- The Washington Times - Thursday, March 31, 2005

Look around. We are achieving our strategic ends in the Middle East faster than expected.

Freedom and stability unimaginable only a few years ago are now in sight. Never in the region’s history has such a thing been thought possible.

The domestic economy is sound and growing. The president is moving toward tax simplification and Social Security and tort reform: He believes in and is willing to fight for them rather than spend his last years in office shaking hands and smiling.

So what is the talk of the media, specifically cable television? Aside from the botched discussion of the fate of Mrs. Terri Schiavo it is the saga of Michael Jackson, a creep who appeals solely to creeps and to the more sophisticated sorts who feast on stories of money and notoriety — which is to say celebrity.

I say the botched discussion of the Schiavo case because serious science and serious ethics have been drowned out by sentiment and ignorance. Again journalism has not been up to the challenge of history.

Yet to return to the appalling Jackson case: He has suffered a setback. The judge has ruled the jury can hear allegations of sexual abuse in his past with at least five other boys, one of whom received more than $20 million in an out-of-court settlement. This is very good news if only because it may hasten the day when the cable news sages move on to something of greater importance — for instance, implementation of the first U.S. shift in strategic policy since 1947 when President Harry Truman adopted the policy of “containment” toward the Soviet Union. Our new policy for confronting terrorism and Islamofascism is pre-emption. Surely it deserves equal time with Michael Jackson’s teddy bears, pornography and mannequins, which he collected at his idiot manse, Neverland. After that, cable television might address the looming domestic battles over President Bush’s new policies at home constituting his “ownership society.”

The tone adopted by cable news sages for the Michael Jackson trial and the nonsensical world Mr. Jackson inhabits is hypocrisy at its best. First there is the omniscience. The sages talk as if they know just everything about this case and this creep. Second is a tone of moral and intellectual superiority, about precisely what it is difficult to say. But the sages are markedly superior. So why do they gab on about it? Well, they are slumming. From their perches of superiority, they dip down to give viewers an amusing glimpse of the creep and his case.

As for the creep himself, he has finally settled on his defense. He is the victim of prejudice and of a “conspiracy.”

In other words, he will use the same defense tactics the Clintons used. Do not be surprised if he begins talking about a “Vast White-Thing Conspiracy.” Interviewed the other day by the Rev. Jesse Jackson, theologian and humanitarian, the creep claimed he is being persecuted as other “black luminaries” have been. He mentioned Nelson Mandela and two former heavyweight champions. He already has alluded to a conspiracy besetting him. He said, “A lot of conspiracy is going on as we speak.” Hillary and Bill know just what he is talking about.

Michael Jackson is one of the pop culture phenomena of the celebrity era. Modestly talented in one area, he has by clever marketing amassed a vast amount of money. With that legitimatization, he went on to claim an array of talents he manifestly lacks. He can dance. That is about it.

He is also repulsive and spectacularly stupid. In his interview with the Rev. Jackson, this lifelong musician made this memorable statement: “I loved the album that Tchaikovsky did, the ‘Nutcracker’ Suite. It’s an album where every song is a great song.” I did not actually hear this interview, but I wonder. Did the Rev. and the King of Pop then commence to sing a few ditties from the “Nutcracker”? Did they mention any other albums by this guy Tchaikovsky?

The level of intellect now maintained on cable news is, if possible, even lower than the intellect maintained throughout the rest of televisionland with the sane exception of C-Span.

After the Michael Jackson trial ends, one wonders, what will come next? Perhaps this guy Tchaikovsky will be indicted for some weird transgression. They say out there on his ranch he does some strange things with those nutcrackers.

R. Emmett Tyrrell Jr. is founder and editor in chief of The American Spectator, a contributing editor to the New York Sun, and an adjunct scholar at the Hudson Institute. His latest book is “Madame Hillary: the Dark Road to the White House.”

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