Tuesday, June 5, 2007

'People only heard sound bites'

To all you bloggers out there:

This is my first blog – ever. And I must admit, it’s a bit scary for me, because I primarily write for book readers and, sometimes, for magazine and newspaper readers. Writing this, my first blog entry, feels like I’m writing into thin air. I have no idea who will read this, or who will respond, or what blogging is really about. This concept is new to me. All I know is that I have a new book that has people buzzing – it exposes the media bias surrounding Michael Jackson. In it, I use trial evidence to show people how slanted news coverage can be.

Speaking of that, I was on FOX News with Geraldo Sunday night and had a few seconds to talk about this new book, Michael Jackson Conspiracy, and just as I was getting into a discussion about the media bias against Michael Jackson, the camera went to Mark Fuhrman, who trashed Jackson all the way. What stunned me was that Fuhrman seemed to have no clue about what he was saying. For one thing, Furman wasn’t ever at the Jackson trial, nor had he bothered to do “catch up” homework about my book. Furthermore, he seemed to admit that he had a slanted view about the trumped up charges against Michael, and felt Michael was guilty, regardless of the jury verdicts. I was shocked to realize that here I was, trying to set the record straight about the Michael Jackson trial. And meanwhile, Fuhrman decided that, for his part, he was going to give the public more disinformation about Michael Jackson.

One thing that I found curious: Furman said that “most mothers lie” on the stand. Hmmmm. Well, in the 2005 case against Jackson, the mother of the accuser lied so often, about everything under the sun, and it was proven that she defrauded the California taxpayers by taking welfare while having received a $152,000 settlement from the J.C. Penney Corp. As some people know, that $152,000 was granted to her after she filed a suit that alleged she was sexually molested and assaulted by a group of J.C. Penney guards in a J.C. Penney parking lot. Her two sons – both of the Jackson accusers – backed this “mother” up, swearing they witnessed a sexual and physical attack on Janet Arvizo in the J.C. Penney parking lot. Janet Arvizo later admitted to defense attorney Tom Mesereau, from the witness stand, that she claimed that a J.C. Penney guard twisted one of her nipples “10 to 25 times.”

One of her sons, Star Arvizo, said that he witnessed his mother putting her breast back into her bra after the supposed “parking lot attack.” The other son, Gavin Arvizo, claimed he saw his mother being assaulted by J.C. Penney guards, but Janet Arvizo had no visible marks on her body on the day of the incident. According to Mesereau’s research, Janet Arvizo’s “bruises” appeared some time later – conveniently when she went to a civil attorney to squeeze money out of J.C. Penney.

From my perspective, Michael Jackson was a target for this family of grifters, and Tom Mesereau proved that in court time and time again. But the media would never report it. I was guilty of that kind of slanted reportage – because back then I had “guilty” in my head before I listened to the evidence. Looking back, I reported the same things that other media people seemed to focus on. In my view, everyone followed a pack – like a herd of sheep. Even after the “NOT GUILTY” verdicts, no one bothered to say they were wrong. No one wanted to show the defense side of the story – not at all.

I decided to write this book, Michael Jackson Conspiracy, about a year after the trial was over. I had been given access to the evidence in Santa Maria, and as I sat in the courthouse basement looking at everything – it dawned on me that this accuser, Gavin Arvizo, was not being truthful in his initial police interview. I re-wound the tape a few times and kept looking at one thing. The police asked Gavin if he knew what an ejaculation was. Gavin was 13 at the time, and he looked at the police and Gavin paused, then said he didn’t know what it was. So I turned to the court clerk, who was monitoring me, and I asked her, “What do you think of this?”

The clerk said a 13-year-old boy knows what ejaculation is, and she laughed in a nervous way. Then I rewound the video tape again. I looked at how this accuser answered other questions. For instance, the police asked Gavin if he knew right from wrong. Gavin said, “Yes.” Then the police asked Gavin to give an example of doing something that was wrong. And suddenly – Gavin stopped dead. The kid had no examples to give. The police had to give him ideas, like, “Is killing someone wrong?” And the kid said, “Yeah.” It was like the police were spoon-feeding him information, calling Gavin “buddy,” and figuring out ways to get Gavin to give them answers they were fishing for.

But what really struck me as odd was the careful way that Gavin was responding. It was like he had been schooled or trained in this kind of thing.

In my career, I have written really gut-wrenching books about tragic murders. Some of my books have been true stories about how teenagers have killed people. I have always approached the impact of crime on children in a serious way. I would not make light of it or be dismissive of it, if I thought a crime had been committed against a child. Yet, as I was reviewing the evidence during my research for Michael Jackson Conspiracy, I noted that things were not adding up.

I wonder if Michael would have ever tried to help this family if he’d been told about their background. I highly doubt it. I still feel it’s sickening that these people had managed to manipulate so many stars, getting them into their corner – George Lopez and Chris Tucker among them. The Arvizo clan even reached out to Jay Leno, who later testified that Gavin sounded “scripted” over the phone. That was the exact word Leno used: “scripted.” In fact, Leno was so put-off by Gavin’s calls, he made a request to have the calls stop. The woman who set up the original phone calls, an LA comic, told Leno that Gavin “writes things down before he says them” – trying to make excuses for the boy, telling Leno she thought Gavin was reading from a paper because the kid was practicing for a career in comedy and acting.

Of course, there are so many details like this that were never reported in the mainstream news. People only heard sound bites, and most of the coverage was hype-oriented, not content-oriented. After my appearance on Geraldo last night, I realized that the interview with Fuhrman still sounded like baseless hype. The whole purpose of my book is to create a lesson out of the damage perpetuated by baseless hype in the news. Yet, two years after the media was exposed for its unfounded hype and for forecasting a false outcome in Michael Jackson’s trial, Mark Fuhrman, as a representative of FOX News, was acting as if there had been no lesson to learn.

Okay, well – I can go on forever, but I’m going to stop here for now before I get even more heated up about this. Some fan sites have asked me to answer questions and I will be happy to do that. Please contact me at aphrodite.jones@yahoo.com.

Keep the faith! And tell people that the MEZ and I will be doing only one public book signing together. We will be at the Brookins AME Church, 4831 S Gramercy Place, Los Angeles, California, 90062. Hope to see people in LA next Monday night, June 11, from 7pm - 9pm.

Peace and Love!


gilesmic said...

Hi Aphrodite!
I'm very much looking forward to reading your new book. I can't wait for it to come out.

I saw the clip of you on Geraldo; you didn't seem to get to talk much. Furman made a prize fool of himself though. that was pretty much the best advertising you could ask for. He very clearly demonstrated the exact media bias you were talking about.

I commend you on having the courage to admit you were wrong about the trial, and for having the guts to tell the rest of the media they were wrong too!

Look forward to reading it!

Glamour Goddess said...

Hello Ms. Jones,
I just want to tell you how much I admire your decision to speak out and tell the truth about the case.

There was so much blatant media bias that I found it startling that otherwise intelligent people either couldn't see it or just flat out refused to.

It was quite an experience trying to explain to these sheep why the case was a sham and the verdict handed down was just. In return I got garbage theories and attacks against Jackson. All of it just rehash from a sound bite or some tabloid fairytale.

What happened to Jackson could happen to ANY of us. It is high time we stop allowing those in the media to hide behind the First Amendment when they have done something wrong and potentially dangerous.

Kudos to you.

mystery said...

Hello Ms. Jones:

I am just now finishing the book you've written. It certainly gives the facts that the media left. Unfortunately realism doesn't sell ratings deception does.

I am very glad that you decided to write the book. Yet the opposition will hold firmly to what they feel is right and combat you for doing such an endeavor. Your a brave woman and I totally admire your strength.

What I read is so powerful and a must read.

shiva said...

I listened to your interview (I think it was the one on air america?) anyways, I seem to remember there being a question about the Chandler case i.e "Why did Michael pay if he was innocent". If you didn't know this already it came out in the Arvizo trial that Michael didn't settle the Chandler case. It was settled by his insurance carrier against his wishes. Here is the relevant document: