How to Recognize and Refute the Fallacies Used By Michael Jackson Haters, Part 2 of 5
In this part, we will look at how the media has completely distorted Michael Jackson’s plastic surgeries in order to advance their agenda, among other issues, so let’s get started……………..
Bandwagon (also, Argument from Common Sense, Argumentum ad populum): The fallacy of arguing that because “everyone” supposedly thinks or does something, it must be right. E.g., “Everyone thinks undocumented aliens ought to be kicked out!” Sometimes also includes Lying with Statistics, e.g. “Surveys show that over 75% of Americans believe Senator Snith is not telling the truth. For anyone with half a brain, that conclusively proves he’s a dirty liar!”
The bandwagon fallacy is also known as an “ad populum” technique. This is typically used by the media to justify their attacks on MJ. For example, let’s look at this quote from Charles Thomson’s “Most Shameful Episode In Journalistic History” article:
Why was Michael Jackson so stressed and so paranoid that he couldn’t even get a decent night’s sleep unless somebody stuck a tube full of anesthetic into his arm? I think the answer can be found in the results of various polls conducted in the wake of Michael Jackson’s trial.
A poll conducted by Gallup in the hours after the verdict showed that 54% of White Americans and 48% of the overall population disagreed with the jury’s decision of ‘not guilty’. The poll also found that 62% of people felt Jackson’s celebrity status was instrumental in the verdicts. 34% said they were ‘saddened’ by the verdict and 24% said they were ‘outraged’. In a Fox News poll 37% of voters said the verdict was ‘wrong’ while an additional 25% said ‘celebrities buy justice’. A poll by People Weekly found that a staggering 88% of readers disagreed with the jury’s decision.
The media not only loves to play the “most people think MJ is guilty” card, but they also break it down by race, in order to imply that only blacks are really into him! The best way to refute someone who tries to use this fallacy is to say that “Well, there was a time when most people thought that the earth was flat, but Christopher Columbus proved them wrong!”
Big Lie Technique (also “Staying on Message”): The contemporary fallacy of repeating a lie, slogan or deceptive half-truth over and over (particularly in the media) until people believe it without further proof or evidence.
The big lie technique is arguably the most effective technique that the media has used to brainwash an impressionable and gullible public, and turn them against MJ. By constantly repeating the “Wacko Jacko” moniker, rumors of skin bleaching, plastic surgery, being a self-hating black man, and numerous other lies, the public has been conditioned into thinking the worst about MJ. Essentially, by repeating the same lies over and over again, they start to sound like the truth! If that phrase sounds somewhat familiar, it’s because there was a famous dictator who was 100% successful in using the big lie technique to brainwash his citizens; that person was Adolf Hitler! Here’s his quote:
Make the lie big, make it simple, keep saying it, and eventually they will believe it. – Adolf Hitler
Let’s look at MJ’s so-called “facial mutilation” to see how the media used the big lie technique to say that MJ butchered his face! In this video, you’ll hear Fox News “journalist” Juliet Huddy call MJ a “freak”, in an attempt to dehumanize him just a few days prior to his memorial (and pay attention to O’Reilly’s use of ad populum techniques to bolster his claim that only blacks care about MJ):
First, let’s look at this photo, which consists of 2 photos taken 20 years apart and merged together. One photo is from MJ’s cover shoot of the December 2007 issue of Ebony magazine, and the other photo is from 1988. Look closely at the photo, and try and guess which photo is from 1988, and which is from 2007:
Pretty tough, huh? You can barely tell the difference! And this proves what MJ said all along, that he only had surgery on two areas of his face: his chin, and his nose! The rest of his face is completely structurally sound!
Below is the photo from Ebony magazine’s December 2007 issue:
Below is the photo from 1988 (you can easily tell because of his Bad attire):
Here are those same two photos merged with a photo from either 1980 or 1981. Once again, you’ll only see t change in his chin, nose, and the overall size of his face (as he had grown and gained weight over the years). I want to acknowledge LunaJo67 for creating the following 3 photo comparisons. You are amazing!
Let’s look at this excellent photo comparison of MJ from the “Thriller” era and during his trial!
While we’re on the subject of plastic surgery, let’s look at what Dr. Willa Stillwater wrote in her amazing article “Rereading Michael Jackson”, which is now posted on her new MJ blog “Dancing With The Elephant”. Open the article and scroll down to the section titled “I’m Gonna Be Exactly What You Wanna See” (a lyric taken from the song “Is It Scary?”), where Dr. Stillwater eradicates the “facial mutilation” garbage by analyzing photos of MJ throughout the years that actually MATCH each other, which is the opposite of what the media did to portray his face as a science experiment. Here are a few excerpts:
So why was it so commonly accepted that Jackson had extensive plastic surgery? I think partly it’s because he defied accepted notions of race and identity by changing the color of his skin and the shape of his nose, so both the media and the public became obsessed with his face. The tabloids, especially, were constantly photographing and analyzing his face, searching for additional changes. He also had a very angular jaw line and prominent cheekbones that could look quite different depending on camera angle, lighting, and the expression on his face, providing the tabloids with plenty of material for speculation.
However, the occasional odd photograph by itself could not have caused the media hysteria that came to surround Jackson’s face. There was more going on than that, and the explanation lies in the nature of perception itself, and how our beliefs shape our perceptions: we see what we expect to see. Once the media and the public became convinced that Jackson had had numerous plastic surgeries — that he was, in effect, addicted to plastic surgery — they began to interpret the photographic evidence in ways that supported their preconceived ideas.
However, that was not the explanation that was presented in the tabloids, and it was not what the public came to accept as true. The dominate narrative in the tabloids, and eventually in the mainstream media and the public mind as well, was that Michael Jackson was born with a cute pointy chin, rounded chipmunk cheeks, and a narrow jaw line, and then completely changed his face through obsessive plastic surgery, making his chin wider and more masculine and his cheekbones sharper and more prominent. And because that’s what our minds came to believe, that is what our eyes began to see. This progression as we imagined it looks something like this:
In effect, we highlighted and prioritized the images that fit the narrative we believed, and mentally edited out the ones that didn’t. And each time we saw a new photo, we evaluated it in terms of the pre-existing story line. If it fit the narrative and somehow suggested additional alterations to make his face more masculine, it was accepted as yet more proof of plastic surgery and was added to the “changing faces” photo series that sprang up like mushrooms all over the web. If it didn’t, it was largely ignored.
Notice how she referenced the media’s use of anecdotal evidence, which is the fallacy of only using evidence and research that supports your claim, while IGNORING anything that refutes your claim. (This is also known as “cherry picking”.) As Dr. Stillwater asserted, any photo that didn’t “fit” the facial mutilation meme was ignored and tossed on the cutting room floor.
Please, PLEASE take a moment to read that section and look at the photo lineups that she presented! It was excellent research that only a true MJ advocate could accomplish!
Let’s look at some additional photos of MJ to and see how the media really did a number on him. This photo below, taken in the early 2000s, is actually photo-shopped in order to make MJ’s skin even lighter than it really is, so that people could say to themselves “Yuck! He looks like a freak! I think he’s guilty!”
It’s similar to what Time Magazine did to O.J. Simpson in June 1994 (before he had his day in court!), when they intentionally darkened his complexion to make him look guilty! (Newsweek magazine ran the exact same mug shot, but without altering it.)
This is what’s MJ’s skin complexion really looked like!
Here is a comparison photo of MJ in 1996 and 2005; by the way, the 2005 photo is on the left, and the 1996 photo is on the right! When you look at the photo, you naturally assume that the older photo is on the left:
Let’s focus on what’s really important: regardless of how much plastic surgery MJ had on his face, he NEVER had plastic surgery on his heart! He was a kind, loving, and philanthropic person throughout his life, and genuinely cared for the welfare of the less fortunate. Here is a comprehensive list of his charitable contributions throughout his career. And here’s one last photo comparison of MJ, before we move on:
Finally, as we all know, haters absolutely love to project their hatred of MJ unto his kids, and the number one method of doing so is to deny them their paternity! We’ve heard it over and over again: “Those aren’t his kids! He bought them! They’re ___ kid’s!” (You can fill in the blank with Arnold Klein, Mark Lester, or anyone else who has claimed paternity.) A new MJ blogger named Xena Eve Gabby recently wrote an amazing piece on the paternity of MJ’s kids, and how much of a non-issue it is, and here is a quote that really sticks to me, because it exemplifies the “big lie” technique used by the media:
Now that the kids are being photographed out more and more, people are starting to notice Paris’ looks. While her eyes are not blue, but more of a green color like Joe Jackson’s, people are still thrown off. However, her darkened skin has some screaming “tan” even though she’s been naturally tanned since childhood, and others re-thinking their stance of her paternity. Many are starting to believe she is half-white and half Middle Eastern.
So, at the beginning, the kids were all white because it suited people’s needs to paint Michael as a self-hating black man who wanted to be white and have white babies. But when people could not deny that the kids were mixed with SOMETHING, they totally abandoned the “all white” theory and decided to go with “mixed with anything but black.” It’s amazing. People cannot seem to come up with a single coherent thought when it comes to Michael and the paternity issue. If the man wanted all white, blonde babies, he would have ensured that the donors were all white with a long history of blondes in the family. But he ended up with two dark haired babies. So why didn’t he learn his lesson the third time around? The third time around, he got a baby with even darker features. So there’s the “blonde/blue eye” theory all put to bed.
One of the main reasons why it was “okay” for MJ to be made fun of is because of his overwhelming and unprecedented success! As he said in 2002 with Al Sharpton, as soon as he surpassed Elvis in record sales and bought the Beatles’ catalog, OVERNIGHT he became a “freak”, “gay”, “weird”, he bleached his skin, took female hormones, and whole bunch of other lies! But let’s compare his face with his rival Prince’s face:
Wow! They look pretty similar, huh? Ever wonder why Prince wasn’t ridiculed the same way MJ was over his looks? It’s simple: it’s because, although he was very talented, he wasn’t the cultural icon that MJ was, and only sold a fraction of the records that MJ sold, and it wasn’t very profitable for the media and tabloids to smear him for revenues!
Let’s end this subject of plastic surgery with this last photo, which is an artist’s perfect representation of how MJ’s fundamental features never changed!
On another note: let’s look at what conservative media critic Brent Bozell wrote about their paternity on July 9th, 2009, in his article “The Jackson Whitewash”:
Many people were touched by the Jackson tributes, and none were more heart-rending than his adopted daughter Paris declaring through tears that he was the best father you can imagine. How sad: No one can seem to explain precisely who is the biological father or mother of Jackson’s children. Such was his family.
Brent Bozell, you are a HEARTLESS BASTARD! How dare you condescendingly refer to Paris as MJ’s “adopted” daughter! (Can you tell how snide he’s being when he says that?). She cried her heart out about her love for her father, and you want to use that opportunity to insinuate that she isn’t even his, and then say how “sad” it is that no one can “explain precisely who is the biological father or mother of Jackson’s children”?
You’re someone who, as a pro-life activist, routinely advocates for the adoption of unwanted children, yet you use Paris’ so-called “adoption” as a way of delegitimizing MJ’s authenticity as her biological father! Is it a “shame” that many of the millions of people whose parents put them up for adoption instead of aborting them may never know their biological parents, you hypocrite?
Despite the fact that he loved and provided for his kids, both emotionally and financially, that’s not good enough for you, because you think that MJ is “weird”. Maybe he should have just aborted his children, huh Brent? Instead of discrediting MJ’s relationship with his kids, you should be PRAISING MJ for “adopting” those kids, especially when you consider the tens of thousands of children who are stuck in foster care!
Let me be clear on this: I’m upset at the fact that he brought up the issue of adoption at the most inopportune time, and he did it to dehumanize MJ. I’m not upset because he thinks that MJ adopted his kids; in fact, you’d be surprised how many casual fans think he did!
And on top of that, the only photo of MJ that Bozell included in his article is one that shows him in an unflattering light! While Paris humanized her father, he chose to take the opportunity to further caricaturize him as a “freak”!!
I dug into Bozell’s background, and he sure does have some skeletons in his closet! Bozell is the founder of the Parent’s Television Council (PTC), a watchdog group that monitors the entertainment industry. In 2000, the group prematurely blamed the Word Wrestling Entertainment corporation for the death of a young girl who was killed by a teenager, who they claimed was influenced by wrestling moves he saw during a wrestling match. The PTC was sued for defamation and slander, and of course Bozell’s initial reaction was to deny everything and accuse them of filing “one of the most malicious and dishonest pleadings ever placed before a court”. But by July 2002, he was singing a different tune! The PTC settled out of court with the WWE for a whopping $3.5 million dollars! Here is an excerpt from an article about the settlement (my commentary is in red):
The next time media critic Brent Bozell and his Parents Television Council (PTC) claim to be persuading advertisers to yank advertising from some tawdry TV program, it might be useful to check out the claim carefully.
That’s an interesting sidelight to Bozell’s settlement of a libel suit filed by World Wrestling Entertainment last week. The suit centers on Bozell’s admission that, in 2000, he falsely blamed what was then called the World Wrestling Federation for children’s killing other kids using “wrestling moves” learned on TV.
What’s more, Bozell also acknowledged that he exaggerated the number of advertisers that pulled ads from wrestling programming: He claimed to have persuaded advertisers to withdraw from WWF Smackdown! on UPN that had never been advertisers there to begin with.
Libel lawyers not involved in the case expressed surprise at the size of the $3.5 million PTC agreed to pay in the case, an unusually large amount for a pretrial settlement with a plaintiff that has the huge legal hurdle to overcome because the WWE and its chief Vince McMahon are considered “public figures.” Courts always make it harder for them to win libel cases. (Somebody should mention this to Maureen Orth the next time she brags about the fact that MJ never sued her!)
In addition to paying the $3.5 million dollars, Bozell was also ordered to issue a public retraction and apology, and post it on the PTC website for 6 months (and as you can imagine, it has long since been removed from their website, but you can read it here in its entirety). Here are a few excerpts:
We based our statements on media reports and source information. We now believe, based on extensive investigation and facts which have come to light since making those statements, that it was wrong for MRC, PTC, their spokespersons and myself to have said anything that could be construed as blaming WWE or any of its programs for the deaths of the children. Simply put, it was premature to reach that conclusion when we did, and there is now ample evidence to show that conclusion was incorrect. I now believe that professional wrestling played no role in the murder of Tiffany Eunick, which was a part of our “Clean Up TV Now!” campaign, and am equally convinced that it was incorrect and wrong to have blamed WWE or any of its programs for the deaths of the other children.
Because of our statements, PTC, MRC and the WWE have been in litigation since November 2000. WWE vigorously advanced its position that neither it, nor “professional wrestling” lead to these deaths. WWE also contended that MRC, PTC, their spokespersons and I had misrepresented the number of advertisers who withdrew support from WWE’s Smackdown! television program after receiving communications from the PTC, some of which regrettably connected the WWE and Smackdown! to the deaths of children. As such, WWE exercised its right to initiate this litigation, during which facts came to light that prompted me to make this statement.
By this retraction, I want to be clear that WWE was correct in pointing out that various statements made by MRC, PTC and me were inaccurate concerning the identity and number of WWE Smackdown! advertisers who withdrew support from the program. Many of the companies we stated had “withdrawn” or pulled their support had never, in fact, advertised on Smackdown! nor had any plan to advertise on Smackdown! Again, we regret this error and retract any such misleading statements.
This man blatantly lied about getting advertisers to drop their support of the WWE, yet he called it an “error”! This wasn’t a little “fib”; it was a material misrepresentation of the truth in order to achieve his goal of maligning the WWE, the same way he materially misrepresented the truth about MJ by not giving any exculpatory facts, thus fooling his readers into thinking that MJ was guilty! (Thus, the misleading title “The Jackson Whitewash”.)
This is just another example of an MJ hater throwing stones while living in a glass house. This guy lied to promote his political agenda, got caught, and was forced to cough up some serious dough, yet he had the audacity to use MJ’s settlement as a sign of guilt. Typical.
Blind Loyalty (also Blind Obedience, the “Team Player” appeal, or the Nuremberg Defense). The dangerous fallacy that an argument or action is right simply and solely because a respected leader or source (an expert, parents, one’s own “side,” team or country, one’s boss or commanding officers) says it is right. This is over-reliance on authority, a corrupted argument from ethos that puts loyalty above truth or above one’s own reason and conscience. In extreme cases, a person attempts to justify incorrect, stupid or criminal behavior by whining “That’s what I was told to do,” or “I was just following orders.”
You often hear the media’s so-called legal “analysts” refer to their vast experience as a prosecutor, judge, sex crimes investigator, etc., prior to ripping MJ to shreds. The reason they do this is because they want to appear infallible in the eyes of the general public, who will surely feel intimidated by their distinguished record. Let’s look at how Sunny Hostin rammed her credentials down her viewers throats before trashing MJ on the Sean Hannity show on the day before MJ’s memorial in July 2009 (and don’t worry guys, I refuted her and her partner in crime Nancy Grace in this post):
The blind loyalty technique also applies to religious leaders who bash MJ because, whether they realize it or not, the fact that they have the title of Father, Reverend, Pastor, Bishop, Rabbi, Imam, etc. gives their attacks credibility to their parishioners, who naturally assume that what they’re saying has been vetted and fact-checked.
Equivocation: The fallacy of deliberately failing to define one’s terms, or deliberately using words in a different sense than the one the audience will understand. (E.g., Bill Clinton stating “I did not have sex with that woman,” meaning no sexual penetration, knowing full well that the audience will understand the statement as “I had no sexual contact of any sort with that woman.”) This is a corruption of the argument from logos, a tactic frequently followed in American jurisprudence.
The best example of the media using the equivocation fallacy is in relation to MJ’s comments about sharing his bed. The media, led by Martin Bashir, deliberately twisted his comments to make them have a sexual connotation, and to this day, this is the number one reason why people believe that MJ was guilty.
Let’s look at this example: just after the trial, Mesereau granted an interview to Katie Couric, and when she asked if MJ would continue to “sleep” with boys, Mesereau immediately corrected her and clarified MJ’s comments, before mentioning that MJ would discontinue this practice. (Notice how he didn’t say that MJ never had a childhood, or was mentally regressed, or that people around the world also do this, etc.) Couric did a very noble thing and apologized to Mesereau, which implies that she truly didn’t intentionally misconstrue MJ’s words, which cannot be the same for many other media pundits.
False Analogy: The fallacy of incorrectly comparing one thing to another in order to draw a false conclusion. E.g., “Just like an alley cat needs to prowl, a normal human being can’t be tied down to one single lover.”
Let’s look at Congressman Peter King try use both the false analogy and the ad populum fallacies in the same interview! While making a ludicrous attempt to defend his indefensible comments, he said that if you asked people what they thought about a grown man who takes children into his bed, that 90% would say he’s a pedophile. (There are other things said in this interview that I will address later.)
That is an inapt analogy because, obviously1) MJ didn’t invite, force, bribe, or cajole any child into his bed, and 2) the reason that 9 out of 10 would call MJ a pedophile is because of how the facts about the sleepovers were inaccurately presented to them.
King tried to “play the race card” by referencing a poorly researched article written by a “respected, award winning journalist” from the New York Times named Bob Hebert, who happens to be black. On July 3rd, 2009 he posted an op-ed titled “Behind the Façade”, which is nothing but another example of sloppily researched drivel. Here’s an excerpt:
Jackson was the perfect star for the era, the embodiment of fantasy gone wild. He tried to carve himself up into another person, but, of course, there was the same Michael Jackson underneath — talented but psychologically disabled to the point where he was a danger to himself and others.
Reality is unforgiving. There is no escape. Behind the Jackson facade was the horror of child abuse. Court records and reams of well-documented media accounts contain a stream of serious allegations of child sex abuse and other inappropriate behavior with very young boys. Jackson, a multimillionaire megastar, was excused as an eccentric. Small children were delivered into his company, to spend the night in his bed, often by their parents.
One case of alleged pedophilia against Jackson, the details of which would make your hair stand on end, was settled for a reported $25 million. He beat another case in court.
The Michael-mania that has erupted since Jackson’s death — not just an appreciation of his music, but a giddy celebration of his life — is yet another spasm of the culture opting for fantasy over reality. We don’t want to look under the rock that was Jackson’s real life.
As with so many other things, we don’t want to know.
Let’s look at the fallacies he used: first, he went ad hominem, which is every hater’s Ace of Spades! He scared readers into thinking MJ is guilty by lying to them and saying had young children “delivered” to him, and then told them that the details of the 1993 case would “make their hair stand on end”.
The most egregious deception he gave his readers was the whopping six word summary of the 2005 trial: “He beat another case in court.” Is that it? Is that the most you will get out of a journalist who has numerous awards for “distinguished” writing? He writes an article trashing MJ, and devotes two whole sentences to the allegations! Unbelievable!
And don’t get me started on Maureen Orth (who King cited in that interview)! I will certainly refute her trash in greater detail at a later date! But for now, this post has information to debunk the lie that MJ installed the alarms to alert him to when adults were coming. (Go to bullet point #17.)
It shouldn’t surprise anyone that Rep. King clung to these pieces of “objective journalism” to justify his hate, as this is what haters typically do. He had to invoke Hebert’s piece in order to say “Hey! How can you accuse me of being a racist against MJ when there are black people who think he’s guilty too!”, and he had to invoke Orth’s work to give an example of the “evidence” against MJ.
Other false analogies that we’ve all heard a gazillion times already is the comparison of MJ’s acquittal to OJ Simpson’s acquittal, and the comparison of MJ to serial child molesters, solely because of his desire to help and be around children.