I have to admit, it was a little bizarre to me to hear the screams and whoops of joy. They sounded like my niece when she won Jonas Bros tickets! It was as if they were invited to a MJ concert instead of his funeral.

    I was sad at MJs passing, mostly nostalgia about the time in my life when he was most popular, but I was not as affected as many other seem to be. Are they wrong to feel so strongly? I don’t think so, people just feel what they feel.

  8. 13 ecotopian
    July 7, 2009 at 15:26

    My daughter asked couple of days ago why Mr. Jackson’s death was such a big thing. I told her he was really famous and people are sad that he’s dead.. She can’t understand why the world would react this way for one person. Maybe I’ve shielded her too much from pop culture, we’re not big TV watchers and she would rather read than go on the internet, so she doesn’t understand this kind of fame. She knows about fame, but not FAME, which is what Mr. Jackson had. He had fame in all caps and in bold. I wonder if anyone popular now will have this kind of reaction when they die.

    Does anyone right now have the kind of fame that Mr. Jackson did? There was an article in the New York Times a week ago that posed that notion: “After Michael Jackson, Fame May Never Be The Same.” http://www.nytimes.com/2009/06/28/weekinreview/28segal.html The author was of the same opinion as me that no one will generate this much emotion when they pass. He thinks, and I agree, that our culture now is too fractured. There is no one focal point the way there used to be. You can debate whether this is good or bad, the fact remains we may never see this again. So look at this as an historic event. Instead of saying why all this fuss for Mr. Jackson, we might ask in the future how one person could cause all this fuss.

  9. 14 John in Salem
    July 7, 2009 at 15:29

    The coverage of Michael Jackson is over the top but actually less than I would have expected.
    And just think – now we get to look forward to The Custody Battle of the Century, the Probate Battle of the Century, the Shocking Tell-All Memoirs by Jackson insiders, the movie version of the Shocking Memoirs, etc, etc.

    On the second point, our ability to feel a sense of loss over the death of someone we’ve never met is one of the few qualities that redeems us as human beings.

  10. July 7, 2009 at 15:30

    Hi WHYSers!
    I will miss Michael Jackson dearly and also, the shock of his death is still sinking in. That being said, the media apppear to be over compensating for their guilt (?), in terms of how unjust some of the coverage of his life was. The out of season pot shots and the intimations that he was somehow guilty of the charges which were brought against him while he was alive, in part, explains how this story has been covered, over the last week or so. The media coverage, it seems, is as much about Michael’s ‘greatness’ however questionable, whether as an entertainer or person, as well as because much of that greatness was despised and systematically undermined by many of those who are now caught up in the ‘outpouring of support’. The hypocrisy of it all sometimes is a little mind boggling!

  11. 17 Tom K in Mpls
    July 7, 2009 at 15:30

    It’s hard for me to judge. During the rare times I watch TV, when I see something about Micheal Jackson I move on, giving it as much attention as a commercial. At worst it is momentarily annoying.

  12. 18 John (Chagford, Devon, England)
    July 7, 2009 at 15:39

    I rather think many of the WHYS audience do regard other things to be more important than the death of a pop star. The present troubles in China maybe?

    The cult of celebrity has been well discussed in recent years and the vast majority, in Western cultures at least, have been sucked into it by the media. It goes without saying, the people of China and the underdeveloped nations have more to concern them than Michael Jackson (or Madonna in that case).

    As a “mature” fan of MJ, I was shocked at hearing of his passing but as interested in the news from China, Obama’s trip to Russia and the focus on Africa. Perhaps age also comes into it?

  13. 19 Anthony
    July 7, 2009 at 15:45

    I don’t know about all of that, but I just wanted to note that I’m from L.A. County, and for US to pay 3.8 MILLION is moronic, especially since we are handing out IOU’s to teachers and other city workers. Either his estate should pay for it, or we can hold memorials in our minds.

    -Anthony, LA, CA

    • July 7, 2009 at 21:00

      A King to some and a king to others. There is a scripture that tells us to “give honour to whom honour is due.” Michael Jackson is not an icon for me, but he is for the world. Give this man his time, his due diligence, and last but not least, his glory.

  14. 21 Jeziel, From Joinville, Brasil
    July 7, 2009 at 15:45

    He was a genius of pop music and deserves a moment of attention of the world.

  15. 23 steve/oregon
    July 7, 2009 at 15:49

    The media is definately over covering it.
    I feel like there should be some adult in the room to smack everyone around some and make us focus on more important issues.
    Can we be attached to someone we never met? Yes but not for any of the right reasons.

  16. 24 Ansurd Carey
    July 7, 2009 at 15:51

    When one with such influence is gone from our lives the world can’t help but notice. He was loved by many, hated by some, but the world knew him. What did we expect,

  17. July 7, 2009 at 16:11

    Hi Ros and WHYSers,

    I am one of the few people who actually felt nothing when the great MJ died, and has always been shocked at the space that his death has hogged in the media since he died. But that does not mean that I am insensitive to those who feel deeply affected by his death, it’s just that I can not understand why we cry so much {aided by the media of course} over his death, while he was living he was actually the target of raw jokes and derision by many in the media.
    A great entertainer he was, but like thousands others mortals daily, he died. Period.
    Great heroes, icons and role models the showbiz industry churns, huh?

    PS: I am glad it’s not Mark Sandell the Ayatollah writing this blog today. Lol!!

  18. 26 keith böhm
    July 7, 2009 at 16:12

    the press, like political leaders, are just pandering to the masses.. using this one singer in a world of great performers, only because of his fanatical fan base. great and far more worthy people die every day…a few have deid in the last week, but only michael seems to count. political world leaders, especially in the many crisies hounding the world, really have a lot more to do and think about than a 50 year old singer, who lived his life his way, and didn’t seem to understand the word, NO….

    i can’t wait untl he is forgotten… the press have made me hate him with a passion i didn’t know i had…and i don’t like that one bit! and that is all press, news coverage, specials, special-specials… please let us have real news and not candy for the dumb.

    • July 7, 2009 at 19:25

      You dont get it, he will never be forgotten. That ‘fanatical fan base’ stretches too many generations, too many cultures, too many darn people. The same for the Beatles, are they forgotten? The same will be for Elton John, Stevie Wonder, these are people who left behind a body of work that has shaped our world , and will never be forgotten. They will live on in the next generation of musicians who will sample them and the young folks listening then will think that that sample was the genius of that current artist, but their parents and grandparents will know better.

  19. July 7, 2009 at 16:17

    Exasperated with media attention to MJ’s death? No. Times like this merely invite one to change the channel or turn off TV altogether and curl up with a good book (or listen to BBC that at least sticks to reporting, rather than hyping). Most “news” today is whipped with hype to lure viewers (the kind who “invest” in tabloids) in order to boost the media’s ratings. Exasperation is merely wasting good frustration on an animal that is fulfilling its evolutionary DNA.

    On the other hand, MJ, as a performer, lived with hype, created hype, depended on hype which makes all this hype “fitting”… a kind of poetic climax representing just how successful he was at hype since the media is perpetuating it to wring one last penny from the “star” before they accept the light has already gone out.

    Ironically, media hype does us all a service, no matter whether we continue to watch or have “had enough” and no longer listen. The repetition is cathartic, providing a process of “too much” that wrings our sympathies and interest dry… in a sense burying the story in the end, much as MJ, himself, will be buried.

    Lastly, OF COURSE, it is understandable to be moved by the death of someone never personally met. I could fill several pages with lists of names of world leaders and others whose passing touched me “personally” because I knew that history would be changed without their presence/work, whether for the better or the worse. For those who loved MJ’s music, his passing marks an end to their hope for one more song as gripping, inspiring, innovative as his last big hit.

  20. 30 Venessa
    July 7, 2009 at 16:17

    How many more times do we have to discuss this? He’s dead, so are a lot of people that mean a lot more to me than someone I never met. Let’s move on.

  21. 31 Celeste
    July 7, 2009 at 16:21

    Every shred.

  22. 32 Martin
    July 7, 2009 at 16:31

    He’s not dead, just getting to do a remake of thriller.

  23. 33 Donnamarie in Switzerland
    July 7, 2009 at 16:35

    Ros, I’m glad you mentioned in you email that WHYS was obligated to report on the Michael Jackson Memorial because that is the most looked at and talked about story of the day.

    The news story about the death of Michael Jackson has morphed into another news story about the public’s reaction to his death. This is not the media’s doing; as Ros said, it has to be reported because it’s the news that people are interested in.

    As for grieving about MJ, I grieve in the same way I grieved when James Dean crashed his car, when Howard Huges died crazy and lonely in spite of his riches, when Marilyn Monroe, Jimi Hendrix, John Belushi, and Elvis Presly overdosed on drugs–something it seems likely MJ did as well.

    Fame is a double-edged sword.

  24. 34 Gary Paudler
    July 7, 2009 at 16:38

    Yes. The poor guy never stood a chance; it would have been amazing if he had grown-up whole and healthy.
    A question for WHYS: Do you really need to respond to “The Biggest Story”? Might you accept some responsibility for driving awareness of important issues. You do, of course, and you do it very well, but any listeners who crave a vicarious fix of the late Michael Jackson can get it from lots of other places so here’s the predictable reaction to your burning question: Some people will say “yes, enough already” and some people will say “no, Michael touched me deeply I think that WHYS should be changed to “All Michael, All The Time”. But thanks for asking.


  25. 35 globalcomedy
    July 7, 2009 at 16:50

    Yes, it’s gone way to far. Why? Ratings and profit. Not to be cold about it. But the MSM still has this “people watch it so it MUST be news” mentality. Paris Hilton gets out of jail. It’s all day coverage. The cable news “anchors” laugh and think, I can’t believe I’m getting paid $______ to watch this rubbish.

    The MSM could care less what the viewers think.

  26. 36 Tara Ballance
    July 7, 2009 at 16:54

    Today I armed myself with my “anti-Michael-Jackson-memorial” device, also known as an MP3 player. Needless to say, there is not so much as one song from Michael loaded on it. And I won’t be following the media today, because I simply cannot take much more wallowing in this particular Slough of Despond.

    I grieved for Michael Jackson years ago, after the lovely, talented child performer and gifted, exciting young musician evolved into a sick, scary and creepy adult with questionable morals and behaviour.

    I don’t miss what he became, I miss what he used to be, and we lost THAT Michael Jackson a long time ago.

  27. 37 Rashid Patch
    July 7, 2009 at 17:10

    The mania for Michael Jackson is some kind of obsession with the absurd. Michael Jackson had serious problems; I could never tell if he’d given up sleeping with chimpanzees to sleep with little boys, or vice versa; but it was banal, eventually. After awhile, any news about Michael Jackson was about as boring as it could get with him still being an alien from another planet.

    I have to say that Iiked the melodies of Michael Jackson’s songs, but never – not once, from the 1960s “Jackson 5” records, to any of his later recordings – could I ever make out more than a word or two of the lyrics of any of them. Even singers with not particularly good voices – Louis Armstrong, Jimmy Durante, Bob Dylan, Dr. John – I could always understand the lyrics; but M. Jackson’s high-pitched loud tone was just never intelligible to me.

    • July 7, 2009 at 19:38

      Rashid , allow me to help you some….


      When I had you to myself
      I didnt want you around
      Your pretty face would always make you
      Stand out in a crowd.
      Then someone picked you from the bunch
      one glance is all it took
      Now its way too late for me to take a second look


      Gonna make a change for once in my life
      Gonna feel real good, gonna make a differnce
      Gonna make it right
      I pull the collar on my winter overcoat
      At times i realize
      I see the kids in the street, without enough to eat
      Who am I too be blind pretending not to see them weep
      A silent disregard, a broken bottle top and washed out dreams
      They follow the patter of the wind you see, cuz they got no place to be
      That’s why I’am starting with me.

      I’m starting with the man in the mirror
      I’m asking him to change his way
      No message can be any clearer
      If you want to make the world a better place
      just look at your self and make that change.

  28. 39 Petra in Seattle, WA
    July 7, 2009 at 17:17

    I was trying to watch News on tv yesterday, and browsed through the News channels on Cable. Could not find any news regarding the events in China and just gave up – all the media was presenting was speculation about the memorial today. No wonder so many Americans appear ignorant regarding world events, the media is keeping them that way. I believe that if the media where to move on, people would do much quicker as well. I have no problem with coverage of the MJ memorial, but why ignore other world events?

  29. July 7, 2009 at 17:20

    I am and will always love MJ …. he is the man – one of a kind for this generation and many to come!
    However, since his death I have been unable to get any real news; all the news outlet are just so catch-up with the MJ story, I knew there is a story to tell; but my god … as the news station all lost their ability to multi-task and present more than one story?

  30. July 7, 2009 at 17:21

    Mr. Jackson was a sad and troubled man. If we are to weep let us weep that no one ever sidelined his greedy and brutal father. Let us weep that no one could persuade this undeniably talented man to get therapy and leave the drugs behind.
    However, regardless of the circumstances of his death, the amount of frenzy is not appropriate.

  31. 43 CJ McAuley
    July 7, 2009 at 17:24

    Yes. It is more a statement about “modern” society in 2009. I just heard on Radio4 that his coffin is coming along. A fitting end to “Wacko Jacko”. I was upset when Joe Strummer died, for he had more to do with a change in music than MJ.

  32. July 7, 2009 at 17:34

    @Herbert in Montreal

    WHY exactly did/do you love Michael Jackson?

    I don’t get it.

  33. 45 Elias
    July 7, 2009 at 17:36

    Michael Jackson has been a huge success in the world of music, he has had numerous followers for many years and made headline news some good some bad. His unorthodox life style has made him a recluse so much so that his way of life has caused him ro be a very unhappy person who could not enjoy the simple things in life. He died prematurely like Elvis Presley, had they both lived normal lives without the fame they would have lived longer to a ripe old age. It shows the greater the success the more likelyhood of disaster to follow.

  34. 46 Katy in Canada
    July 7, 2009 at 17:39

    That Michael Jackson had a big impact on music is not in dispute. However, the man was an accused child molester, not once but TWICE, who settled out of court. It is offensive to the families of the children that he is being hero worshiped the world over. Let’s not forget his disgusting attempt to feed the child he called Blanket while doing an interview when the boy was a baby. It is tragic that he was allowed to have access to children at all. I hope that those children get the therapy that they will need.

  35. 47 Toad Toed Princess
    July 7, 2009 at 17:39

    The phrase “It’s enough to gag a maggot.” comes to mind. This has gone over the edge into Herd Mentality. O.K., his creativity influenced music and entertainment but that was only one part of Michael. What about the businesses and numerous people owed great amounts of money? Michael Jackson was a selfish, self centered individual who took what he wanted from life. What kind of a person thinks rules and laws are for everyone but himself? He was an entertainer…..not a god. Michael left a path of grief and pain which many fans now choose to ignore. Being talented in one area of life does not cancel out the remaining 98%.

    • 48 RightPaddock
      July 8, 2009 at 06:25

      My understanding is that the assets of MJ’s estate exceed it’s debt. Maybe the liquid assets are not enough to cover the current debt, but nor are mine, and nor most other folks. The net worth of MJ’s estate is almost certainly in the black.

      I Imagine the revenue that’s going to flow from future sales of his records and music, will be considerable. MJ’s estate also owns the Beatles catalogue, that would seem to be a fairly smart investment. For many decades money will flow into MJ’s estate whenever someone sings a Beatles song in performance, or irrespective of the singer, someone buys or downloads one, or a radio or TV station plays or show one , same with his own catalogue I assume. Reminds of the rivers of gold that flow in Xanadu or is it in Shangri La.

      I only hope the money’s wisely managed so that his children can reap the rewards. But I fear the predators who prowl the halls of the entertainment industry will find ways & means to move the money out of the hands of the children and into their own bottomless piggy banks.

  36. July 7, 2009 at 17:40

    There has been coverage of every part of this man’s life except what you really want to hear. I wonder if he believed in Christ? I wonder if he had faith in Christ at all or found peace in our Lord. What I see on televison seems to say no. But only God knows for sure.

  37. 50 Bob in Queensland
    July 7, 2009 at 17:44

    Yes. Perspective has been lost.

    However, isn’t a bit of a journalistic conceit to discuss the media coverage to try and justify the fact that you’re not REALLY part of the mob discussing Jackson’s death directly?

  38. July 7, 2009 at 17:44

    It is good MJ is being buried today. Perhaps now we can act with the appropriate sense of decency towards the dead that we do even for other dead celebrities. It is unfortunate that even in death, MJ’s memory is still being trivialised as fodder for ratings wars, as noted above. Personally, I tuned out of much of the coverage as I felt it was bordering a little on outrageous. The over commercialisation/ coverage of MJ’s celebrity, however sad and unfortunate, has gone too far in terms of how the media are treating ‘the story’. The momentary consideration that there may well be another agenda to such coverage does not suffice for the spectacle that MJ’s life has become, again and again, thanks to the media and their over abundant zeal to ‘get the story’. MJ’s dead, let’s mourn the tragedy of that fact and move on!

  39. 52 Suresh Karadia
    July 7, 2009 at 17:49

    Why is that BBC reporter Rajesh on assignment in LA, is not wearing a black Tie for MJ funeral? Shame on BBC and the reporter.
    Suresh Karadia,

  40. 54 Sofia
    July 7, 2009 at 17:52

    Question really is, Whose perspective is lost?
    Would Publishing / media houses rather report on something else?
    Would it make sense to be covering issues which are not the immediate concerns of the majority of the reading/listening audience?

    Psychology of Journalism suggests that effective broadcast/ publications will consider the ppls’ interests. That is the journalist’s perspective isnt it.

    Whether its practical or prudent is another issue altogether.


  41. 55 gary
    July 7, 2009 at 18:02

    The perspective from which this event is viewed is the one involved with making money. An ordinary reasonable person might categorize Mr. Jackson’s death as the untimely; but foreseeable, end to the life of brilliantly talented and deeply troubled man. The promoters see it as a moneymaking opportunity of greater import than a live concert. The reality of the world perspective of this death is even darker. We were impressed by the life and so we think it fitting to comment upon the death. Clearly, we should all pay no more attention, nor any less, to every human life ended before its time. Birth alone grants admission to humanity and to all its rights and privileges. We will not further evolve until we can display equal concern for every, untimely death, as we have done for this news-worthy and profitable passing. Requiscat in Pace, Michael.


  42. July 7, 2009 at 18:05

    Micheal Jackson was an icon who mesmerized music lovers of pop music the world over. The adoration as seen at his funeral is a lasting memory of his greatness as a pop idol in the league of Elvis Presley and Frank Sinatra.

  43. 57 David / Canada
    July 7, 2009 at 18:06

    As someone who has no use for celebrity culture I feel this story has been given far too much coverage. With so many far more important events occurring this day with real consequences for people’s lives, from President Obama’s visit to Russia, the upcoming G8 summit, water shortages in India to ongoing conflict in so many regions of the world, surely those events deserve more coverage than an entertainer’s memorial.

  44. July 7, 2009 at 18:06

    Jackson had real and pronounced psychological issues which surfaced later in his life. He had no childhood very much unlike most of us. I felt for him, while he was alive.
    He was unarguably the best pop musician of his time, he was a real gift from God.

  45. 59 Shannon
    July 7, 2009 at 18:08

    As others here have rightfully pointed out, the MJ story has become a meta-story: the covereage is now about the coverage of MJ’s death–and what it says about journalism in the age of the 24-hour news cycle. It is now standard for news anchors/print journalists to begin yet another MJ story with weary and defensive explanations about why they continue to talk about Mr. Jackson’s dyfunctional life and inevitably premature death.

    Anthony and his fellow Angelinos have every right to be disgusted that their cash-strapped city and state are going to be stuck holding a multi-million dollar tab. Maybe California could go into the commerative plate business.

  46. 60 Mark Russell
    July 7, 2009 at 18:09

    It sounds bad to say it, but in a way, this was really the best way for him to go. He was such a trainwreck that if he carried on like this, it’s difficult to imagine him not eventually ending up in prison, facing some pretty dire bankruptcy proceedings or just releasing one craptacular “comeback album” after another in hopes of keeping his head above water. In a way, I’m glad we can still celebrate his life while his legacy is still left somewhat intact.

  47. 61 Ted, US
    July 7, 2009 at 18:13

    There’s no perspective loss over here as there’s no perspective to lose; our media will always prefer celebrity drivel over proper news. We wouldn’t be getting coverage of Urumqi either way.

  48. 62 Prajwal from Nepal
    July 7, 2009 at 18:14

    MJ is dead ..but the circus must go on.(who is taking care of his chimp?)

    • 63 RightPaddock
      July 8, 2009 at 04:29

      @Prajwal from Nepal – MJ lost all his animals a while back. It was either the authorities who thought that they weren’t being cared for adequately or someone decided to deprive them of their captivity, otherwise know as animal liberation. I can’t remember which it was now.

  49. 64 Neal A. Lampi
    July 7, 2009 at 18:21

    I remember when Patty Hearst was “kidnapped” by the Symbionese Liberation Army, it was a distraction, just as all celebrity news is. The OJ trial, Janet Jacksons, breast, Brittany’s travails, are other examples of what people like myself consider distractions. I am not sure Michael Jackson’s funeral has reached the level of distraction, but subsequent memorials may reach that proportion. The news always reflects the needs of the dominant paradigm. Never are the needs of a status quo that looks the other way as 27,000 children a day die to maintain the status quo. There is a DJ Industrial average, but no living standard average. No freedom of speech average. No widely reported human rights report exists. The science demonstrating atmospheric degradation, dead zones in the sea, depleted fisheries, and vanishing topsoil get little coverage. A few of us wonder why. The American people are the best entertained least informed democratic populace on earth.

  50. 65 Iva
    July 7, 2009 at 18:24

    I liked MJ, but indeed what happens with the attention to actors, pop and reality stars is out of proportion! I cannot imagine how focused people have become on celebrities’ lives and deaths, rather than the ones from their neighbourhood, family and friends!

    • 66 becky
      July 8, 2009 at 05:07

      He was like family to allot of people even if they did not know him, what can’t we say we grew up lessening to his music so.

  51. July 7, 2009 at 18:27

    I do not think that it should come as a surprise to people the world over that MJ was really popular. He was a well known figure and he will remain a subject of discussion for years to come. He was indeed blessed by God and highly talented.

  52. 69 TK - United States
    July 7, 2009 at 18:32

    I think the media has gone overboard, but that is commonplace these days. We have many more news channels, etc. than we did when Elvis died years ago, and news coverage for everything has changed over the years. I do not think it is strange for people to grieve over someone they haven’t met! One thing great about this country is how we do love our celebrities. Showing emotion shouldn’t be condemned, but making profit on someone’s death is!

  53. 70 Dennis Knecht
    July 7, 2009 at 18:41

    I have had enough on this over coverage of Michael Jackson. One more word on this and I will turn my radio off and NEVER tune in BBC world service again. We have more im^prtant issues to discuss like Iran, China, Russia and the poverty in Africa.

  54. 71 Prajwal from Nepal
    July 7, 2009 at 18:43

    just let him rest in peace….stop the circus!

  55. 72 Tom D Ford
    July 7, 2009 at 18:44

    I don’t understand the outrage about the Michael Jackson coverage instead of “more important” things.

    It is not as if we, the WHYS community, are some “world serious decision making” group.

    Aren’t we just having a cuppa coffee or tea and talking to each other and letting “everyone have their say” about whatever they are interested in?

    I’m not much interested in MJ and I’m paying my attention to the happenings in China.

    I guess I’m just saying “lighten up” to the “let’s be serious” crowd. Your turn will come, now it is the turn of the MJ folks.

  56. 73 Anthony
    July 7, 2009 at 18:53

    The ONLY WAY I would watch his memorial service if a Zombie MJ were to jump out of his casket and perform Thriller.

    Let’s drop it already, he was out of the light for 10 years already, and just because he died everyones interested all of a sudden?

    -Anthony, LA, CA

    • 74 becky
      July 8, 2009 at 05:15

      So don’t watch it no is forcing you to watch just turn off your t.v and end of the story your story cause we don’t want to hear from you again.

  57. 75 Scott [M]
    July 7, 2009 at 18:54

    It is unfortunate that the Jackson memorial is largely a black event and doesn’t transcend his message. His family and the public involved should be ashamed. It is a trite and superficial affair. What a disgrace! What a shame!

  58. 76 Dan
    July 7, 2009 at 18:55

    I just listened to Lionel Richie singing and felt like crying. Do I need help?

  59. 77 Ralph
    July 7, 2009 at 19:14

    Surely every town and suburb has entertainers who can sing and dance at least as well as Michael Jackson. His popularity was due to huge marketing; his “fans” dating from when huge marketing made him fashionable – most people buy fashion, not music.

    The same can be said of Nelson Mandela – how the world has swallowed that he worked so hard to overcome apartheid whilst imprisoned for years by a supposedly brutal regime (he could have discharged himself at any time if he had chosen to renounce terrorism, which he refused to do) is astonishing. The fact is, Mandela is fashionable, and he himself follows any fad.

    Your news chief claims that Obama and Mandela are “fans”. Obama’s public response to the death was very careful and delivered by a minion – not himself – saying no more than that MJ was a good entertainer. And your news chief justifies the story’s elevation to prime status by saying that millions of people are tuning in to the funeral service (how he knows, I know not!), and again demonstrates the very same herd mentality that made MJ so famous.

    MJ will probably be remembered for tasteless excesses and as an example of marketing over music. It’s amazing how confidently the musically untalented appoint themselves music critics when they think they are parrotting a majority!

  60. 78 Nigel
    July 7, 2009 at 20:13

    The hundreds of networks that your man in California talked about as being present at Jackson’s memorial had to be there!…..ratings and advertising dollars demand it so their presence should not pose a good reason why BBC should follow by cutting in to regular programing. BBC is independent of ratings and advertising dollars??…..aren’t they (BBC’s) Nigel??

  61. 79 Airbear
    July 7, 2009 at 21:03

    Micheal Jackson is an icon of musi and the media had a bigger then normal share in the misery, and happiness of his life. I think someone with such media attention and someone who touched so many hearts positively deserves several days of media coverage!

  62. 80 Mahdi_1983
    July 7, 2009 at 21:18

    May he be blessed by God, I pray for him, I pray to God.
    When I was born, Michael had already become a star of his own. When I recognized who he was, he had been silent for years. And when I was happy that I could see him perform again, I realized that he was gone forever.
    I don’t know what was said about him, but as it was told in his memorial in LA, everyone is innocent, unless otherwise is proved.
    Michael, you’ll be there and here and every where. I adore the life you spent to inspire the whole world that whether we are black or white, WE ARE ALL THE SAME.

  63. 81 Deryck/Trinidad
    July 7, 2009 at 22:56

    I’m full of MJ.It’s time to move on.

  64. 82 Ireneh
    July 7, 2009 at 23:02

    Last month it was iran,today it is china,next week it will bird flu or ebola or a genocide somewhere in the world far away from the WHYSers….but there will NEVER be another Michael Jackson. I have just listened to the memorial and here are amazing facts MJ supported charities before it became fashionable to be part of an NGO,there was We are the World before LIve Aid,the Visited the Veterans from Iraq in hospital and He spoke to the Black congressional caucus about HIV,got letters from Obama and Mandela…..THis guy must have been the antichrist and biggest conman in the world or HE REALLY MATTERED? Which is for you to decide and it would be sad if your decision is left totally to be media to make for you.
    As for feeling the death of someone who you never knew, someone wrote once that no one is an island entire to himself…..if but a stone was to be taken away from this island it would less…so ask not for who the bell tolls,it tolls for thee…….


  65. 83 Roberto
    July 7, 2009 at 23:36

    RE “” today’s memorial service is right at the top of the most read subjects online “”

    ——— Big media events get hyped up beyond reason in order to pay media the big money their big hair demands.

    Just think going out of business promotional blitz on an international scale, and that’s it in a nutshell. Not much mention of the pedophilia MJ, just the music, the bizarre physical transmogrification, and the lifestyle.

    That’s what fans want to hear about.

  66. July 7, 2009 at 23:46

    If I could add one final comment in relation to today’s question/ discussion. I am very, very saddened at Michael’s passing, regardless of whether he was considered a fading celebrity at the time of his death, or as one who lead an obviously complex life. The tragedy for me is that, he was given such a hard time and especially by some of these very media/ people who have been incessantly focusing on his death, recently. I am very happy to see where the mood of today’s memorial was appropriately meaningful in celebrating the life of this unquestionably bright star that was ‘gone too soon’!

    I really liked MJ’s music and his incomparable talent, not in the fanatical sense in which I am ripping out my hair at the mention of his name, but because of his sheer artistic genius which impacted so many lives, meaningfully. …Walk good, Michael, as we say in Jamaica, and may good duppy (Jamaican folk word to mean ghost/ spirit) follow you!

  67. July 8, 2009 at 01:41

    Michael Jackson was a mere mortal like anyone else.

  68. 87 Peik Looi
    July 8, 2009 at 04:41

    If you think this is huge, you were probably sleeping when MJ released his Thriller album. Why, even my 70 year old grandpa talked about him and teased us with his rendition of the Hokkien-accented ‘Beat It’. My grandma with her failing eyesight instantly recognized MJ as the crotch-grab singer. You can say that MJ was a hot “kopitiam” (coffee shop) topic. My siblings and I would battle to collect a 7 (hazy on this number) part series of weekly 1-page MJ biography in the Malaysian national daily. Songs from his albums were played all day and the frenzy leading up to his domination of the Grammy-s was the talk of the town. Everybody wanted to sound, dance and dress like MJ or be MJ.

    Did the media had a hand in feeding this frenzy or was it all part of the package that is MJ? The media at its very core serves to bridge a concept, but MJ can only be MJ. RIP.

  69. July 8, 2009 at 05:27

    This hype on MJ’s death is a lot of hot air hyped up by the media for a person who has caused much of what is called unwanted news.

    Now in death he is being made up to be some sort of divine person who has to be worshiped for all his abuses and malpractices.

    This is enough , lets us pit a stop to this by the media including BBC, CNN and others,

    MJ has gone the way of all human beings lives ending. He could not live on for ever.

    I wonder if you will do the same for say any ordinary person who dies?

    Just put a stop this this media hype.

    There are more important issues to concentrate on than the death of an individual.


  70. 89 Martin
    July 8, 2009 at 08:34

    Totally over the top…ridiculous..what a waste of time. I refused to watch any of it. Just bury the man and get over it.

  71. 90 Aylwin from Malaysia
    July 8, 2009 at 09:43

    It’s about time that the world moved on. I’m sure the majority of us have already mourned the legend in our own way. We have a myriad other things that the international media should be focusing on, like nuclear proliferation issues in N. Korea, the drama surrounding the elections in Iran, (and dare I hope) an expose on crooked politicians here in Malaysia.

  72. July 8, 2009 at 09:51

    if u are popular,we mourne for a day.why should the medias extend it?i would have been touched if he had remained discern and not polorised the world with his bad attitude.HE IS DEAD AND SO WHAT.WHAT IS THE CONSENT OF MEDIAS TO FOCUS ON THAT AND NOT PERTINENT ISSUS AROUND THE WORLD.

  73. July 8, 2009 at 09:56


    • 93 kalu
      July 8, 2009 at 17:43

      Those who know you
      Those who have contacted you
      Those who appreciated you as a person
      Those who respected you for what you are

      so strive my friend,
      to make yourself known
      to be yourself and reach out in your own way to people
      to be good in your doings

  74. 94 Claudette Francois
    July 8, 2009 at 13:06

    Undeniably Michael Jackson had a massive following all over the world. Also undeniably there were people who didn’t like him or his music. Should the Queen or any member of the British Royal Family (or any other royal family for that matter) die, I would be amongst many in the UK and around the world who wouldn’t care less. That still wouldn’t give me the right disparage her, her family or her supporters. It amazes me that so many people think they are in a position to make assumptions about someone they did not even know. It’s probably a good thing that we don’t all take what appears in the media as gospel!

  75. July 8, 2009 at 13:15

    Dear boy: Michael Jackson HAS changed the perspectives.

  76. 96 daniela
    July 8, 2009 at 14:30


  77. 97 Tom K in Mpls
    July 8, 2009 at 14:33

    Is it over yet?

  78. 98 GlendaJ
    July 8, 2009 at 14:55

    So, when we return to “normal”, I doubt things would have changed much….floods, hurricanes, tornadoes, riots, murders, bombings, strikes, accidents, corruptions all the day-to-day happenings of our lovely world – same thing, different place.
    Yes, people die every day and what makes one person’s death different to any other? Maybe because his life was different to any other.
    Give the man his time…..just like any other great deserves….Princess Di, Mother Theresa, Mandela, Martin Luther King, Ghandi, Bob Marley, Elvis Presley, Madonna…..people who touched the lives of millions of others deserve their spotlight. We’re running out of them, so when one goes, let’s change the news for a week!!!

  79. 99 ~Rhoda in the United States
    July 8, 2009 at 15:26

    Come on. A day for Micheal was not a bad thing. I think it was really great that World have your Say/BBC did a nice thing by dedicating the day to him. It was a nice gesture. Besides, I am pretty sure the wars, killing, women beating, money hungry bankers and lieing politicians will be the focus today and then it will be back to normal for us.

  80. 100 Kate_D from Kazakhstan
    July 8, 2009 at 15:29

    i’ve never been a great fan of MJ, but i’ve always thought that was one of the best entertainers in the world. I’ve always respected him as a talanted person. He made something that seemd impossible. he proved that one man can change everything, can do all that he want.
    Now i think that the world lost the greatest musician. No one can go his way and nobody will do as much as MJ did.

    I think that’s ok that so many people all around the world morn for him. He didn’t live for himself. He lived for all of us, he made his music for us so we feel like he’s part of us.
    I feel like i due to morn for him. His music is a great gift for me – i spent so many wonderfull hours listening to it.
    I can’t even imagine what a person he was (i don’t believe mass media – i think he was different), but i so apreciate what he has done to the worl of music.
    RIP Michael… You are always in our hearts.

  81. 101 Dennis Junior
    July 8, 2009 at 15:51

    I have to agreed with Mark’s Comments regarding that on Tuesday was Michael Jackson day of coverage…I would have prefer to see the Situation in China being covered…

    ~Dennis Junior~

    • 102 kalu
      July 8, 2009 at 17:35

      Why do you prefer to see the violent coverage of ethnic clampdown in China instead of watching the soul consolling concert in funeral honor of the greatest entertainer of all times.
      At least the protesters and the police had some of hours of reflection while watching the funeral, the dead toll remained at least constant yesterday.

      • 103 Dennis Junior
        July 9, 2009 at 05:51

        For starters: Michael Jackson, coverage was provided on most television and radio stations on Tuesday, with “some” coverage of a news story….

        ~Dennis Junior~

  82. 104 AmsterdamUsh
    July 8, 2009 at 16:38

    When september 11th was on , I had a lot on my mind and after a day I thought, Jeeeeezus some peolpe were killed, that s’ bad , but all this fuss , there are wars all over the world and people die day daily of hunger, what is this?? Why all the fuss;
    I had a lot on my mind then, you hav e to remember…

    I understand why the world reacts to Michael Jacksons dead.
    And I appreciate the Worldservice even more than I did before (I’ve been listening from my 12th on…), for te time they (in my opinion) spend on this” Item” .
    I think there aren’t many superstars in this world apart from Michael Jackson, Jezus(?), Cleopatra(?) and Oprah(?)…Michael Jackson was a superstar..it’s a fact of life…..easy as one two three…do re mi… got it? ; ) Goood… : ))

  83. 105 emily
    July 8, 2009 at 16:50

    I understand that people are unhappy with all the press MJ’s death has attracted but you need to remember that this wasn’t just a pop star, this was another Elvis or John Lennon. He changed the way we see music and pop culture, yes he hasn’t always had good media attantion but I wonder if that’s all his fault. MJ seems to be some sort of enigma, not a human, he is neither dead or alive, he just is. He could never be percieved as real because he can’t get in touch with the reality that we all see, his reality was flamboyant, extravagant and to all of us seemed very excessive! But the fact is, that was what he knew, he was born into the media circus. And as a true musical genius he died with as much, if not more, media attention that surrounded him as in life. Yes there are other very important things that could be covered in the news but really I believe MJ deserves this coverage so the people who do feel they need to mourn him have the chance, it’s not hurting anyone, it’s just highlighting the fact that we certainly have lost a legend.

  84. 106 Jack in Tampa, Florida
    July 8, 2009 at 17:02

    But in the longer term, the question of Michael Jackson’s children is
    challenging in other ways. Like his demands for plastic surgery or
    painkillers, their conception was accomplished as a made-to-order,
    cash-on-the-barrelhead commercial transaction. According to TMZ.com and
    other entertainment news sites, Jackson is not biologically related to any
    of his three children. Reportedly, the women who gestated them carried
    anonymously donated eggs fertilized by sperm from secret donors.
    Apparently the children were all crafted to be “white” enough to match
    Jackson’s artfully devised if pathetically alienated image of himself.
    Deborah Rowe, Jackson’s ex-wife and the surrogate who carried his oldest two
    children to term, describes being inseminated “like a horse”; she then
    received around $9 million to give up any claim to them. On the birth
    certificate of Jackson’s youngest child, the space for “mother” is left

  85. 107 Jack in Tampa, Florida
    July 8, 2009 at 17:04

    It’s hard to imagine that Jackson would have been found fit if he had
    attempted to adopt children. It is interesting to contemplate the eugenic
    ends to which in vitro fertilization and surrogate birth are being put these
    days, often as a kind of end run around the formal inspection of the
    adoption process. How much more common will the purchase of “the perfect
    child” become when bioengineering for specific physical traits becomes
    easier and less costly? It’s not a new problem:
    “colorism” (preference for lighter skin) is an old problem within the
    African-American community. Choosing trophy spouses is a cruder version of
    the same game. Nevertheless, it is troubling that the law of sales is about
    the only context for debating this rapidly developing area.
    Shouldn’t we think harder about the degree to which a free market for
    eugenics is enabled by easy-payment contract clauses conferring parenthood
    through the immaculate conception of biotechnology?

  86. 108 kalu
    July 8, 2009 at 17:23

    Which is the more important news of the momment?
    Never ending war in Iraq and Afganistan?
    Election violence in Iran?
    Iran Nuclear programe?
    Military coup in Honduras?
    Teror and bomb explosion in Iraq, Afganistan, Parkistan, India?
    Finance crisis, bank collapse, company closures, Maddox?
    Hunger and war in Dafur, Congo, Somalia?
    Shooting spree in school in America, Germany, Sweden?
    Isreal and Palestine?

    why are people jealous of the funeral of somebody who all his life makes music and entertainment that sometimes saves us the endless daily horror media broadcast as listed above?

    I am ashamed that this question is being asked in this century
    What makes humans different from other living creatures?

  87. July 8, 2009 at 17:53

    Let’s facebook it, peace-loving people of the world of kindness, the late Michael Jackson a.k.a Mohammed Mikael bin Abdullah was one of God’s greatest gifts to Mankind! Let the whole world and all its media e-spectrum write, twitter, talk, blog for all they care because admit it, we all care for the King of Pop! 🙂 Take care, guys! 😉 Stay away from H1N1… Accept it as a fact of life (and death), MJ’s gone (destined for Paradise) but SF’s (Swine Flu) is here to stay! 😛

  88. 110 Celeste
    July 9, 2009 at 00:36

    This MJ coverage is ALL ABOUT making a buck. Pure and simple.

    • 111 Dennis Junior
      July 12, 2009 at 07:27

      @ Celeste:
      Your remarks are totally correct…Specially, in the United States…Since, the Broadcasters e.g. CBS and NBC have devoted many resources on the story since it broke.

      ~Dennis Junior~

  89. 112 Paul R, Birmingham. England
    July 10, 2009 at 23:05

    You all ask why is the coverage so over the top –
    1) 24 hour non stop news – they desperately need anything to fill it.
    2) Micheal died at quite a young age without warning.
    3) In this day and age everyone has an opinion, a thought, feelings etc etc on every available topic.
    4) Micheal was like many people quite a private person, and some people (especially the media) are desperate to find out his secrets.

    Ther last time I can remember coverage like this was the start of the Iraq war, which I feel considering what was happening was justified. However this time the media has made themselves (Including the BBC) look ridiculous. Hour after hour of continuous coverage, talking to anyone they could find to continue to feed the story. In a sense they were almost as big a story as the death itself, in their lack of sensitivity and perspective.
    A great entertainer passed away, at a young age, unexpectedly. In itself it is shocking, the coverage, I feel demeaned his memory, by showing a lack of respect.
    His family, like any family have to try to come to terms with what has happened, though I doubt the media care about them at all. Wheres the story in that!

  90. July 11, 2009 at 11:08

    I know that one day I will Moonwalk with Jacko in the afterlife.

  91. 114 Dinka Aliap Chawul-Kampala,Uganda
    July 11, 2009 at 17:52

    How many iconic people had died since creation but the world is still moving forward.Even Philips Dube was not given a such attentions in Oct 10th 07 by the world media but i think his songs were so outstanding than MJ’s songs except his performance on stages.Lucky Dube was so astonishing & instrumental to Africans.MAY HIS SOUL REST IN ETERNITY

  92. July 13, 2009 at 07:26

    I truly believe that Michael jackson deserve to be honor due to his contribution to music. Musically, he was fantastic. what I regret is the way he died, I do no think he ever dealt with his chidhood issues which contributed to his unhappiness and his obsession to perfection. How dare people say that MJ did not father his children. What’s going on in this planet, I have seen other black people having children that look white and they do not get this type of attention. A father is caring, loving and teach his children valuable lesson as I am sure MJ did to his kids. Michael Jackson always say, You wana know the truth go ask the person in question. As I always say do not try to trash somebody just because you do not understand the person. MJ was highly misunderstood but all along there were those that understood him and even relate. Rest in peace MJ and I hope to see you in the new earth even God dance some of your songs, specially those that deal with social issues.

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