The media coverage of the Michael Jackson investigation — fueled primarily by the tabloid shows — is biased and at times racist, according to Shannon F. Reeves, West Coast director of the National Assn. for the Advancement of Colored People. Reeves based his evaluations on the way newsgathering organizations have covered the child-molestation investigation of the singer.
Reeves also said the NAACP will press for a boycott of program sponsors if the negative coverage continues.
While emphasizing that his org is not taking a stand on Jackson’s guilt or innocence, Reeves said the entertainer has already been tried and convicted in the press.
“If there are charges to be filed in the Jackson case, those charges will be filed in the courtroom, not in the newsroom,” Reeves said. “If there is to be someone to judge the case it will not be the evening news anchor but someone who is appointed to the bench.”
Reeves also alleged the negative portrayal of prominent blacks in the media is at an all-time high. He urged programmers and news directors, including those in charge of the nightly newscasts that often lead their shows with lengthy stories on the criminal and civil inquiries aimed at Jackson, to report developments more fairly when covering the investigation.
Reeves said the org will form a “truth squad” to monitor news and tabloid shows for 45 days and count the number of negative stories about Jackson and other prominent blacks.
If at the end of the period the programs showed no indications of tempering their coverage of Jackson, or of blacks in general, Reeves said the NAACP may organize supporters in a nationwide boycott of sponsors of the offending TV shows.