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Michael Jackson coverage

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Mary Hockaday Mary Hockaday | 18:30 UK time, Monday, 29 June 2009

It was late on Thursday evening London time that we first started getting reports from Los Angeles that Michael Jackson had been taken to hospital. First they were rumours, then more credible reports and finally we received confirmation that he had died.

Fans of Michael Jackson hold a candlelight vigil for the singerBy any lights, Michael Jackson was a huge figure internationally, and BBC News went into gear to report a big breaking news story.

We've had a number of complaints about our coverage, the main charge being that we simply did too much: that his death didn't justify the prominence and scale of our reporting through Friday and into the weekend.

The story was certainly very prominent, with extensive reporting on our domestic and global news channels and it was the lead story on our television and radio bulletins and on the web. But this wasn't to the exclusion of other important stories domestically and internationally. Friday was also the third day of our special coverage on television and our website from Pakistan and Afghanistan.

It is clear that Michael Jackson meant different things to different generations, both among our audiences and among our own staff. There are some who had followed him as a boy star, but there's also a large number of younger people who never saw him perform at his height but are only too aware of the controversy about his personal life and his increasingly eccentric appearance and behaviour. There was also the expectation around his comeback concerts in London. Looking at media output around the world, it was clear that his death was provoking international shock and big audience consumption.

Some stories divide audiences, and clearly there are those who aren't interested in Michael Jackson. But we have to try to serve a whole range of readers, listeners and viewers - and undoubtedly a great many of you were extremely interested.

The audiences to our main television bulletins were a little higher than average for a Friday evening and the statistics for our online content broke records: more than 8.2m global unique users, the second highest since Obama's election. The BBC News mobile site had its biggest-ever figures on Friday.

This was also a story which for which many users of the site wanted to access our video, particularly the live stream of the BBC News channel. Within the first hour, there were just under a million hits globally on the live streams of the News Channel and BBC World TV. Overall, a quarter of site users on Friday accessed audio or video (26%, compared to the daily average of 15%). There were over two million users of AV on the site on Friday, higher than the site's previous record (for Obama's election in November 2008).

We will continue to report new developments, and we'll do so in a proportionate manner where we think they are of relevance and interest to our audiences: we're anticipating covering further information about the circumstances of his death; his business and estate - and his funeral.

Throughout our coverage, we have been careful to sift fact from rumour and to assess Jackson's career as a musician and his impact as a creative singer and dancer, while not ignoring the more disturbing side to his life. This was a big news story - about the death of a big cultural icon - all around the world.

Mary Hockaday is head of BBC newsroom.


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  • Comment number 1.

    "We will continue to report new developments, and we'll do so in a proportionate manner ..."

    I'm all for that. Lets get a sense of proportion shall we? Up to now your coverage - and, I have to say, that of most of the media - has been way out of proportion.

  • Comment number 2.

    I presume you've read Charlie Brooker's take on the news coverage?

    Fwiw, I think the BBC went overboard. Not as bad as Sky News (obviously) but still, there was little if any mention of other stories for far too long on the BBC News channel.

  • Comment number 3.

    RIP Michael Jackson: 1958-2009

    this really came as a great shock to the world which was the worst part.
    If we had updates before he died
    (i.e his doctor could warn the news/press about his updates) maybe then it would not be as bad.
    It reminds me of elvis' death...very sad

  • Comment number 4.

    Mary, I cannot argue with your point about people being interested in this - the website traffic shows that. What it fails to answer is the question 'What is rolling news for ?'

    If it merely moves from one 'big news' story to the next, then one could watch it for 168 hours, and still be totally ignorant of the full story from Iran, Pakistan, Afghanistan and the Middle East.

    How on earth can you justify this ?? What on earth is the point of a News Channel which can leave people ill-informed about vital stories every time a big 'entertainment' story breaks ? I'm sure people were saying the same thing when Elvis passed away, and it was even worse post-Diana.

    As long as you cover ALL the vital news stories from across the globe over the week, then I suppose you can justify your position, but how on earth can you claim to be doing this ??

    There is none of the analysis you are getting on 'The World Tonight', none of the context you are getting on Newsnight, and you are in danger of just giving a very superficial veneer of coverage of stories which occupy the 'Top Ten' ratings on the website.

    The danger of that approach is only just being discovered by the 'Telegraph Group'. And it makes me laugh when the PM Blog links through to as a trusted news, er, source...

  • Comment number 5.

    By Friday evening, Jackson was being referred to, across the BBC, as a 'musical genius'. Whilst I'd have expected such hyperbole from his fans, I didn't expect to hear it from Kirsty Ward on 'Newsnight'. As the hysteria grew, so the lines between fact and opinion became blurred in your presentation of the story. In his prime, Jackson was certainly one of the greatest entertainers in the world, but a 'musical genius' and one that merited the whole of 'Newsnight' being given over to him? A disproportionate reaction, I'm afraid.

  • Comment number 6.

    Dear Mary Hockanday,
    All your coverages of King of Pop,Mr.Michael Jackson!s death,by writings,views from close circles,fans,music lovers,neighbours and from the public are praise worthy not only to BBC,but to entire mass media network and to us.
    I have been watching,listening from BBC all channels are welcomed by all.
    I am a commentator on all subjects to all websites.Here,all my writings from Iran crisis,MPs expenses controversies,best photos,editors notes,about world news,sports events and all like that were published.
    Thanks for encouraging me to be engaged with BBC from time to time.
    As per writers point of view the coverages of Iran and Michael Jacsons life history-from childhood to till his last breath are slightly excessive compared to other burning issues which happened to this world.
    But you have done your duty as a journalist for particular work had done methodically and suitably with all relevant datas.
    Because of correct,realistic coverages of this great icon in pop music had created a wide recognition,appaluse,good,encouraging fast trends to BBC.
    I hope that you,and your team of editors,other team members will make BBC!s flag is always on high.

  • Comment number 7.

    I accept that Michael Jackson was a prominent figure in the pop world and merits coverage on the main BBC News but is it necessary to have a team standing by at the house reporting on the speculative minutia of unfolding events. Cannot the BBC sub contract the work to local journalists and report only valid stories. We do not wish to get involved with what is appearing to be the start of a long domestic feud within the Jackson circle.

  • Comment number 8.

    After getting news of Mr.Michael Jackson!s death from my usual Google!s side news,immediately, i have switiched to BBC for further interests.
    I was the first person paid high tributes to this (Late)singer by writing to BBC.Then comments were overflowed to this channel and to other websites.
    Entire credit goes to BBC.
    Many thanks to entire BBC Team.
    By way of your excellent coverages to this (late)Pop singer had made him to go to Heaven by spiritual point of views.

  • Comment number 9.

    What it fails to answer is the question 'What is rolling news for ?'


    Spot on.

    I fully appreciate that MJ's death would occupy the top slot, but when the same story is spread so far into the next day - with little new 'developments', and when everyone now knows that he's died - you can't help but wonder if the BBC News Channel along with all the other news outlets were just collectively indulging themselves in some kind of group 'mourning'.

    That might be the role of the mawkish red-tops but it should never be the role of the BBC News channel.

  • Comment number 10.

    "This was a big news story - about the death of a big cultural icon - all around the world." I honestly don't see how the death of a single entertainer can be considered the most significant news item of the weekend. I honestly believe the BBC have let their viewers/listeners/readers down.

  • Comment number 11.

    Did the sad death of Michael Jackson really warrent this the amount of coverage you gave him, by the end of the day i was sick and tired of hearing about it, ten minuets and the begining of each news hour would have been sufficiant.

  • Comment number 12.

    @Dotconnect (#2) ... when we were first watching this break on the News channel the missus said to me, "Charlie Brooker's going to have a field day with this!" So thanks for the link - looks like she was right. And Brooker is spot on as usual.

  • Comment number 13.

    I was a teenager in the 80s so grew up with his music. Of course, it is very sad that he has died. But, for 24 hours, all famine, war, drought, political scandals and real news ceased - or so it appeared. We are lucky to be online at home so used the BBC website to get some balanced news. For those with only television, they were condemned to a seemingly non-stop a slew of 'commentators' (really, who were most of them?)and repetitive coverage. Yes - this is a big news story. But it really should not have been the only news story. (This comment is relevant to every news channel.)

  • Comment number 14.

    The tyrants of Iran are particularly happy with your coverage. With glee you turned your attention and let Iran fall out of spotlight. After all, a people's quest for freedom is inimical to the modern BBC. Rather slaver and slobber over the death of an over-rated wacko popstar than actually report real news.

    The BBC, according to its charter and its propaganda, is meant to be held to a high standard. Well, I suppose even gutters run higher than sewers, but they are all still full of turds.

  • Comment number 15.

    I find it quite shocking that the BBC is using visitor figurs to justify it.

    One of the reasons I appreciate the public funded model for the BBC is because it means it can theoretically report what needs to be reported without favour or bias, and without need to chase figures.

    The disadvantage of private news organisations is that they have to chase visitors and viewers because they depend on it to survive, unfortunately this means they can go down the wrong path whether it's massaging numbers, printing half truths, making a mountain out of a molehill or whatever simply because those kind of tactics lead to higher viewing figures.

    If the BBC is chasing viewing/visitor figures rather than doing the right thing then there is no longer any advantage over private news organisations yet with the disadvantages that we as license payers are forced to fund this.

    The very fact that there was more news regarding Michael Jackson's death than there was about the European elections, and vastly more than important current affairs such as the events in Honduras demonstrates that the BBC most certainly isn't doing the wrong thing.

    After the Carter report I was saddened to hear the BBC may lose funding to the likes of ITV and was deeply against it, now the BBC has demonstrated it no longer offers anything over and above other organisations which provide their channels effectively free due to advertising compared to the cost of the license fee but without any disadvantage (i.e. same level of bad reporting) I do not feel I can defend any loss of funding to the BBC anymore.

    The BBC needs to pull it's act together and start reporting without bias. It was an issue prior to this, but this demonstrated how bad things really are.

  • Comment number 16.

    I appreciate entirely the significance of Jackson's death to many people, given his notoriety of recent years and impending London concerts. However, the BBC has good people in LA in Rajesh Mirchandani and David Willetts, not to mention others such as Justin Webb in Washington. Was it really necessary to fly out Emily Maitlis - presumably business class, and hopefully solo and not with a crew - to conduct some pretty shabby vox pops on Sunset Boulevard as all the actual news had been broadcast before she left London?

    Surely the BBC is subject to the same belt-tightening as the rest of us in this recession, or has that yet to reach the various editors' consciences?

  • Comment number 17.

    I sense a little bit of snobbishness in the criticism of the Michael Jackson story. It was not of major interest to me but then I am only one of many millions of licence payers and I have to respect the fact that a public service broadcaster must meet public service needs. This story clearly matters to many financial contributors who surely have as much right to high quality programme content that interests them as those who have complained.

  • Comment number 18.

    Isn't amazing that the editors always manage to justify their output without conceding any issue raised. We switched over to BBC News channel at 2300 on Thursday expecting some headlines, Michael Jackson and some female presenters voice over the feed from LA. Ten minutes later when we tried again, Michael Jackson and some female presenters voice over the feed from LA. Ten minutes later when we tried again, Michael Jackson and some male presenters voice over the feed from LA. Ten minutes later when we tried again, Michael Jackson and some male presenters voice over the feed from LA. You see where this is going, No real world news occured on this channel from 2300 until well after we got fed-up and went to bed at just before midnight. I'm not an old fuddy-duddy nor a particular fan, but you coverage was based on a rumour on a web-site with interviews based on guess work. No news was imparted, nothing new was revealed. The same footage and same information was repeated for over an hour. This is not rolling news, this is rolling gossip until you have some facts to impart. The next time some celebrity dies or there is another story of which you have the vaguest details, announce what the story/headline is, give as much as you know and get on with the rest of the real news. If something happens you can always go back to it, that's why you have the headlines every 15 minutes. And as for Newsnight on Friday, don't get me started. There is the second half to do the entertainment bit. Who gave Kirsty Wark permission to hijack the first 30 minutes to devote to Michael Jackson?

  • Comment number 19.

    How much coverage would you give the deaths of [for example]:

    Margaret Thatcher
    Clint Eastwood
    The Queen
    Steven Spielberg
    Prince Philip
    Nelson Mandela
    J.K. Rowling
    Tony Blair

    There never will be universal consensus as to their achievements and worth, same may be valued by one generation and unknown to another, other figures may divide the public and provoke strong opinions.

    I do think it's worth celebrating a life to cater for those for whom someone did matter; those that don't like that or don't agree then look at some other news or find something else to do for a day or two.

    MJ was always controversial; But you can't ignore the fact that his Thriller album is still the biggest selling album of all time; he still is referenced by young singers today as an influence; he's been high profile tabloid fodder for decades; there aren't many people that don't know who he is and have an opinion about him. Newsworthy? yes he is.

  • Comment number 20.

    I don't think the coverage was OTT. Michael Jackson was almost certainly the most famous person in the world, and it's hardly surprising that his sudden death should get three days of fairly intensive coverage. Political stories get that all the time, as here-today-gone-tomorrow polticians storm out of cabinet or say something we'll all have forgotten within a week. People like iwinter will always use massive stories like this - and it is massive, everyone across the world's talking about it! - to attack the BBC and forward their allegations of bias and wasting the licence fee.

  • Comment number 21.

    Sometimes it is best to let the stats do the talking. If people were really that uninterested, your video hits and page impressions would have been down. Instead, they went up: there was clearly an interest (it would seem a vast interest) in the story.

    As such, job well done.

  • Comment number 22.

    Time now to end the licence fee tax and let us all buy [ie pay for] the content we want, I am terminally sick of J Ross, "reality" TV, lottery draws, talent contests, quiz shows, and virtually everything on BBC 3. The scandalous blitz on a nondescript, untalented, juvenile pop singer is the last straw. Worse, what does it say about the musical tastes of the supposed "adults" editing our news? Could they be compelled to attend the Proms to educate their tastes!

    What about more opera, Bach, dumbed-up history programmes and some documentaries to make you think [eg like Channel 4]

  • Comment number 23.

    Michael Jacksons death is big news, and it deserved to be highlighted across the various BBC media outlets, but not rammed down our throats constantly in the days after his death.

    Iran is a much more pressing and newsworthy issue, as is the fact that our government has delayed the sale of the Post Office (good day to bury bad news?).

  • Comment number 24.

    It's an age thing... as one commenter (sic) fan of Jackson here said they were a teenager in the 80's when Jackson was in his pomp. So they were born between 1965 and 1975... are now 40+ the age of middle level journalists in the media. You won't get this got Mick or Paul.

    The media are hard up. Jackson provides plenty of cuttings and library pictures and pop videos to make a cheap montage for the stories to fill a paper's supplement, rolling news channel (say it once say it 60 times) and even an hour long obit. And for the Red Tops there is a conspiracy, poor kids (with a legacy of $50M) and the DARK Side.

    Its cheap and tacky in all senses of the word, and can be enjoyed with tears or sneers, or just irony..... but why not get a life?

  • Comment number 25.

    seriously OTT and very sad to see,
    as i was never a fan of the artist i feel the coverage to be opressive and down right annoying.
    well the sellers of memorebelia will make a tidy profit.
    his estate will make millions from record/cd/dvd sales too.
    raking in the money off the grief of others nothing new there then.

  • Comment number 26.

    Isn't this just the perfect example of the value (or otherwise) of comment columns.

    The vast majority of opinions are cogently argued and in the way the British love to approach such things, there is absolutely no consensus.

    The BBC just can't win, however thoroughly they tackle a subject.

    But I did take exception to the showing of the busloads of tourists so soon in attendance. This was tacky, for it reduced the viewer to the level of the morons in the coaches.

  • Comment number 27.

    I guess that the BBC made a choice between the death of a pop musician and the champagne socialists BBC expenses scandal.

    Must have been a tough decision.

  • Comment number 28.

    BBC coverage of the death of Michael Jackson has been nothing short of pathetic. First it was adoration that bordered on idolitry. Second, it pre-empted all the important news of the world for days. And finally, BBC was completely scooped in what is turning into a very interesting tale about the last six months or so of Jackson's life, his association with AEG, with his new doctor, his illness and physical condition, his addictions, his having been cut off from old friends by his new "staff", the fiasco of the concert contracts, the insurance policy, the criminal investigation that is going on, the second autopsy, and what is now a huge story swirling around the circumstances of his demise. Fox News and Jeraldo Rivera blew BBC away on this one. They are lightyears ahead of BBC for their coverage. By comparison, BBC seems clueless. That is becoming par for the course for BBC.

  • Comment number 29.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 30.

    I really like the coverage of the MJ story on this site.

    Today item one in 'news' is US troops pulling back in Iraq. MJ is prominent on the 'entertainment' page. Absolutely correct: it is entertainment news of great interest to SOME people, those who are interested go to the entertainment page, those who are not interested ignore it. Great. (Personally, I do have a quick look)

    Could you do that to some degree on the TV? - Limited coverage (I know you can't ignore it) in the news, frequent special programmes on BBC2 for the fans?

    Why is no one covering some of the obvious (visibly obvious) issues like the paternity of those kids?

  • Comment number 31.

    "We've had a number of complaints about our coverage, the main charge being that we simply did too much: that his death didn't justify the prominence and scale of our reporting through Friday and into the weekend.

    I totally agree with those complaints, and I say that as someone who was/is interested in this story (although not a CD buying fan of MJ), the BBC simply went over the top with it's all but 24/7 coverage. It was almost as if you were scared to move on in case other news broadcasters didn't, the problem there was that viewers/listeners did move away from the BBC in an attempt to find the rest of the days news, when is the BBC going to remember that it doesn't need to follow other commercial news broadcasters, it doesn't actually matter if your ratings dip, rather than follow others into the gutter of 'tabloidism' you should be leading the way. And now, even though you have staff out in LA already you have done exactly what many of your pay-masters (licence fee payers) complained about at the time of the recent earth-quake in Italy, jetting anchor personalities in when they add nothing to what we already know or what could be delivered with your existing US/LA staff.

  • Comment number 32.

    Sometimes it would be quite nice to believe that complaining about the BBC would produce something of a measured response. A bit like it once had pride in doing - "sorry it was a bit OTT - won't do it again...(etc)" - but the media wring every last ounce of detritus out of the fact that a celebrity has died. In #26 Impassive makes the point about reducing audiences to the level of the "morons on the coach"; obviously the media are there already and their aim is to bring us down with them asap.

    What could have been easier than "Michael Jackson is dead. It is believed he suffered a cardiac arrest. His doctor was with him when he died."? Tribute programmes and their like could have been easily cobbled together and presented appropriately on music channels where his grieving fans could get their fixes while the rest of the world carries on as it has to. And conspiracy fanatics could demand the BBC put Mike Rudin on the job straight away lest the "truth" be allowed to get in the way of "media embellishments".

    CSI could have a special where a celebrity misfit with a quirky dance and even quirkier music dies mysteriously. Their painstaking work reveals that x dun it.... no I won't spoil it for you... but wait there is a great twist at the very end of the show.....

    In the meantime, and quite possibly forever, over on the BBC News Channel, everyone is struck dumb staring blankly at the cameras. Morons can't do serious news.

  • Comment number 33.

    Oh, come on. This really is the limit.

    The news should have been, "Michael Jackson has died," followed by two minutes background.

    Ever since, the Editors have been milking it to fill rolling news.

    A child died in Birmingham, it is thought, from swine fever.

    Which death was given prominence?

    No contest.

  • Comment number 34.


    "Fox News and Jeraldo Rivera blew BBC away on this one. They are lightyears ahead of BBC for their coverage. By comparison, BBC seems clueless. That is becoming par for the course for BBC."

    Hmm, most in the UK (and those abroad who chose the BBC) want the facts, not the showbiz gossip and the fake autopsy reports etc. that have also surfaced in the UK's tabloid media, some of which are also owned by the same parent company as FoxNews. Whilst the BBC's coverage might well have been excessive they tend to only report substantiated and checked facts - in that respect the BBC (and CNN) blew away all the others...

  • Comment number 35.

    Mary, you can add me to the list of complainers. Please note that I am giving up watching BBC News, even though I pay for it, because it has lost all perspective on what is important. I agree the story can't be ignored, but what have I learned? What real information have you provided? I find it hard to believe you have actually watched your output for the last 4 days.

    This isn't a one off failure of judgement. The gross over reporting of poor Jade Goody is a recent example of how you get carried away with celebrities and how people feel about them. Your viewing figures might be up, but does that fulfil your public service obligations? These tributes can surely find a more appropriate outlet in your bloated organisation.

    You constantly boast about how widely based your news gathering teams are but when do we get to see any meaning output from them? News is about what has just happened or is happening now, not about what might happen. News is primarily about facts, not mostly opinions and feelings. When BBC News has the same look and feel as all other news channels, you have to wonder what is the point.

  • Comment number 36.


    "What could have been easier than "Michael Jackson is dead. It is believed he suffered a cardiac arrest. His doctor was with him when he died."? Tribute programmes and their like could have been easily cobbled together and presented appropriately on music channels where his grieving fans could get their fixes while the rest of the world carries on as it has to."

    A couple of points, news is in the details and news without details is nothing but headlines, most people want more than just headlines... As for tribute programmes being "presented appropriately on music channels", do remember that many do not have access to those services, the BBC does actually have a duty to broadcast to all section of society, I have no issues with a couple of changed programmes on the BBC's main channels (in fact the replacement MJ tribute programme was probably better than the scheduled programme!), the main issue for me is how the BBC news allowed this one story to dominate it's domestic news channel for over 24 hours to the exclusion of all other news.

  • Comment number 37.


    I concede that my "news" was intentionally brief because that is what "news" is. To present background on the News assumes a lack of intelligence in the audience - I am sure almost anyone interested in MJ would know about his background - I do and I am not in the least interested.

    Perhaps it is "old hat" but once upon a time THE NEWS was ten minutes and the background, comment and analysis was left to current affairs broadcasts which were considerably more intelligent than what we get now. My Dad was a stickler for the News - whatever else was on - but it was only ten minutes.

    The problem with twenty four hour coverage of news is that it encourages laziness and indulgence at the expense of content and precision of delivery. Production staff have few values other than to fill the minutes and push their margin of the total audience up a few fractions of a percentage point. That keeps their bosses happy no matter how they do it. It isn't any different to the Daily Star carrying a headline "Fifty foot spider seen spinning web on the Moon - US blame North Korean missile blast". If it gets a few more copies sold or a bit of extra revenue then it must be "good".

  • Comment number 38.

    BP, Jeraldo Rivera is not about "rumors." He gets interviews and people on his panels close to a story, close to the facts, the kind of people the police will be interviewing. He also gets top experts on forensics, law, and those in the business who have genuine background that will put the facts that are known in perspective. Of course there is speculation but it is at least seperated from facts which is more than BBC does. He is an experienced attorney who has become an excellent investigative reporter. Unlike BBC "interviewers" who are usually ill prepared even for a single interview, Rivera knows what he is talking about before he gets in front of a camera. And unlike BBC, in the US hard hitting reporting is about gathering and connecting facts through legwork, not gratuitous confrontations with people a presenter is supposed to be interviewing, not debating with. BBC has become very shabby.

  • Comment number 39.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 40.


    "BP, Jeraldo Rivera is not about "rumors." He gets interviews and people on his panels close to a story, close to the facts"

    But the facts are not known, even the police do not know all the facts even now (and as we are talking about the first 24hrs), all these media outlets have is speculation...

  • Comment number 41.

    If you only had a 30 minute news bulletin, then how long would the MJ story have got? 10 minutes tops?

    I reckon that one third of the day's coverage should have been on this story, and the rest on actual news.

    The media need to realise if they only show one thing, of course that is what we'll watch.

  • Comment number 42.

    Just to reiterate, I fully expected MJ's death to top the news agenda.

    However there's a difference between topping the news agenda, and dominating it to the exclusion of all else.

    I think it's worth repeating the question posed by lordBeddGelert up in post 4: what is rolling news for?

    If nothing new is being added after several hours, other than a conveyor belt of talking heads for "another persective on his death and what it will mean" - then I'm afraid the BBC and all the other outlets are doing no more than indulging in grief porn.

    The difficulty is getting news organisations - for whom big stories are their adrenaline rush - to stop fooling themselves that they're engaged in news, and to recognise this.

  • Comment number 43.

    Let's try again shall we, apparently we can't make certain comments on here, even if they're true.

    So; Michael Jackson was not just a singer/dancer, his public life was controversial to say the least but if you had tuned into any of the BBC News coverage of his death you would never have been told this.
    In recent days he has been made out to have been some sort of Saint with only the briefest mention of his misdeeds being quickly airbrushed out of the picture.

    This is biased reporting and something the BBC should not be engaged in.

    No-one likes to speak ill of the dead but when you dedicate so many hours of programming to the death of a celebrity then the least you can do is provide the British people (you know them BBC, they're the ones who pay for you) with an honest and balanced view of their life.

    It is understandable that the commercial stations will be going into hero-worship mode at the moment, they can see the marketing & sales boom that will result from his death so by boosting the image of this man they'll be able to get some of the advertising budget from the obligatory back catalogue that will now be released by his estate.
    We understand that commercial TV is a twisted world of self interest where the truth is all to often lost in the search for profits but this is why we have the BBC funded by the licence fee, to avoid such commercial self interest.

    This, for me, is more important than the over the top reporting, I expected wall to wall coverage of this as we live in a celebrity obsessed nation.

    I expected better of the BBC, yet again you have failed to live up to the standards so many people expect of you.

  • Comment number 44.

    One news story in a sea of thousands and the BBC chose to concentrate on it. It was a sad event, but it is one that should not have dominated the news. There are many things going on in this world that affect the lives of millions.

  • Comment number 45.

    This is the beauty of TV, if you don't want to watch it, switch it off. If you want get the rest of the news, go onto the website and click on only the articles that you're interested in. Nobody is forcing anyone to follow all of the coverage of the death of one of the biggest stars on the planet.

    I myself, as a fan, wanted to find out as much as possible about Michael Jackson's death at a tragically young age.

    RIP Michael, you are a legend.

  • Comment number 46.


    Nobody can comment on his "misdeeds" as you put them. To do so would be libel, as nothing has ever been proven in a court of law.

  • Comment number 47.

    @Secretariat (43)

    Largely agree with you on the coverage, but I would just emphasize that they were alleged misdeeds, for which he was either acquitted or reached an out-of-court settlement. Such settlements should never be taken as proof of guilt - there are all sorts of understandable reasons why a hypothetically innocent defendant might desperately seek to avoid a prolonged court case.

    @thelovelyKeepSmiling (45)

    "if you don't want to watch it, switch it off"

    Well, yes, but we can also comment on it, can't we? Particularly since we're licence fee payers. We're not talking about Disgusted from Tunbridge Wells complaining about a particular programme. It's rather broader than that.

  • Comment number 48.


    "Let's try again shall we, apparently we can't make certain comments on here, even if they're true."

    Err, except that a court of law proved that they were not true, and as for the untested allegations, well anyone can make allegations, especially if there is a prospect that one will be able to 'chase' a wallet or two!

    Please don't allow tabloid media spin to cloud the facts...

  • Comment number 49.

    hi jennythedog here as enybody thought that the michael jackson affair could be the bigget scam ever as there was no way could he have played 50 shows he was never going to do a single one he was not fit enough to do two shows never mind 50 it will all come out in the future when all the evience from is death will be released sombody somewhere are going to make millions out of this mark my words

  • Comment number 50.

    In reply to comments made @ #49

    One thing is sure, when any famous person dies the news organisations are not the only people to have a field-day, the conspiracy theorist are also quick off the mark...

  • Comment number 51.

    46, 47 & 48

    I'm not just talking about the unproven allegations, there are many other things he did that would be described as unsavoury at the very least if applied to other people.

    Some of this may well have been due to alleged mental health problems caused by his childhood but the fact remains that he was not somebody living life in a way we'd want to encourage people too.

    He was a great performer but for the last 15 years his life has been a train-wreck and, if anything, he should be held up as a warning of how things can all go wrong instead of him being idolised by the media.

    I'm not asking for a hack-job, just an honest portrayal.

  • Comment number 52.

    #51. At 7:51pm on 30 Jun 2009, Secratariat wrote:

    "I'm not asking for a hack-job, just an honest portrayal."

    Oh come off it, not much (as anyone who was unfortunate to read your original comments, before the BBC's lawyers removed them no doubt, will know), why bring up unproven allegations, and then elude to them in your later comment, unless you are attempting a hatchet-job?

  • Comment number 53.

    Of course Michael Jackson was the greatest musical genius who ever lived. Mozart, Haydn and Beethoven with their tonic-dominant-subdominant harmonies were poo compared to him. As for Bach with his boring polyphony and Chopin/Wagner with their chromaticism: Michael was streets ahead of them. Don't even mention Stravinsky with his puerile rhythms. Michael could bang a tambourine with the best of them.

  • Comment number 54.


    A good point not very well made! No one has suggested that Michael Jackson was the greatest musical genius that ever lived, just that he was the greatest musical genius of the pop genre just as many believe that Elvis was the greatest musical genius of the Rock 'n' Roll genre, just as Sinatra was the greatest musical genius amongst the 'crooners' and so on. Different times, different genres...

  • Comment number 55.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 56.


    In #53 we have presented very clearly the evidence of musical genius in composers music. Perhaps it is a subjective list (I would have liked some Russian composers in there and Bruckner, Debussy, Elgar, Holst and many others too many to carry on).

    By comparison MJ knew all about rhythm, beat and commercial music for his generation. But did he achieve much outside of his generation, and in distinguishing him as "the" musical genius of pop how many other exceptional performers and musicians do you have to brush aside?

    The greatest, spirited and most gifted performances seldom occur in front of big audiences or even in a recording studio. They are totally random moments for which anyone who loves music would die for. You instantly recognise them and cherish your good fortune knowing they will not happen again.

    Michael Jackson was a popular performer - beyond that anything said about him is pure hype.

  • Comment number 57.


    "Michael Jackson was a popular performer - beyond that anything said about him is pure hype."

    In your opinion of course, an opinion you are entitled to of course, but many of the 'greats' you and others have listed were thought nothing of in their own lifetime - history will judge Michael Jackson just as it judged all those that have been cited, to suggest anything else is just pure spite...

  • Comment number 58.


    I've just re-read my original post on the Mod's rejection e-mail and on reflection, you're right, it was well over the top and could well have offended anyone reading it and is frankly, indefensible.

    I therefore offer you, and anyone else who read it, my apologies.

  • Comment number 59.

    What really got up my nose was the emotional style of reporting which tried to make what was obviously a sad death into something which was bigger and more meaningful than it was. Headlines on the BBC News website such as "World mourns Michael Jackson" and "Africa cries for Michael Jackson" (the latter story turning out to be about one DJ who had broken down on air, and one person that had shed a few tears when informed on the street of his death) are ridiculous tabloid sensationalism. The vast majority of people in the world were nowhere near being in mourning, still less bursting into tears.

  • Comment number 60.


    If you think there is any spite in my comments then you misunderstand the point being made. If you think that "popularity" should determine genius status then that is a discussion point that has been raised on many occasions on no end of subjects and is not without its merit.

    Much music is highly subjective and also driven, much more so in modern times, by exposure and peer group pressure. Mozart's popularity was not only driven by precocious gift but because he did not forget a wider audience at a time when music was definitely class divided. There are few other "classical or modern" composers who went to his extremes. We could compare that to the complex (percussion only) rhythms of tribal music across the world that breaks down all barriers, class or otherwise, and can influence and change the mood of all who listened and participated - genius or what?

    Michael Jackson's popularity was unique just as the popularity of any artist is unique. What is debatable is how far you need to go with superlatives to gain a true perspective of his achievements. This generation has a much heavier liking for posthumous worship and veneration than most and Jackson may well be an artist who sells more after his death than he did before. If he is remembered for that then it will be a shame. His music stands to be enjoyed by anyone whose button it pushes and that is all that matters.

  • Comment number 61.

    Michael Jackson was different his songs his life and now he is dead he was 50 years old after all so what is happening in the living world that this death can be used to cover up like ww3 in the making. The media are told what to do and Sky has no brain anyway selling the doings of Americans as very important, we have had icon deaths before Elvis Lennon, Monroe many rock stars Kennedy, Martin Luther King Diane we can go on and on, people want to worship at the gates they chose and the media wishes to make money off them so they will tell lies and half truths and pay no marks to do it for them and so what the fact is the media is now more like adult comics than news I noticed the screams about the middle class Iranians yet the Israelis have attacked a boat taking aid to Gaza nothing is said but we have been down this road before. Jackson is dead and at peace no one can touch him now and people will like him or not he will not be the first icon to have this reporting and the media loves them as they can bury real news.

  • Comment number 62.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 63.

    how can michael jacksons death and funeral be compared to elvis that is disrespectful to elvis after what jackson did by paying a out of court settlement to a child he said he didnt abuse

  • Comment number 64.

    It's undeniably sad when anyone dies, but for BBC World News to abandon all the regular news and programming was excessive and unnecessary.

    It's lucky that there was nothing else newsworthy going on in the rest of the world last week that BBC World News was able to dedicate so much time and coverage to this story

  • Comment number 65.

    #1-63 what Boilerplated didn't say:

    The appearance of the white-handed man was forecast in a BBC blog a few days ago
    (taken from a reading of chapter 7, 'the Heights', of the Koran)

    ...''the rod is thrown...''....

    [...and no, it Wasn't-Meant-To-Be at 50-50-O2.]

    [[...''the staff will strike the Rock'' soon too,now that there has been a request.]]

    News just in....Black Crow was on the rich tea biscuits for a couple of days.

    Further comments from the presently rhubarb-juiced-one to follow....

    Regarding Michael Jackson.

    How does the BBC view it's coverage in light of the verbally expressed wishes(privacy,one of them) of the grieving family for them to be respected ??

  • Comment number 66.


    Anyone can make allegations, that alone doesn't prove guilt, the facts are, MJ goes to his grave an innocent man. As has been pointed out, an out of court settlement doesn't = an admission of guilt either.

  • Comment number 67.

    32. At 09:23am on 30 Jun 2009, Cardboard_Cutout wrote:
    Sometimes it would be quite nice to believe that complaining about the BBC would produce something of a measured response. A bit like it once had pride in doing - "sorry it was a bit OTT - won't do it again...(etc)"

    Or... they could just delete anything that is off 'Aunty message' and call it 'off topic'.

    Which is fine as my file for the TVL case, if they dare try and bring it on, is getting nice and healthy.

  • Comment number 68.

    "It's undeniably sad when anyone dies"

    What I find more sad is that people actually have nothing better to do than have a public outpouring of emotion over someone they never actually knew.

    The sooner the media stop reporting on these people as though they are gods the better imo.

    The whole way the death of Jade Goody and now Michael Jackson has been reported is not necessary, a simple 30 second piece, the same as our servicemen in Afghanistan get would have been enough.

    If people wish to be so sad and devoid of anything else in their lives as to feel they have to make an emotional outpouring of "sadness" at the loss of someone they never knew then let them, but don't ram it down the throats of those of us who couldn't give two hoots about celebrities and their lives.

    They are nothing more than you or I and you or I are just people. Oh and the same goes for Elvis, just another person.

    Unless you really know the person you have no reason to be mourning their death.

    The BBC has done nothing this past week, or during the time of Ms Goodys death to warrant it's licence fee and I would hope that with the current shake up that is going on that the bosses of the BBC decide to go back to public service broadcasting rather than trying to keep up with the tabloid likes of Sky and ITV.

  • Comment number 69.


    "What I find more sad is that people actually have nothing better to do than have a public outpouring of emotion over someone they never actually knew."

    Whilst I have no problems with people playing the ball (BBC), indeed I to think that the BBC's first 24hrs of this story was way over the top, trying to play the player (viewers) is just not on, you don't actually need to meet or know someone personally to morn their passing. You might not agree with others actions but you really don't have any authority to comment on others actions.

  • Comment number 70.

    @ 69 - like I said, leave them to it if that's what they want to do, I find it sad they feel like that but that is their choice and I don't see why the rest of us should have to put up with such "events" dominating the headlines.

    The fact is that the BBC constantly panders to the tabloid common denominator of low brow entertainment based news when it should be providing a public service and covering stories the tabloids do not.

    They aren't there to shift x amount of newspapers with gutter stories of who's doing who so why do they feel the need to compete with such news outlets?

    And I'm sorry Boilerplated but I thought we lived in a country of free speech where people have the authority to air their views on other peoples actions?

  • Comment number 71.


    "And I'm sorry Boilerplated but I thought we lived in a country of free speech where people have the authority to air their views on other peoples actions?"

    As I said, by all means play the ball but please don't try and play the player just because you don't like the team they play for...

  • Comment number 72.


    I share your thoughts on "Death of a Celebrity".

    On the night Diana died I was working and listening to FiveLive. I was initially shocked and then intrigued as the first reports of "conspiracy" began to appear less than an hour or so later via misreporting of what had happened, where and the exact time Diana had died. My shock at the announcement of her death was the limit of my grief. As you rightly say I never knew her (although I was closer to her than many for reasons I will not disclose), so how could I feel anything but sadness for her. I was ashamed at the public hysteria that followed - it was appallingly shallow (anyone with real feelings will know what I mean). Grief is private within and for very good reason. Advertising feelings is a very well known way of admitting guilt especially within a diversion.

    The wailing over so many celebrity deaths is unhealthy. I am sure that Michael Jackson would prefer us to sing along to his music than to put on the kind of empty show that he would have shied away from. Media please take note.

  • Comment number 73.


    "Grief is private within and for very good reason."

    Rubbish, grief (at least in the UK) is private simply because the social norm is to repressed such emotions, hence why people wear black, some people keep their curtains drawn, businesses close their doors out of respect and the like - I'm not suggesting that mass hysteria (as seen when Diana died as you pointed out) is correct, far from it, but fans publicly calibrating someone's life is not mass hysteria.

    I'm really not sure what did happen after Diana's death, as you said, perhaps many people did have a sense of guilt, how many of those self same people who had hysterical bouts of wailing at the sight of her coffin were also people who had bought each copy and lapped up every picture morsel within the covers of magazines like 'hello' and 'OK', taken by the very same photographers that many were (at the time) blaming for causing her death? But I degrees...

    "The wailing over so many celebrity deaths is unhealthy. I am sure that Michael Jackson would prefer us to sing along to his music than to put on the kind of empty show that he would have shied away from. Media please take note."

    Which, from the media coverage I've seen (at the time of the death and since) is what his fans have been doing in the main - singing along to his music - OK so they chose to do it publicly, so what... As for the scenes outside the LA hospital, I suspect that many will have gathered just to find out what was happening, at least to start with, after his death was announced the gathering turned into an impromptu wake.

    Sorry "ravenmorpheus" and "Humblebeginnings" but your comments actually say more about your own repressed attitudes to death than they do anyone else's calibrations of MJ life and career...

  • Comment number 74.

    If you had reported this story in a proportionate manner I would have no complaints; however the death of the Queen would have attracted more thoughtful, balanced coverage.

    There is no problem with reporting the news of his initial hospitalisation and then death as you did, but to then switch to rolling news coverage until Saturday at the earliest is indefensible. I saw no coverage of Friday's vote in the US House of Representatives passing a Climate Change Bill - news that will have far greater lasting significance than the death of a pop star.

    I am also greatly concerned that Jackson's alleged-paedophilia has been airbrushed from history. This hero-worshipping, that perhaps began with the death of Diana, Princess of Wales brings the BBC's reputation into the same gutter as that occupied by the tabloid press.

    As a final point, the ultra-tabloid Fox News Channel dropped the Jackson death from its lead on Friday afternoon - why could a US channel have greater perspective than the BBC?

  • Comment number 75.

    #74. At 10:46pm on 01 Jul 2009, bigpapimvp wrote:

    "I am also greatly concerned that Jackson's alleged-paedophilia has been airbrushed from history."

    Probably because it is only alleged, I don't see anyone trying to air-bush out the paedophilia convictions that certain other pop-stars have and I doubt that there will be any attempt to do so when those people die - the difference is that those people have been found guilty, a subtle but important difference that far to many are all to quick to forget when ever paedophilia is mentioned...

  • Comment number 76.

    I think that the BBC handled the coverage of Michael Jakckson's death absolutely perfectly. Throughout thursday night, I sat glued to the TV screen, in utter shock and completely heartbroken. I believe I was definitely not the only one. Since TV coverage has died down, I have spent my time searching for new updates on news websites. Michael Jackson's death has shook my world, and quite frankly, I wouldn't have deemed anything else in the news at the time worthy of being aired at the sacrifice of his death. He was a hugely talented genius, without whom the world's pop culture would be very different, and not half as good today. I think the response from fans, both young and old, is testament to his huge fanbase, and that people not olny admired him or liked his music, but had genuine feelings for him as a person. Many people felt like they knew him. I am still incredibly saddened by his death, and am glad the world is still mourning. I'm glad his talents were recognised on the scale that they were.

    We should remember that since the 'race row' of celebrity big brother, and the Ross/Brand phone call complaints, complaining about TV has perhaps become a pastime for certain people with nothing better to do. And no doubt other's will be jumping on the bandwagon in the coming days.. These complaints have no foundation. The world's reaction has proved that this is one of the biggest news stories ever. In the grand scheme of things, if Michael Jackson now soley dominated the media for as long as a year, more even, it would be nothing more than he deserved after his contribution to music, dance, pop culture, charity, and the amount of lives he has touched. What were people expecting? A quick ten-minute bulletin, then forgotten, written off, thrown onto the pile of 'what was his name again?'. Never. I just hope he is in a better place now.

  • Comment number 77.


    For someone who tinkles on the keyboard so frequently you are surprisingly lacking in human understanding boilerplated.

    A "repressed feeling" is one you cannot feel which is not what I said at all. Indeed "repressed feeling" is what anyone who goes into a public situation to "show", "let out", "demonstrate" with others does not deal with personal feeling at all - they attach to and deal with what is termed "the group feeling" - impersonal - because it tends to shift their guilt. The group feeling may be useful for the individual repressed person (as in groups anonymous) but it doesn't deal with the repression itself which is a purely personal thing.

    Repression comes from guilt. So the greater the repression of personal feeling the greater the showing of public guilt and the greater the repression amongst all those involved. It is one of those damned circular traps we humans get ourselves into. In a nutshell it absolves you from blaming yourself for the deep feelings you have - denial of permission to feel that way unless it can be shared in other words.

    "Big, showy" functions are shallow; that is why they have to be big and showy. It is often said that love begins from the tiniest private whisper and ends in a lot of shouting in a public squabble. That is why private feelings are so important. Permission to have and deal with our private feelings are two of the hardest won abilities we all need.

  • Comment number 78.

    I appreciate that there was massive interest in this story, and I was interested myself, but was it really necessary to completely flood the news with it?

    The BBC weren't the worst offenders by far, but as a public service broadcaster you would expect them to continue coverage of other events - the whole point is they aren't supposed to be competing for viewing figures

    By all means cover it, but there was very little 'news' involved - a pretty sick man died, and there hasn't been a huge amount of developments since, all the 'news' has been tributes and pointless talking heads

    I think the Beeb could have exercised some moderation, and I say that as an MJ fan and one of those who contributed to the figures stated

  • Comment number 79.

    "and undoubtedly a great many of you were extremely interested"

    I, and I am sure a lot of people like me, are extremely interested in woman's breasts. I am therefor looking for to the same over the top coverage that you have given to this story to stories about boobies.

    "This was also a story which for which many users of the site wanted to access our video"

    Another great parallel!

    Just admit that you showed so much coverage of the death cause it would bring in big viewing figures and don't partonise me with the reasons that you spouted.

  • Comment number 80.

    How sad that the world thinks this is so news worthy when there are much more important things in the world to report on. I feel about this like I feel about any death of a celebrity -- I really could care less. Life goes on and their contributions to society are generally more harmful than of help to society in general. A waste of money that could be used to help the more unfortunate in the world instead of going in the back pocket of some mediocre actor, artist, musician or sports figure. Get over it and report something of use, even if it is just the weather.

  • Comment number 81.

    It might have been a chance for the BBC to highlight the complexities of death and arranging funerals.What legal requirements are necessary to be met,who does what,when and how.Etiquette,the difference between private and public funerals e.t.c.

    Instead it's a feast of what might happen.A ''story''interlaced with as you concede yourself ''new developments''.

    An admission m'lord.

  • Comment number 82.

    "Sorry "ravenmorpheus" and "Humblebeginnings" but your comments actually say more about your own repressed attitudes to death than they do anyone else's calibrations of MJ life and career..."


    I have no problem with death, if a family member dies, I mourn their loss, I've had to a few times over the past few years. But I move on because I know that wailing in the street would not be what the family member would want me to do and it will achieve nothing.

    I certainly don't mourn the loss of people I don't even know on a personal level and queue up outside the hospital where they are just to find out what's happening.

    I have better things to do with my life, like working to earn a living, I wonder how the people queuing up to find out what happened with Mr Jackson managed to con their bosses into letting them take the day/week off.

    To put it simply people may as well publicly mourn every single individual ordinary person who dies each day because they are just as unknown to them as any "celebrity" is.

    This whole cult of celebrity worship has got out of hand and is unhealthy on a social level, let alone an individual level.

    The media, including the BBC does nothing to help the situation either with their sensationalist "up to the minute" reports.

  • Comment number 83.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 84.

    The coverage was ridiculous, it was like a never ending tape with the same people repeating the same thing over and over again, nothing new, its a news channel and after hours of the same thing it stops being news. The real news was wiped from the airways, for instance the crash of the Air France air bus a plane many of your viewers have traveled on and wanted to know what was the outlook for the future

  • Comment number 85.

    Yet another clear example of how bad you have got in reporting the news on the news channel, did your reporters go on holiday? Come on everyone complain to your MPs about this abuse of public money. What news was hidden over this period because you believed people needed to know more about MJ past and nothing else.

  • Comment number 86.

    [quote]Mary Hockaday, "The story was certainly very prominent, with extensive reporting on our domestic and global news channels and it was the lead story on our television and radio bulletins and on the web. But this wasn't to the exclusion of other important stories domestically and internationally." [/quote]
    I dispute this. You are not telling the truth here. Even the following day the first 25 minutes of your 10.00am bulletin was all Jackson, Jackson Jackson! I switched off after this and switched back on at 10.50 am guess what? Again Jackson, Jackson. Jackson in fact the first and only non-jackson story was the weather. Then we went to the 11.00am headlines - there was only one - Jackson again! followed immediately by more Jackson. Get a grip please. You behaved like the worst kind of red top. I guess in a previous job you works for the Star/Sport/Hello type publications as far as I am concerned you can get back there.

  • Comment number 87.

    He is a pop singer not a head of state - get this in proportion. Had it been Churchill or Mandela I would have understood but a pop star. There are very many more important things going on in the world and the BBC should get its priorities sorted.
    I couldn't believe I was hearing 20 minutes and in the end I turned off in disgust so missed Mat Frei in Islamabad.
    You got it wrong BBC just admit it for once.

  • Comment number 88.

    You claim to have given coverage to other news stories possibly but only by the presenters speaking a couple of sentences then it was back to someone whose mother knew his car driver etc etc. Heaven help us if Cliff Richard should ever die.

  • Comment number 89.

    i do believe you have completely lost all sense of values.assume michael jackson was the greatest thing that ever happened to popular music,which i do not,your coverage of his death was out of all proportion to his importance in the greater scheme of things.
    popular music is o.k.but NOT important.
    war,famine,medical advances,nobel prizes,might just merit a look in as well.......?
    i suggest you take a long hard look at your priorities,or consider a career change if you don't get the point.

  • Comment number 90.

    Like most of Auntie's viewers I am able to understand that large numbers of people are interested in the story and don't need to have this explained to be. However, the amount of news time given to the item was excessive and could have been confined to the main points. Instead every news programme used this as the lead story and the time allocated was out of all proportion. There are plenty of other programmes that covered the matter from an entertainment perspective. Please can the Beeb go back to covering the kind of news that it was once famed for.

  • Comment number 91.

    It would appear to me that the BBC along with other TV Stations feel that reporting the news is a competition "let's see who can contribute the most hours".
    I, along with many others, was saddened by the news of Michaels death but likewise I was saddened by the way he lived his life if the media is to be believed. Let's have some real news not sensationalism. There must be literally hundreds of news worthy occurrences which never make even a little mention, whereas two whole days and then some were devoted to Michael Jackson. Please no more of this nonsense. There are some of us on this planet that can live without idols and media hype. Please consider us in the future.

  • Comment number 92.

    I still don`t see why the M J coverage meant you had to ask the tennis players when they came off court about him.!!

  • Comment number 93.

    It wasn't just the BBC news coverage that was over the top, I fully expected the Michael Jackson story to have a fair interest, but not to be the main item and to take up most of Newsnight. My main complaint was the cancelling of the programme about the Great North Air Ambulance. This is a very important charity in the north east of England who do a wonderful job. The good exposure this programme offers the charity is vital for there work, giving people an understanding of what they do and that they get no government funding. Your publicity of Michael Jackson's death has ensured that his hastily brought out back issues of his music will make a lot of money for his estate at the expense of this wonderful charity. I know that the Air Medics has been rescheduled for tomorrow but don't forget it's tennis season and a Brit is doing well for a change. Will we have to suffer another night of TV disruption and programme changes and cancellations to accommodate this and will Air Medics be cancelled for a second time? I for one will be very annoyed if this does happen.

  • Comment number 94.

    Ms Hockaday
    Nobody is disputing that the death of Michael Jackson should not have been covered. The principal complaint, is that it was covered to the exception; of everything else. What is required is an acceptance, that your coverage was totally over the top. Perhaps this was done to hide the scandal of BBC expenses? Please be aware that the (workers and peasants), ie the general public, are begining to wake up to the misuse of public money. The original purpose of the BBC was to, Inform, Educate, and Entertain. Nowadays all it seems to be for, is to Obfuscate, dumb down, and shock. Sorry you need to get your act together.

  • Comment number 95.

    I'm another licencepayer who felt that the BBC went way over the top on this story. It was an entertainment story first and foremost, not a major news story. It should not have dominated the news bulletins to the exclusion of almost everything else for three solid days - even on Radio 3, for goodness' sake! The endless footage of fans weeping hysterically outside his house was unworthy of a public service broadcaster which is supposed to be one of the world's premier newscasters. So were the interminable interviews with so-called friends. Tacky, shallow, misjudged. Stop responding to what you think will bring in the largest number of viewers/listeners, regardless of whether it's worth covering, and get back to trying to inform the public about the things that really matter.

  • Comment number 96.

    From one isolated news bulletin on the BBC yesterday.

    "Mollie Sugden has died after a long illness. She was best known for her part as Mrs Slocombe in "Are You Being Served".....". Twenty seconds maybe, probably less.

    That is how you should do it BBC - every time.

  • Comment number 97.

    Just what sort of bad news was being covered up by the "over the top" coverage of Micheal Jackson's death?

  • Comment number 98.

    Can I look forward to 20 minutes of news coverage and a Newsnight special about Molly Sugden tonight. Thought not.
    Michael Jackson recorded two seminal albums in the early 1980s. Since then his publicity has been due to plastic surgery and increasingly bizarre acts. His musical output was dismal and forgettable. His death did not warrant the coverage you gave it.

  • Comment number 99.

    What was newsworthy about MJs father starting a new record label, he didn't seem bothered about his sons death, but milking the free publicity for his record label, if you are supposed to be an editor why didn't you edit this out when the content became clear

  • Comment number 100.

    Sorry but as a response to a specific complaint being directed to a generic web page is not acceptable. On the morning of Michael Jackson's death The BBC multiscreen service was showing coverage of the story on five of the six screens. I can understand the live screen, and a section on the headlines screen, and perhaps the special interest loop And inevitabley the Entertainment screen, But surely not the sports section! I waited for 10 minutes for some sports news but gave up and signed on to Yahoo to find out what was happening outside of neverland!


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