Is Radar Online about to go… offline? A controversial story about Michael Jackson has now disappeared from view.
Radar Online is known for a lot of things in the tabloid world, but factual reporting apparently isn’t one of them.
We first reported back in June a laundry list of items supposedly found in Michael Jackson’s Neverland Ranch by the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department back in 2003. The full report was published and posted in PDF format on Radar Online’s site on June 21.
However, in going back to review this tragic news story of the late singer being harassed by more and more reports of alleged sexual molestions, this writer found that Radar mysteriously deleted the story just weeks before Taj, TJ, and Taryll Jackson filed their $100 million liberal lawsuit against the website in late July. I decided to ask myself the same question I started off this article post: Was Radar Online publishing a “real news story,” or was this just a sensationalist trash piece that got way bigger than what the tabloid expected it to?
Were they now trying to bury this piece to avoid a huge payout to the Jackson Estate?
I decided to report it to my editor. He told me, “Why don’t you investigate to see what happened? I have the perfect headline! ‘$100 MM suit alleging incest etc. story pulled!’” All right, I said to myself. What’s the worst that I could find? What exactly is Radar Online trying to hide?
To see exactly what happened, this writer searched through archive.org using the PDF link once widely available on Radar Online’s website. However, what I found is that the final time archive.org was able to save a full snapshot of the PDF was on July 10. The PDF is now only available through this website, but a word of warning to the wise, as first reported back in June, there are several black-and white NSFW images embedded onto the document, so please, don’t open this at work, in front of your boss, or in front of your children.
The actual report contains images of nude teenagers and young adults, pictures of nude children, images of a pornographic magazine. There are also lengthy summaries of what exactly the Sheriff’s Department found.
To see what happened, I then decided to go on Radar Online’s site to see the articles in question. The actual website no longer has the controversial articles indexed on their site, with the only article “published” (read: indexed) this year is of Paris Jackson’s estranged mother, Debbie Rowe, having breast cancer.
The article before it? Photos of the singer’s home taken in Jan 28, 2010. This seems like a no brainer, I thought to myself. If there aren’t any direct article links, then what exactly could Radar Online be sued over? To prove if this was the case, I decided to check previous links to the articles in question in the $100 million libel suit. After clicking on several links that I’ve posted on, I found out that, sure enough, they’re right there on Radar’s site, hiding behind search engine indexed pages.
These pages are still intact, right down to the sensationalist, clickbait titles, which apparently haven’t been changed:
“Jacko’s Sick Excuses Exposed!”
I found out, however, that clicking on all of the links didn’t take me to their original, respective articles. What are they trying to do? I thought to myself. I then came to the realization that Radar Online, in a desperate attempt to avoid being sued, has tried to redirect this year’s Michael Jackson articles to other, more current (read: not-liable) stories. When I clicked on an article titled, “Michael Jackson’s Secret Ex-Lover Tells All,” I was taken to a Kim Kardashian photo gallery where she was apparently planning a new nude photo shoot back in late May. Will this strategy work? I asked myself. Probably not. The internet has grown too big and these articles are still on everyone’s minds, especially of those who have seen them before on Radar’s site.
No direct statements have been given by Radar Online or parent company American Media, Inc. The only statement American Media was able to give was in defense of the stories in question.
“The Radar article clearly states that detectives reported that Michael Jackson may have used photos of his nephews ‘to excite young boys’. This theory was, in fact, presented by the prosecution during Michael Jackson’s 2005 criminal trial. Radar looks forward to correcting plaintiffs’ misstatements in a court of law.”
This writer wonders what Radar’s lawyers will have to say about these “missing” articles once the court date comes around.
Guilty!! image by clement127, licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC by 2.0)