By RYAN GRILLE
Recently, two major scandals involving big name music artists were in the headlines. The first involved a heated CBS interview with R. Kelly after he was indicted for several counts of sexual abuse. The other involved a documentary series presented by HBO entitled “Leaving Neverland” that led to a revaluation about Michael Jackson’s legacy in the news media. Both were excellent examples of the power of journalism in public discourse.
The interview with R. Kelly was conducted by Gayle King for “CBS This Morning.” Throughout the interview, R. Kelly tired to defend himself from the charges made against him. The most memorable and most widely reported incident occurred when Kelly had an emotional breakdown. King was able to keep her composure while Kelly was throwing a tantrum. This led to widespread ridicule and disgust on the Internet. King’s interview with Kelly, along with her follow-up interview with Kelly’s girlfriends, are an excellent example of a reporter’s power to influence public opinion.
HBO’s investigative documentary focused on allegations of sexual abuse made towards Michael Jackson. Specifically, it focused a few key witnesses most notably Wade Robson and James Safechuck. Both men and their families gave testimonials that included graphic details on how Jackson groomed and abused them. Crucially, the documentary uses video and audio recordings, as well as several photographs, to back up the claims made by the interviewees.
The documentary resulted in many articles and outlets condemning Michael Jackson for his actions and questioning his legacy as the “King of Pop”. Despite this, many hardcore fans of Michael Jackson have attempted to rally against the documentary and discredit the claims made against him. While it is still up in the air as to the documentary’s long-term effect, the conversations it has opened up have been dominating the Internet.