The Need for Death Photos: Newsworthy or Exploitation?

12 Mar

What Makes a Story Newsworthy?

News can be defined as “Newsworthy information about recent events or happenings, especially as reported by news media”. But what makes news newsworthy?

According to there are five factors which are considered when deciding if a story is newsworthy. The values are listed as: Timing, Significance, Proximity, Prominence and Human Interest. List of Factors

In view of the fact that I’m not a journalist I can not dispute the main factors, professionally, in determining whether a story is newsworthy; so I won’t put up a protest about several of the factors. I can understand timing, proximity and prominence. However, I fail to understand why the deaths of a dozen people are less significant than the death of hundreds of people. Perhaps the criterion alludes to the more bodies to count the higher the interest. Where did we go wrong?

EXPLOITATIONNo doubt stories about celebrities and many well-known people meet the criteria for being newsworthy but I don’t see any criteria for posting their death photos. Is there a criterion for that? Or can this one possibly fall under Human Interest? The article states human interest stories appeal to emotion and aim to evoke responses such as amusement or sadness. What about shock value?

Tom Szaroleta, a journalist for The Florida Times Union had this to say: “Ed McMahon, Farrah Fawcett and Billy Mays were newsworthy, but not front-page newsworthy. Michael Jackson, on the other hand, was tear-up-the-page newsworthy.”  Source of Story

I wonder if Michael would think his deathbed and morgue photos were tear-up-the-page newsworthy?

Since August of 2009 I’ve discovered a multitude of tabloid trash published with reference to Michael Jackson and other deceased persons, much of which has come under harsh attack by people who declared these articles to be offensive and certainly not newsworthy. What happened to the “Voices for those who no longer have one?” Somewhere along the way, during the Murray trial, the voices got misplaced with the rhetoric of prosecutors Walgren and Brazil. Yes, they were very persuasive and did a remarkable job of entertaining their audience, but I received it as a specialized display which lacked, to a great extent, sincerity. A VERY PROUD DAVID WALGREN AND DEBORAH BRAZIL

Contrary to popular belief it is NOT the truth which sets us free; it is the truth that we KNOW which gives us that freedom. District Attorneys Walgren and Brazil did the world no great favor, they did their job; a job they were compensated for, but with the execution of that job they displayed the worst case of defamation of the deceased I’ve ever seen. To win a case they made a gross and most disrespectful decision to display the death bed and morgue table photos of Michael Jackson. One online tabloid titles it “The final indignity for Jacko”, the UK Daily Mail (September 28, 2011- Use caution visiting this article/defaming photo) UK Daily Mail Article  Photo of the “Proud Prosecutors”

What’s even more appalling, to me, is these prosecuting attorneys used this form of defamation, against Michael Jackson, with the permission of the well-respected Superior Court Judge, Michael Pastor.

The UK Daily Mail isn’t the only media source to plaster Michael’s deathbed photos across the globe but there are countless others. What did they do? They gave the community of haters a seedbed to continue their hate crusade. Yet, we’ve rolled out the red carpet and have given these people high honors. Did we forget to give the prosecutors of the O. J. Simpson trial their awards, too?

I think lead prosecutor, Marsha Clark and her assistant, Chris Darden, did an incredible job but they lost. However, I have no bouquet of roses to give to them and would never think of sending them any.The prosecutors executed their professional duties very well and so did lead prosecutors Walgren and Brazil, but that is as far as it should have gone. How did they merit the rise to the sky-scraping chorus of so much praise and worship? 

Jackson fans applauded the prosecutor when he walked down the courthouse halls, and his performance sparked Facebook fan pages, including “David Walgren Is Hot.” Prosecutor in Conrad Murray case is appointed a judge. Really!!

One last shot at exploiting Michael was the unjust and cruel display of those photos. Yes, I agree with the UK Daily Mail, they took away the final dignity Michael had by displaying, to the world, his death photos. They cared nothing about the family of Michael Jackson and anyone else. Their focus was to WIN, at any cost, and gain a position of notoriety from this landmark case. They were prosecuting the man charged with involuntary manslaughter of the “King of Pop”, Michael Jackson. In their prosecution of the doctor they maliciously published, globally, a photo of Michael Jackson on his hospital death bed and another one of him nude on a cold steel morgue table. It makes no difference that the lower portion of his body was covered with a towel; the man was naked and because the doctor was found guilty the prosecutors will be celebrated forever. The world knew Murray was guilty before the trial ever began. Nothing new about that, what was there to celebrate?

STOP TRAMPLING ON GRAVE OF DECEASEDCadeflaw’s mission has NOT changed. The deceased are not here to defend themselves. We have become their voice. We will continue to call for a law that will hold people like David Walgren, Deborah Brazil and Michael Pastor accountable for their appalling actions toward the deceased. If their mission was one of “shock” they succeeded, but what would Michael’s decision have been to display his death bed photos. I think he would have been devastated. He was not here to engage in the decision. A very small group of people made that decision for him and gave no thought to the embarrassment it caused for this man’s children, family, friends and yes, his fans. I was terribly shocked and embarrassed and still am.

The displaying of the photos was NOT something the world was entitled to see; perhaps the jury needed to see them but not the world. The song and dance I’ve heard about this being a murder trial and the photos had to be shown is nonsense. I’d like for someone to name another deceased person whose deathbed photo has been displayed on national television and the internet. Now these photos are everywhere on the internet; and some unbalanced people even use them for their profile pictures. Nevertheless, we celebrate the people who made the decision to display these photos. I think NOT.

The Cadeflaw Advocates do NOT and will NOT celebrate such a mockery. We continue to call for an anti-defamation legacy law. While we continue to work hard to protect and preserve the legacies of the deceased, I have an enormous difficulty with celebrating people who continue to create arenas designed to blacken the memories of the deceased.

The actions of the California prosecution team made the members of the Westboro Baptist Church look like saints. They make no apologies for the character assassination of the deceased, but the prosecution team hid behind the disguise of prosecuting the doctor to mock Mr. Jackson. I offer no apology for not celebrating Judge Pastor, Walgren and Deputy DA Deborah Brazil. I didn’t see an apology they gave for mocking Michael Jackson, though they did celebrate and Mr. Walgren was rewarded handsomely with an appointment to an office of judgeship. Walgren’s Rise to Stardom Doesn’t he look so proud?

We all know why the media would post these photos, but what is the excuse given by the California officers of the court? They didn’t give one. They didn’t have to because they were celebrated. They didn’t need one. One more nibble out of the flesh of Michael Jackson.

We continue to ask those who believe this is wrong to support Cadeflaw. Let’s do everything within our power to stop or curtail this kind of mockery by calling for a posthumous law that will hold these offenders accountable for their dishonorable actions. Let’s not allow them to hide behind the first amendment or utilize the superficial show of righteousness’ to place a stain on the memory of the deceased. Let’s protect and preserve the memory of the deceased. Those left behind can be hurt.

Photos were NOT newsworthy. They were used to make mockery of Michael Jackson; to evoke reactions of shock, anger and disgust from Michael’s fan-base, family and friends; and to guarantee the prosecutor a rise to STARDOM. Mr. Walgren, you delivered. Congratulations.

I won’t post the photos but I will promise to make sure that every CA legislator receives a copy of each one. They shouldn’t be too shocked since the entire world viewed them on television and the internet is crawling with them. Final Indignity

“By means of the Mummy, mankind, it is said, attests to the gods its respect for the dead. We plunder his tomb, be he sinner or saint, Distil him for physic and grind him for paint, Exhibit for money his poor, shrunken frame, And with levity flock to the scene of the shame. O, tell me, ye gods, for the use of my rhyme: For respecting the dead what’s the limit of time?”  ~Scopas Brune~

MJ Brookins, CAD


Posted by on March 12, 2013 in Advocacy


Tags: , , , ,

6 responses to “The Need for Death Photos: Newsworthy or Exploitation?

  1. CA Anti-Def Group (@CADEFLAW)

    March 14, 2013 at 9:49 am

    This morning I rec’d a response from someone I trust and respect concerning this post. This person shared some information with me that I was not aware of. It has been brought to my attention that DA Walgren was interviewed by MJJC and he was questioned about the photos being displayed during the CM trial. This was the question by MJJC and his response:

    MJJC: Many Michael Jackson fans still have issue with open release of Michael Jackson’s autopsy photo. Why was it necessary to show a picture of MJ on a gurney and an autopsy photo in open court for a manslaughter trial? Why couldn’t the pictures of Michael’s body be only showed to the jury in court and not on live TV to avoid the massive reproduction of them all over the internet?

    David Walgren: All evidence admitted at trial must be presented in open court and since the court had ruled the trial would be televised, such evidence became public.

    Although I do not accept DA Walgren’s explanation for displaying the photos I do respect the opinion of the person who contacted me. I viewed the entire trial of O. J. Simpson and I do not recall seeing any morgue photos of Nicole Brown Simpson or Ron Goldman displayed for public view. However, I have found death photos of both persons on the internet and I don’t agree with those either. I do feel that it was fair for me to post this information although it does not change my opinion of the Judge nor the Prosecutors.

    The above article is how I perceived the further mockery of Michael Jackson. If I were to change anything I would not be displaying an honest opinion. IF and when it is made known that the court had no other choice but to display the photos then perhaps I may think and feel differently. However, I don’t think that will be happening. They have moved on but the death photos of Michael remain.

    Thank you, again, to the person who brought this interview to my attention. It is most appreciated and was welcomed because it was you.

  2. mjsangel

    March 15, 2013 at 4:56 pm

    Because they do it for shock value,that’s why it was spread online in a matter of minutes.
    sometimes the autopsy pic has to be viewed and yes I agree it should have been only shown to the jury and not on a 50 foot ( or however big it was) screen some shows refused to air it though Joy Behar and believe it or not Nancy Grace didn’t show it either.

    What I didn’t like was a hater tweeted that pic to Prince and Paris it’s a good thing Michael warned his kids about the evils in the world that were after him all his life. he raised some strong kids Prince is going to testify at his dad’s Wrongful Death suit.

  3. michaeljacksonfansworld

    March 18, 2013 at 9:11 am

    “All evidence at trial ADMITTED must be presented in open court and since court had ruled the trial would be televised, public Became Such evidence.”

    Ok. I had read some time ago, interview of MJJC to Walgren, and now, as then, I think this statement is just a “crafty public answer”, which in fact doesn’t explain what we really witnessed, trying also to shift the focus and responsibility of a legal obligation that is not exactly as in this answer.

    To be admitted for trial, evidences must have any” legal value”.
    Or( to explain in the simplest terms), proof or evidences (photos, etc.) should serve to clarify somewhere specifically related to any testimony or in time to trial.

    An example: if case involves such as a car accident or a deliberate act (eg murder) photos are allowed in courtroom when they serve to demonstrate the dynamics of events, or wounds of victim are able to explain part of the dynamic of facts.

    So, for photo appeared during trial in Murray:
    1) The first picture was shown at beginning of trial, during opening statement by Walgren, as a sort of show , initial shock of jury and thousands of fans who were watching television, is sole purpose. In addition, same photo (photo-stretcher) went several times on the screen, even as a background for further documents .This indicates the more reason that use of this photo had no specific purpose for trial, but that it was decided expose victim who was defending himself, for more on their side not only jury, but also public opinion.

    2) Also second picture had not value for purposes of case.
    Autopsy photo was shown during ttestimony of Rapporteur of the Coroner. Although no one had, until then, put in absolutely no doubt that victim was Michael Jackson, Mr. Walgren asked witness “recognizes Michael Jackson in the picture?” and the witness answered yes.

    It may be inferred, therefore, that Prosecutor of Los Angeles,( by consent of court )has deliberately exposed photos of victim,although photos had not any reason to be admitted as evidence in court, since they didn’t add any evidences important, at end to trial.
    This disgusting behavior is worsened by fact that victim in this case, it was most famous person in world, that was exposed for all life by tabloids and media, and so again pilloried by those who were in the classroom for defend it.
    They preferred not to consider at all consequences of such an act, giving importance only to the advantage that this would lead them.

    Also, just in California is no specific law on use of photo from an autopsy, please take a look at what law says:

    Civil procedure doesn’t differ in any way , from penal in this procedure.

  4. Roger

    March 24, 2013 at 12:53 pm

    I keep comming across his death photo on YouTube and every time it hurt.

    • Cadeflaw

      March 24, 2013 at 5:42 pm

      It is very disheartening Roger and there is nothing to be done about it. WE have to keep trying. Thanks for posting.

  5. Cadeflaw

    April 12, 2013 at 6:00 am

    This photo is NOT a surprise. It was a forerunner for the things to come. I REST my case.


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