No one puts together a full-blown media spectacle like the good old U.S. of A.
At least that’s the take of many overseas observers watching as the Michael Jackson drama unfolds. The pop star was in court on Friday (January 16) for his arraignment, an event which drew a sea of onlookers, supporters and lots and lots of media types. While the 24-7 coverage that the case has garnered so far is a bit much, it’s somehow as American as baseball and apple pie, according to those viewing the proceedings from other lands.
“I think the way that Michael’s case is being handled is so open and American,” said 23-year-old Natsuko Musha of Shibuya, Japan. It’s a consensus shared by many as Jackson — arguably the world’s most recognizable man — faces child-molestation charges.
“It wouldn’t get as much attention in Japan as it has in the U.S.,” 20-year-old Taju Nikaido of Japan said. “If it was a Japanese star, the management company would probably cover it up and the story wouldn’t get out.”
Closer to home, many also think that the wall-to-wall coverage that the Jackson case has garnered in the States is uniquely American. “The States are really big on the celebrity part,” 19-year-old Brenda Friese of British Columbia, Canada, said.
“I think the media’s really putting all the attention on the negative things, and they’re not really giving him any benefit,” Terry Kriegen, 19, of Saskatchewan said.
“Yeah, there’s more important things going on in the world than Michael Jackson,” 18-year-old Julia of Calgary added.
Others, however, say that Jackson’s fame and the severity of the charges warrant the avalanche of news that the case has inspired thus far.
“He’s had so much attention focused on him since childhood, so I don’t think it’s surprising the attention this is getting,” 18-year-old Hiroko Kobayashi of Kumagaya, Japan, said.
“I don’t think that it’s blown out of proportion considering the arena that it’s in, the fact that it’s Michael Jackson and it’s child abuse,” 22-year-old Clark of Calgary said.
“This is world news, and Spain is not an exception,” Marcos Gonzalez, 28, of Barcelona, Spain, said. “Michael is the most famous person in the world, even more famous than the Pope. He is known everywhere in the world, so it would be the same if he was accused in Spain or in the States.”
But the greatest understanding of the Jackson media landslide seems to come from our neighbors to the south. “He’s a famous pop star, and as with any famous person, all the things that happen to those people are huge,” 23-year-old Georgina Ceballos of Mexico City said.
“The Mexican press loves gossip, so they would be all over him,” 20-year-old Maria Eugenia Solis of Mexico said. “Those kids could not defend themselves. It is a monstrosity.”
“I think the attention will be the same and even bigger [if this had happened in Mexico],” 19-year-old Dante Monterrubio added. “Even if his fame is going downhill, he is still big enough to grab the attention of the media.”
For full coverage of the Michael Jackson case, see “Michael Jackson Accused.”