"Hiding, getting away. You can't go that way because they're over there, we won't, let's go this way and pretend we're going that way and we'll go that way. Someone should say HOLD ON, STOP. This person deserves their privacy. You are not allowed to go there. I mean I go around the world dealing with, running, and hiding, you can't…I can't take a walk in the park. I can't go to the store. I can't. I have to hide in a room, you feel like you're in prison."
That harrowing, almost literary passage is Michael Jackson discussing the paparazzi with Barbara Walters in 1997, as transcribed by a fan site. And yet in the same interview, Jackson discussed selling pictures of his first son to the National Enquirer and other tabloids when his eldest child, commonly known as Prince Michael Jackson, was born earlier that year. Plus, Entertainment Tonight, for all of its ridiculousness, isn't exactly the Enquirer. All of which is to say it's ironic but not entirely shocking that the young Jackson is now an ET correspondent.
Sure, as with Luke Russert's ascension to NBC News correspondent when he was only 22, high-profile parentage is obvously the deciding factor here. But Tim Russert's Sunday morning perch on NBC's Meet the Press meant he could expect other poltical journalists to kiss his ring; he wasn't, we assume, ordinarily stalked by them. The late King of Pop was a very different case.
According to ET, Pince Michael interviewed someone for the first time in his life when he interviewed actors James Franco and Zach Braff, along with director Sam Raimi, about their upcoming Wizard of Oz prequel, Oz the Great and Powerful. The subject is especially appropriate (?!) because his father played the Scarecrow in 1978's The Wiz: The Super Soul Musical Wonderful Wizard of Oz. When told by ET's terrifyingly cheerful Brooke Anderson he seems older than 16, Prince Michael reportedly replied: "That's what most of my people say. That was all thanks to my dad. He raised me right."
More than 30 years after Thriller, and in the wake of last year's bizarre Jackson family feud, it's impossible not to root for Prince Michael. As much as anyone, he deserves a chance to grow into a successful adult, and he presumably has the financial resources to catch him if he falls. Still, we wouldn't have expected him to become a celebrity journalist. It's the type of quirky move that helped his father stay in the crosshairs of, well, celebrity journalists.
Pretty sure a caring adult might've advised Prince Michael to, like, start small and gain experience first, but then again being the child of Michael Jackson is so singular that it's really impossible for an outsider to judge. But can we still judge the adults, who evidently didn't tell Prince Michael that part of the appeal of watching him on ET is the peculiar irony of watching a "raised right" tabloid-target's kid going to work for a tabloid TV show. It could be worse; he could still go into music criticism.