Jury selection began today in Michael Jacksonâ€™s trial for alleged child molestation. Predictably, Jacksonâ€™s supporters (all of them absolutely certain of his innocence) and his detractors (all of them absolutely certain of his guilt) were out in force in front of the California courthouse. So too were a gazillion members of the media. Does any of this sound familiar? If you said â€œO.J.,â€ you win the kewpie doll.
As in the O.J. case, we have a high profile, black (sort of) defendant charged with the commission of an awful crime, who insists that he is absolutely innocent, and who is represented by high-profile lawyers. Jacksonâ€™s father has already played the race card outside the courtroom, and it is just a matter of time before the same tactic is employed inside the courtroom. The police will be depicted as racist dolts who will do or say anything to get an conviction, and the victim will be vilified as being nothing more than an unwitting dupe of his money-hungry parents.
I imagine that the cable news networks are looking forward to â€œThe Jackson Trial 24/7,â€ and the people at Court TV will be jazzing up their resumes, hoping for a network gig when this is all over.
It has all the makings of a train wreck.
The only ray of hope is that, so far, Judge Rodney Melville does not seem inclined to let things get out of hand.
The fact is that every day, all over the country, people are tried for the same offense that Jackson is alleged to have committed. A jury is selected, the prosecution puts on its case, the defense puts on its case, and a verdict is rendered. And, this is all accomplished without any fanfare.
I wish it could be so here, but Iâ€™m not holding my breath.