Poll: Coverage of Michael Jackson death 'was excessive'

Almost two in three Americans believe journalists went over the top with their coverage of Michael Jackson’s death, according to a new poll.

The survey found that 64 per cent believe there was too much airtime and column inches dedicated to the pop singer’s demise, although half agreed that the news media struck the right balance between his music and private life.

Just under a third of respondents to the Pew Research Centre poll of 1,000 adults said the story received the right amount of coverage, with three per cent left wanting more.

In all, some 30 per cent said they followed the story very closely, with the proportion jumping to 80 per cent among black Americans.

The research comes as columnists and bloggers began to cast a more critical eye over both Jackson’s life since news of the death broke.

After days of fawning pieces, journalists are now beginning to brave the anger of fans by coming out against the star.

Under a headline of “Shed no tears for this twisted sicko”, the New York Post’s Linda Stasi hit out at the “madness” that has followed his death.

She described Jackson as a “drug-addled, creepy-beyond-words, accused pedophile who literally bought his children”.

“Everyone is acting as though the world has lost one of its greatest men,” she wrote.

“The King of Pop was a great entertainer but he turned into a disgustingly depraved man who hung an infant off a balcony and forced his kids to walk around with masks, veils, towels and even nets over their faces.”

Here in the UK, the BBC has said it has received a number of complaints about its Michael Jackson news coverage.

The new head of the BBC newsroom, Mary Hockaday, wrote on the BBC editors’ blog: “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.”

She added: “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.

“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.”

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