I have broken down the court’s decision along with information as to how the tabloid media got away with printing false stories . Some fans feel that Diane Dimond escaped Michael’s law suit due to a letter that Tom Sneddon had written on her behalf, but these types of lawsuits are very difficult to prove. You need to show:
- Actionable statement of Facts
- Clear and convincing evidence of malice
Court decision statement of facts (Dimond):
To give rise for defamation, a false statement consists of false assertions of fact regarding the plaintiff (Jackson) The undisputed evidence before the court shows that the statements at issue truthfully and accurately reported on a developing story about the possible existence of a videotape, and it was stated that it was impossible to independently confirm the existence of the video tape. “Hard Copy” broadcaster, Dimond emphasized that “it’s impossible to independently confirm the existence of the videotape.” In addition, during the KABC-AM radio show, Dimond expressed what was clearly her personal opinion that she was “as sure as (she) possibly (could) be “of the video tapes existence.
An essential element of libel is that the publication must contain a false statement of fact.
Court Decision on Malice (Dimond) the court sites several things:
Gutierrez had been a reliable source of information in the past, specifically advance notice of Michael’s marriage to Lisa Marie Presley
Dimond called and spoke with Sneddon regarding investigation
She spoke with British tabloid brokers
Then the London Tabloid “The Sun” reported the search
Several newspapers attacked CBS This Morning anchor Paula Zahn for the decision to call tabloid reporter Diane Dimond of Hard Copy. Los Angeles Times television critic Howard Rosenberg said, “During all the coverage of Michael Jackson’s supposed molestation of this teenage boy, I turned on CBS This Morning and saw Diane Dimond being interviewed by Paula Zahn. And I remember thinking, ‘This is a seminal moment in the regression of TV journalism.’” Burt Kearns, who played a fundamental role in tabloid TV, would later reveal:
Here’s how it worked: Say someone in the office heard — or decided to start — a rumor that Michael Jackson was caught in flagrante with his llama. The assignment editor in New York would call the L.A. office to check it out. If the story turned out to be unconfirmable — or untrue — it wasn’t necessarily shot down or declared dead.
If the story was good enough, some tabloid vet in New York would then feed the deflated item to one of the many British tabloid newspaper journalists encamped in Los Angeles. The Brit would seize upon the rumors, pay someone as a supposed “unnamed source” to confirm it, then write the story as a gospel for one of the outrageous London tabloids.
The story would next be faxed from L.A. to London, published in England, then faxed back to A Current Affair’s office in New York, where the staff would do a quick day-of-air story on what they knew never happened in L.A. The story would include a shot of the British newspaper headline to show they were only reporting “what the world is talking about.” So a story that was generated in New York City, shot down in Los Angeles, concocted for England, published in London, and sent on its way back to New York City, would now air across America. The Fox lawyers would okay the story because it was attributed to the London papers.
Kearns added that it was no wonder why Jackson would need more of his prescribed pills and that tabloid TV treated its viewers like “fucking morons.” In the hysteria of that period of time in America, when everyone thought their neighbor was a child molester, anyone could be easily accused, and many were in child custody cases. In fact, during the ‘90s this issue had turned into an epidemic, leading to many false accusations.
Victor Gutierrez bragged about his connections in the tabloid business. Stating that he had sold many stories that were made up and that the money is easy – even for false stories.
If all else fails – threaten bad press and humiliation
Evan Chandler and Gutierrez both fought to have camera’s present during their concurrent law suites.
As per Victor Gutierrez’s attorney: If there is a trial in this case, there will be publicity adverse to Mr. Jackson. Gutierrez had also instructed his attorney to give Mr. Jackson a “message” that he (Gutierrez) intended to hold up a copy of his book every time he was interviewed on television in connection with this case.