Friday, July 22, 2011

Someone's Listening In: The Phone Hacking Scandal

Despite everything that's going on in the world today, really my current attention is aimed at the hacking scandal, which has already cost people jobs, money, and continues to be really horrible in that a dead girl's phone was hacked, while remaining completely engaging. This is playing out more in the vein of a political thriller than your average news related scandal, especially with a journalist who was a whistle blower on this dying and then it being ruled not suspicious. Give me a break. Next they will be trying to tell me there were actually WMDs in Iraq.

What's truly even more fascinating is how this entire mess is really a commentary on the dangers of the media and government becoming too buddy buddy with one another. Not to mention involving the police, as two top cops have already resigned as well. Sure its really fun to watch NewsCorp and Fox News squirm, yet I would rather see some type of actual justice and true punishments melted out. For me its not enough that one of the biggest companies in the world has lost tons of money, or that Rupert Murdoch's troubling attempts to further conquer the British media market have been scuttled, hopefully for good.

Oh yes, he did apologize to the girl's family, however even when hauled before a committee he refused to sound anything other than shallowly trite. If anything he's more sorry a branch of his media empire got busted for violating the law and ethical standards of journalism. After this whole mess, which is continuing to be investigated, gets sorted out, perhaps people will step back and realize that their particular brands of outrageous, self-serving, and rule breaking and bending ways of trying to get to "THE TRUTH" isn't worth the overall cost of selling out one's soul for a better scoop. This goes for America media especially, particularly cable news and those awful lame tabloid newspapers and TMZ.

That said, I'm not holding my breath that anyone who engages in gross ethical and even law breaking violations will stop as a result of this scandal. They will just try harder not to get caught, and that's not surprising. In that regard, perhaps the lack of institutional controls at many of these organizations that stains the good name of journalism is as much a problem as is the media being in bed with too many corporate entities that often lead to stories being restricted or not even reported. One can only hope that the public continues to back the ones that do a fairly decent job of being honest, and reject those that peddle dumb entertainment as news.