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The Big Speculation

Reported by Judy - June 9, 2005

Sometimes, "The Big Story with John Gibson" isn't even a story, let alone a big one. Such was the case Wednesday (June 8, 2005), when most of the show was consumed with runaway speculation about the Michael Jackson trial.

Gibson led the show with a story on the arrest of four men in Lodi, California, whom the FBI says have ties to al Qaeda, but Gibson dropped that topic when a Fox News Alert interrupted the show with the "news" that the court in the Michael Jackson case would have an announcement in about an hour.

For almost all the rest of the show, Gibson, Trace Gallagher, Andrw Napolitano, Lis Wiehl and Jim Hammer speculated that the announcement could be about a jury verdict, a plea bargain, a hung jury, a tainted juror, and an attempt by the defense to counter a forthcoming book by a former Jackson publicity agent claiming that the pop star had a formula for going after young boys. Gallagher quickly disposed of anything regarding the jury, by noting that the vans were ready to take the jurors home for the day. Gallagher also downplayed the plea bargain scenario.

Soon, though, Gibson started zeroing in on the forthcoming book. "We think it might have something to do" with Jackson's wooing of young boys as recounted in the book, he said at one point. Later, he said, "evidently the statement may have something to do with that."

The only solid piece of information Fox News had was that the court was going to make an announcement and that the vans were ready to take the jury home for the day. No one connected with the court had said anything about the former publicist's book, but Gibson was saying that "evidently" that was what it was all about.

Gibson was so taken with the topic that he ditched Terry Keenan's usual report on the stock market. The markets were down for the day so he wouldn't have wanted to call attention to that, anyway. Instead, he asked Keenan to repeat all the old information about Jackson's financial situation.

Gibson's hour was up before the court issued its statement. He never had to face the viewers and admit that he had been wrong. The court announcement turned out to involve a dispute over who was authorized to speak on behalf of Jackson. Jackson's defense attorneys wanted to make it clear that they had not authorized anyone to speak on his behalf, emphasizing that they were complying with a gag order in the case, and they had gotten the judge's permission to release a statement saying that.

Much ado about nothing. Good thing there is absolutely nothing else going on in the world that could have been discussed during that time -- no wars, no economic problems, no Downing Street Memo that needs explaining.

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