COMMENTARY | In case you passed over it, here are the cliff notes:
In 2007, a reporter, famously dubbed a “rogue reporter” for News of the World, was found participating in the very illegal activity of phone hacking. The incident was contained and execs claimed it was isolated. In 2009, victims of these phone hackings were revealed to be numerous, and highly sensitive: murder victim’s families, deceased troops’ families, politicians, police officers and such. This went against the initial claim of an isolated incident. A “whistleblower” claimed phone hackings were the norm at the tabloid, and he turned up dead a few days ago.
More recently, a number of resignations within News Corp and British law enforcement prompted a deeper and quicker investigation into the cozy relationships long held between journalists, politicians and police officers. It’s something out of a business-thriller blockbuster.
Rupert Murdoch, regarded as the sinister puppet master, is the main target. A slew of others, including his son James and Rebekah Brooks, the former editor of News of the World, are also under investigation.
News of the World, the ancient tabloid-style newspaper that it was, is now defunct as a side effect, and the authenticity of News Corp’s other news outlets is under scrutiny.
With details quickly growing juicier, things rapidly appear to be headed downhill for the forward of this giant organization. The latest news has Murdoch and company facing the UK Parliament for a round of questioning, no doubt in an attempt to discover how deep the hacking went and who among their peers is a part of the inner workings. Heads up, prime minister.
But does it change the way we view news? Is illegally obtained information any less credible? Does it cross a line reading such information?
With news outlets seemingly growing exponentially thanks to the Internet, the recent scandal has shaken things up a bit. Who can you trust to be ethical, especially online, where there is little to no accountability?
Consider the privacy invaded, the rights lost, all to get the juicy story. It’s almost sickening going back and re-reading some of the stories with the illegally obtained information because you know it’s wrong. Because those details weren’t suppose to be out, because that grieving was suppose to be kept private.
Credibility is getting harder and harder to reach. The seeds of skepticism in journalism are back in full fledge.