Monday, July 6, 2009

A Congressman named King, the King of Pop, and Truth


The latest Michael Jackson blather comes from Congressman Pete King, R-NY. King recorded a video where he criticizes the media circus surrounding the pop star's recent death and soon-to-be memorial service. He stepped way beyond the boundaries as he calls Jackson a pedophile and pervert. He was highly critical of the media coverage that he said should instead be focused on members of the military who have died in service to our country. He made the statement on the Fourth of July amid a backdrop of flags waving as he stands in front of his Wantagh, NY American Legion post.

Now, while there may be some value to King's questioning the excessive media coverage of Michael Jackson's death, I can't help but wonder about his motives. Whenever I hear a Republican spewing the 'hurrah for the troops' rhetoric, especially in full view of the high-flying stars and stripes and in the shadow of the American Legion, I can't help but be a little suspicious.

There is a funny thing about rhetoric. There is usually some grain of truth buried inside the huge nugget of grandiosity. In my opinion, the media coverage has been over-the-top. It went beyond the "developments" in the case stemming from drugs being found, potential child custody issues, and other newsworthy events.

Unfortunately, King's remarks about celebrating the service of police, firefighters, and members of the military was lost by his name-calling. A lawmaker should know better than anyone that Michael Jackson was not convicted of any wrongdoing. This is the land of law where a man is innocent until proven guilty.

Does this mean I believe Jackson was beyond suspicion, despite his own admission that he slept with little children? Do I think he lied about his relationships with children even at the same time he swore he never had any kind of plastic surgery on his face or that his appearance changed naturally as he grew from a cute little black child to a ghastly-looking white man?

Herein lies the most concrete observation I came away with after years as a journalist. It seems that truth lies in the eye of the beholder. Even though we all grew up believing truth was black and white, we also believed in Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny. Perspective colors the truth. And it is only after establishing the shade of gray that determines truth, can there be belief.