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Exposé of Martin Bashir

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Rania S

on 28 October 2014

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Transcript of Exposé of Martin Bashir

Journalistic Approach & The Potter Box
Just because it's in print, doesn't means it's the Gospel - Michael Jackson
Martin Bashir
Panorama: Interview With the Princess of Wales
Living With Michael Jackson (2003)
• Situation: Some believed Panorama to be surprisingly honest and impartial, while others believe it was cynical and well-rehearsed.
• Values: Fairness and Objectivity. Diana saw this interview as even-handed – a fair way to share her side of the story and tell the truth to the public.
“I think I was so fed up as being seen as someone who was a basket-case, because I am a very strong person.” (Diana: BBC, 1995)
It was also her chance to let society know that she had grown as a person, gaining self-control and independence.
• Principles: With the application of Aristotle’s Golden Mean, the interview focuses on Princess Diana who is guided by reason to find the mean between her public and personal life. Moral decisions were also influenced by Mill’s Utilitarian ethics. Diana used Bashir as a mouth-piece that would benefit her; Bashir used Diana to gain recognition; through publishing this interview, both Diana and Bashir’s actions are favoured by the general public.
• Loyalties: The interview served Bashir’s career. He also withheld professional loyalties to his network (BBC) to produce an interview that was newsworthy. Included in his loyalties are the audience, whom he provided with newsworthy information.

After Martin Bashir gained himself fame and credibility through his work with Princess Diana, Michael Jackson had welcomed Bashir to the privacy of his own home. Bashir had agreed to capture, and show the world, the real man we never get to see. Michael agreed to make nothing off limits. Rather than committing to his agreement, topics focused on were those that sought most attention in tabloids:
Physical changes
His Relationship With his Own Children
His (misunderstood) Friendship with Children.
Bashir's intentions were not to allow Michael's voice to be heard for a fair hearing, nor to clear such misconceptions. It was an act of
duty to self
- fame).

Tuesday, October 28, 2014
Vol XCIII, No. 311
Panorama: An Interview With the Princess of Wales
Selective Editing and Misrepresentation
Living With Michael Jackson (2003)
Bashir's (mis)representation of Michael was "personalized to conform to the culture of human interest" (Burgh, 91).
He dissected and manipulated the actual events/footage to reach his own conclusions, which were doctored in attempt to "validate" all that is falsely written about Michael in the tabloids.
His duty-to-self exceeded “his moral duty to the dignity of the subjects”, as well as his moral duty to the audience in truth-telling (Vivian and Maurin, 246).
"A lapse, like a misleading story, especially if intentional or the result of sloppiness, represents a broken promise and an ethics problem" (Vivian and Maurin, 246).

Exposé of Martin Bashir
British Journalist
His resume includes professional work for BBC, ABC, and NBC.
Suspended from ABC (2008). Resigned from NBC after Sarah Palin controversy (2013).
Gained respect and credibility from his Documentary
Panorma: Interview With the Princess of Wales.
With the intention of enhancing his own reputation (
), his unprofessional "journalistic" approach in the making of Living with Michael Jackson (2003) tore him apart.
Those Things That Are Excluded From His Story
Bashir's Misrepresentation of Michael Jackson
The footage is not chronologically presented; it was put together in a way that would
a completely different story about Michael.
Bashir selectively omitted many of Michael's comments, and all of his own comments which praised Michael. These omitted portions would have provided a more clear/complete image of Michael, on which the audience could have formed their own opinions.
In addition, Bashir took the footage to the studio and inserted his own voice-overs, to give the impression that he was narrating the events, throughout filming.
His tone was dismayed and aghast.
His intention was to influence the audience to think/feel the same way about Michael.
Living With Michael Jackson (2003)
Selective Editing and Misrepresentation Cont'd
Physical Changes
His Children
Misrepresentation Cont'd
Bashir included footage of Gavin Arvizo, a 12-year-old minor, though Mrs. Arvizo mother did not give him consent to do so.
By misrepresenting Michael Jackson, Bashir had also done severe damage to the life of Gavin Arvizo.
Janet Arvizo pressed charges against Bashir. She failed to win the case.
Bashir's documentary is held accountable for the charges that Arvizo's parents plotted and pressed against Michael Jackson in 2005.
His Childhood and (misunderstood) Friendship with Children
Bashir Admits to Lies, Only After Michael's Passing
In the 1995 BBC interview with Martin Bashir, Princess Diana of Wales sits down to discuss particularly the lows of her career and fifteen-year relationship with Prince Charles. The topic of discussion inquires straightforward and personal questions in which Diana replies with very intimate answers.
This includes her struggle with self-harm and bulimia after discovering her husband had been having an affair, her difficulties with the Royal family, and having to deal with these issues in the public eye.
With Bashir’s help, Diana was able to analyze and disclose every aspect of her life so that she could correct any misrepresentations that had previously been made of herself.
Some regard Panorama as surprisingly open and honest, while others believe it was cynical and well rehearsed; one things for sure, this interview gained recognition and a reputation for Bashir’s career.

“Nineteen million people watched as, under Bashir's careful questioning, Diana complained of being bullied by the royal family and challenged her husband's suitability for the throne. The Queen insisted on a divorce, and the BBC made millions in overseas sales. The Royal Television Society anointed the hitherto unknown Panorama reporter as its Journalist of the Year.” (Cox 2002)
Controversy Following Bashir’s Living with Michael Jackson (2003)
Michael Jackson: “[It is] a twisted and edited construction of scandal and innuendo; not a true representation of the interviews that actually took place”.
Michael Jackson filed complaints with the Independent Television Commission (ITC), and The Broadcasting Standards Commission.
His lawyers took legal action against Granada, “for the fact that the documentary was a breach of contract, and a breach of confidence.” (Beke, 142).
“The case was settled,” on the agreement that there would be a “rebuttal strategy” that would expose Bashir’s unethical misrepresentation of Michael (Beke, 142-143).
As a result,
The Footage You Were Never Meant to See
(2003) was produced. Michael had no editorial control, but provide the complete and unedited footage of Bashir's interviews with him.
Michael’s staff and family had spoken up in this documentary, raged by the ways in which Bashir had presented Jackson, whom they personally know to be someone completely different than what what portrayed in
Living with Michael Jackson
Out of remorse, Martin Bashir admitted to his mistreatment of Michael Jackson after Michael died in 2009.

Ethics of Editing
Journalistic documentaries are perceived, by the audience, to be an accurate portrayal of the subject.
For instance those looking for a documentary on Michael Jackson would most likely expect that Martin Bashir’s film demonstrates a truthful representation of his life.
It is unethical to doctor such false interpretations of an individual and their life based upon a personal analysis of them.
By manipulatively editing a story, those true and unbiased meanings that are tangled within quotes and audio/visual clips can be completely lost:
Responses may be changed from the subject matter they are actually referring to.
Mood and tone of the subject can be altered to shed in a negative light.
Portions of the video can be mended together or omitted to change the actual responses of the subject.

Ethics of Editing, Cont'd
A journalist/editor holds the power to:

decide how the story is told
what the aim of the story will be
and how they want their subject to be portrayed in the story.

They can create the illusion of fluid, free flowing information, which has, in fact, been altered and distorted from its original chronology and context.
Questions that journalists/editors should ask themselves before publishing an edited story are:
1. Does my presentation stay accurate to the facts and opinions witnessed, and gathered by the subject?
2. How will my subject react to the story?

Discussion Questions:

1. Has your knowledge of Michael Jackson matured after seeing the truth on the ways in which tabloids misrepresent?
2. What would you do about Bashir's unethical actions, if you were in Michael Jackson's shoes?

Full transcript