Dick Cheney- Corporate Criminal


Jackson's story might be over, but Dean saga goes on

June 19, 2005

Alas, the media -- especially cable TV "news" -- doesn't have Michael Jackson to kick around anymore, but luckily they do have Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean to pick on.

Once the Jackson "not guilty" verdicts came in, the Jackson media bubble burst. Had he been found guilty, there would have been weeks of TV analysis, book deals galore, the rehashing of salacious stories and, given the protection of a guilty verdict, the rumor boil could be lanced and even more sordid tales would spill out. But, "Not Guilty" stops the flood: No one wants to read libel-leery, tip-toeing accounts of the trial, or watch hourlong television retrospectives. No small industry of pedophile experts will rise up, no "Jacko in Jail" continuing coverage will commence.

But, unlike Jackson, the Dean story will continue and, though the audience for it is far smaller, those who care are just as passionate as Jackson's fans and detractors.

Both Dean and Jackson attract notice for show-biz reasons. Dean became the rock star phenom of the 2004 election. Vice President Dick Cheney might find Dean's allure mysterious -- he told Fox News' Sean Hannity that other than Dean's mother, no one Cheney has met loves Howard Dean -- but anyone in the entertainment world can see Dean's appeal. He's the guy with a garage band who made it big, the grunge politician who flamed out spectacularly and then picked himself up, dusted himself off and reclaimed the public spotlight.

Jackson, though his career is longer, has had his ups and downs too. His court victory is both an up and a down. The jury found too much reasonable doubt to convict him -- and that was about its only show of reason.

Juries in the prominent cases of late appear to decide guilt or innocence based on their feelings about the victims. California juries liked Laci Peterson more than Scott; they liked Robert Blake more than they liked his slain wife, and ditto for O.J. Simpson. Jackson's jury of peers liked the king of pop more than they liked the accuser and his mother. The child paid for her sins. And Jackson was their neighbor. They shared the defense view: the mother and her children were grifters who should be run out of town.

When the entire jury and the four alternates assembled for a post-verdict news conference, they tried to watch what they said, but they didn't seem to realize they were being watched by millions. One woman juror couldn't stop rolling her eyes when she refused to discuss the mother of the accuser.

When pressed for her thoughts about a man in his 40s sleeping with young boys, Juror No. 10 said, "What mother in her right mind would allow that to happen? Just freely volunteer your child to sleep with someone."

But her horror stopped with the accuser's mother and did not carry over to the man who brought about the arrangement.

Meanwhile, Dean is slapped around by Republicans -- and Democrats -- for every alleged outrageous remark he utters. Part of the so-called Democratic leadership, Senators Biden, Lieberman and Feinstein, Rep. Nancy Pelosi, and the failed VP candidate, John Edwards, claimed Dean didn't speak for them.

But there is no single Democratic leader, there is a handful, Dean being one. He spoke for disaffected Dems, the Deaniacs, when he said: "I hate Republicans and everything they stand for," followed later by "They're a pretty monolithic party -- they all behave the same, they all look the same, and they all -- you know, it's pretty much a white, Christian party."

After complaints surfaced, Dean responded, "I don't hate Republicans, but I sure hate what this Republican party is doing to America."

Through his lawyer, Jackson says he will no longer invite young boys into his bed. And Dean vows to stay in his post and refuses to curb his Republican pleasing, bad-quote-producing pronouncements. Time will tell which one breaks his promise first.

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