Sunday night’s “60 Minutes” interview with Michael Jackson was a charade, a ratings ploy with no journalistic integrity. CBS anchor Ed Bradley never challenged Jackson’s story that Santa Barbara police had “manhandled” him during booking for child molestation, dislocated his shoulders, burned his arms and locked him in a bathroom covered in feces for 45 minutes. That Jackson was surrounded by his lawyers and security detail at the time never seems to have occured to Bradley. And now, CBS runs a story on its Web site — teasingly titled Injury Claims A Sham? — that is just too little, too late.

Instead of pandering to this whacko and pretending it was conducting an objective interview, CBS should have abandoned any pretense of having principles and given Jackson his own prime time special. Oh, they have done that was well. One month ago, CBS said airing a Jackson special would be “inappropriate,” given the “gravity” of the charges” against the singer. Which we now know is just a euphemism for “after giving CBS News an exclusive interview denying all charges.”

These guys have no honor, they have no pride, they have no principles. And they could certainly use some cohones. Edward R. Murrow, the iconic radio correspondent who launched CBS on its news leadership in the 1940s during WWII, would be ashamed of how his legacy has been tarnished.

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