ALL ABOUT THE 500
It’s not easy being in the business of vindication. When we fight for what is right, we’re constantly exposed to harsh and unpleasant realities. How much easier it would be to simply sit back and take nothing but pleasure in the glorious musical legacy that Michael Jackson left behind. Life would be sweet, as we wouldn’t have to deal with distressing news or feel compelled to do anything about it.
The trouble is, we can’t take pure pleasure in a legacy that has been unfairly tarnished, and we do feel constantly compelled to do something about it–not just for Michael’s sake, but for our own.
We of The 500 believe that if we raise our voices as one, we can get things done.
The collective power of many voices was demonstrated by Gardner Street School’s recent decision to uncover Michael Jackson’s name from the auditorium named for him. Plywood covered that name for seven years and was a powerful symbol of public dishonor (view on Facebook). Yet school officials were moved by many reasonable, determined voices to do the right thing, and now the unveiling provides another powerful symbol–this time of justice prevailing.
The 500 will not stop there. Small victories can lead to big ones, motivating us to continue our fight to shine the light of truth on all aspects of Michael Jackson’s final public record.
WHO WE ARE
The 500 acts to vindicate Michael Jackson in the press by commenting on negative articles and programs, and at times through phone calls, email, and regular mail.
A managing team informs The 500 members about a Jackson-related press item or program that warrants a strong response, so they can rebut misinformation with facts, castigate judgmental or biased articles, and support positive narratives. The 500 may also attack the credibility of particular journalists, such as Diane Dimond, Maureen Orth and Martin Bashir.
The 500 doesn’t have a website or Facebook. It’s not an organization that advertises itself. In reality, The 500 is simply a communication and coordination tool, bringing together anonymous individuals who write well and would like to do something about the way the media has portrayed and continues to portray Michael Jackson. The 500 is made more effective by not appearing to be a coalition of any kind, instead striving to convey that widespread disgust with media bias against Michael Jackson comes not just from avid fans, but from the realm of ordinary, unconnected and objective citizens as well.
The 500′s overarching goal is to influence and improve public perception of Michael Jackson that was maliciously warped by 20 years of irresponsible, reprehensible and inhumane media coverage. We aim to do no less than utterly change the media-driven narrative about him. This is already happening, and must continue.
Our focus is on mainstream media rather than tabloids or the murkier depths of the Internet blogosphere. These outlets are largely shunned by thinking people–the very audience we want to engage. We aim to change those hearts and minds that are open to the truth. We believe we’re unlikely to win over confirmed haters. We won’t exhaust our membership by engaging with questionable sources that lack credibility and broad audience appeal. In fact, responding randomly and without focus can bring undeserved attention and validation to nonsensical, hateful, or deliberately provocative reports and opinion pieces.
We will, however, take issue when supposedly responsible elements of mainstream media use tabloid sources and tactics to target, vilify and destroy lives. This phenomenon reached its zenith in coverage of Michael Jackson for the past 20 years.
Our team carefully weighs many factors when choosing how and when to act, including circulation and influence of the media outlet, extent of a report’s potential damage to Michael Jackson’s image, and how a story might affect his children.
The primary focus for The 500 is to disconnect Michael Jackson’s name from child molestation in the public mind. This association represents the single most serious threat to his legacy, and we will work vigorously to counter the travesty that spawned it. We will also address other persistent and malignant themes, such as: (1) he was a drug addict at the end of his life; (2) he was ashamed to be black, so he “bleached” his skin and had surgery on his nose; and (3) he was an emotionally damaged weirdo/megalomaniac–perhaps barely human, etc.
HOW WE WILL ACHIEVE OUR GOALS
In order to achieve ultimate vindication for Michael Jackson, as members of The 500 we must hold high standards for the manner in which we address detractors. We won’t attack or dehumanize others with violent speech. We will use respectful, factual, persuasive and thoughtfully constructed arguments to win over media consumers who may be uncertain what to believe, and who might therefore be persuaded to take another look. This doesn’t mean we lack clarity about what is right. Where we cannot persuade or win over, we will be unafraid to use strong but measured language to condemn the perpetuation of injustice whenever we see it.
We expect to lobby hard and be persistent, if necessary over an extended period of time, to fully reclaim Michael Jackson’s rightful standing as an exceedingly rare human being who combined creative genius and brilliant performance with a humanitarian message of love and inclusiveness for all people. If The 500 does its job well, it will be clear to everyone everywhere why he remains beloved the world over.
If you think The 500 would be a meaningful way to help vindicate Michael Jackson, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you.