We can learn several important lessons from pop star Michael Jackson’s acquittal.

First, he who frames the debate, wins.

His lawyers put the victim’s mother on trial and made the trial all about her history of filing lawsuits and her “suitability” as a mother. In fact, one of the jurors said in a TV interview “what kind of mother would put her child in that situation?”

If you read between the lines, she is really saying that Jackson’s house was a bad environment for children — which is what he was on trial for in the first place! Yet she voted to acquit because the mother was put on trial. She saw that as a bigger sin than child molestation.

Second, he who frames the outcome, wins.

As Jackson’s triumphant lawyers spoke to the press they claimed they did their jobs to prove Jackson innocent of all charges. Said lawyer Tom Mesereau: “Justice was done. He was always innocent and we proved it.”

In reality, the prosecution failed to present compelling evidence of guilt, according to the televised jurors. There’s a difference between being not guilty and being acquitted. Just ask O.J. Simpson.

By framing the answer, though, headlines can proclaim, “Jackson innocent.”

Whatever the price Jackson paid, he clearly hired lawyers who know how to win in the court of public opinion. That’s money well spent.

What can this mean for your business?

Frame your messages as you would want your clients and prospects to member. Make sure the sentences are simple and (most important) repeatable. “Michael’s innocent” is perfect because it is very short and very repeatable. Much better than “Michael got off.”

Review lawyer Mesereau’s comment. In two sentences, he proclaimed his clients’ innocence twice and his own ability once. You can’t do better than that.

Dan Janal
Your Fearless PR LEADER