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A TV 'DIARY'

Is It a Thriller, or Just Bad?

March 06, 2005|Andrew H. Malcolm | Andrew H. Malcolm is a Times editorial writer.

A purely fictional but all-too-accurate daily diary of a cable news watcher:

7:04 a.m. -- Michael Jackson returns to court today. Same guy, same courthouse, same charges, same SUV. Live team coverage promised.

7:21 a.m. -- Don't forget coverage coming on Michael Jackson.

7:50 a.m. -- Coverage still coming. Presumably so is he. The 87 TV trucks are ready.

8:12 a.m. -- A crowd has been gathering since before dawn. Hard to imagine why a crowd would gather anywhere just because 87 TV trucks are there.

8:46 a.m. -- Michael Jackson expected any minute. Live coverage still promised.

8:49 a.m. -- Any minute now. No Jackson sighting. Live coverage when he is. A crowd has still been gathering.

8:52 a.m. -- Should be here soon. Remember, last year Jackson kept the judge waiting 40 minutes and got scolded. And the other day he went to the hospital.

8:54 a.m. -- Here he is! Or the black SUV anyway. No, yes, it's him. The door is opening!

8:55 a.m. -- Michael Jackson is getting out of his car.

8:56 a.m. -- It's him all right. He's wearing an all-white suit with red vest, the better to blend in with five incredible hulks in black suits and sunglasses. And there's the ubiquitous open umbrella because it's not raining.

8:57 a.m. -- He's walking now. Michael Jackson is walking toward the courthouse.

8:58 a.m. -- No, wait, he's stopping. Turning. Waving. He's turning and waving. People waving back. Exciting. They've been waiting hours.

8:59 a.m. -- Up the steps. More waving. Even hair-tossing.

9 a.m. -- He's gone. Inside now. Let's review today's events so far.

11:38 a.m. -- "So the outlook for the Iraq war is .... " Sorry, General, we must interrupt. Michael Jackson is going to lunch.

11:39 a.m. -- Yes, he's going to lunch. This is live coverage. He's walking down the very same steps he walked up just a few hours ago. The same Michael is giving the same wave to the same crowd. They're very excited. Is he climbing atop his car again? No, but we have tape of that day last year.

11:44 a.m. -- Moments ago, Michael Jackson left the courthouse for lunch. Roll tape for the next hour or so.

12:48 p.m. -- "So, clearly the entire future of Social Security for millions of Americans is ... " Sorry, Mr. Secretary, Michael Jackson is returning to the courthouse. Live coverage.

12:49 p.m. -- He is returning to the courthouse. He's wearing the same clothes as when he left. He's waving again. The crowd clearly loves him. With all the excitement, several fans have fainted.

12:50 p.m. -- Michael Jackson is back in the courthouse. Busy day so far.

2:42 p.m. -- "Because if we do not fix this federal deficit .... " Sorry, Michael Jackson is leaving the courthouse. Live coverage. There he goes. Michael Jackson has left the courthouse.

After other global news headlines, we'll be recapping today's major Michael Jackson events and get complete reaction from abroad.

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