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Jackson interview softens CBS conscience

Amazing what the promise of high ratings will do
In his first interview since being charged with child molestation, pop star Michael Jackson vehemently denies the allegations but insists there is nothing wrong in sleeping with children, according to excerpts released December 26, 2003 by CBS News. CBS / 60 Minutes via Reuters

Last night, we shared one of those media moments that will live on in tabloid TV history: CBS’s Ed Bradley interviewed Michael Jackson. 

Of course, there was nothing about the interview itself that smacked of trash TV, other than the fact that it dealt with a pop superstar accused of molesting a young boy.  But what did smell to high heaven was the deal that CBS struck to land the interview.  Jackson reportedly agreed to sit down with Bradley in return for the network of Murrow and Cronkite agreeing to run Michael‘s TV special that CBS yanked after the child molestation charges hit papers. 

At the time, CBS decided it wouldn‘t be appropriate to run a special that starred an accused child abuser.  But, just as it was with the Jessica Lynch dust-up earlier this year, it‘s amazing what the promise of a highly-rated interview will do to soften up a conscience or two over at CBS.