Since Aphrodite Jones published her new book, Michael Jackson Conspiracy, I have noticed that many people in the media still have an unreasonable expectation that they enjoy a wide latitude when it comes to easily disseminating "inside information.” In a court of law, evidence that does not meet certain rules (or standards) does not get admitted during trial. Over the internet, I found a brief (and very general) explanation of evidence that cannot be admitted in court:
"The main reason why evidence is ruled inadmissible is because it falls into a category deemed so unreliable that a court should not consider it as part of a deciding a case --for example, hearsay evidence, or an expert's opinion that is not based on facts generally accepted in the field. Evidence will also be declared inadmissible if it suffers from some other defect--for example, as compared to its value, it will take too long to present or risks enflaming the jury, as might be the case with graphic pictures of a homicide victim. In addition, in criminal cases, evidence that is gathered using illegal methods is commonly ruled inadmissible."
Hearsay (the repeating of "rumors") and people's unqualified opinions (unless a person is an expert in an applicable field, a person’s opinions can be deemed to be just more “rumors”) seem to be what some media figures trade on when they discuss the Michael Jackson trial. “Inside information,” no matter how juicy and titillating and perhaps even scandalous, does not rise to the test of being "evidence" that can be admitted during trial. The kind of “inside information” that is based on rumor and innuendo can never be deemed to be reliable. Had any of this so-called titillating “inside information” ever been considered to be reliable, you had better believe that D.A. Sneddon would have moved to admit it in court. But there is a check on moving to admit unreliable evidence: competent defense counsel and a reasonable judge would follow the rules of criminal procedure, before admitting evidence.
When media figures act like any kind of evidence (regardless of the quality of evidence or in respect of any standards) can be admitted in court, what these media figures are confused about is that they think a court of law is the same as what has evolved to become the court of public opinion. There is a blurring that is taking place inside the media. Reporters, journalists, and commentators are collapsing a real court of law, where there are standards and procedures, with the court of public opinion, where, according to the pattern of the media's pack mentality which is documented in Michael Jackson Conspiracy, almost anything goes. On some televised court programs, I have noticed that some media figures will present almost any kind of “evidence” to the public, whereas if reporters and correspondents had to present the same “evidence” in an actual court, the media would be subject to rules and standards. Why have some in the media come to believe that they are bound by no rules or standards?
When the media spoon feeds the public "sound bites" based on substandard information, it becomes obvious that many in the media, and some correspondents in particular, are not following any rules or standards when it comes to what should be considered “facts” in their journalism. If a reporter’s career has taken her or him all the way to a major news outlet, then that reporter should have already learned this lesson. You could almost say that any media figures, who are still trading on gossipy “inside information,” are acting reckless and with wanton disregard for any rules or standards.
As Michael Jackson Conspiracy becomes widely read and discussed, more people are discovering for themselves the high standards in journalism, to which we must return. In response to commentary by Mark Fuhrman, someone posted the following message on one of Ms. Jones’s YouTube videos: “Since when is crime a matter of opinion? I thought it was a matter of laws.”