Yesterday BTL wrote about the Casey Anthony case and the media frenzy. I have a few questions for the media at large: for reporters, editors, and anyone else working in “the profession of journalism”.
Why is one hacking scandal, particularly involving hacking into the phone of a crime victim, more compelling than being caught dozens of times lying about an entire country? The British media lied repeatedly about the actions of the Israeli military and populace, and not just the tabloids. They accused them of forcing women to feed babies with poisoned formula. The front page of one of their leading newspapers stated that Jenin was worse than Kosovo, a remark made by the reporter who claimed to have seen Kosovo during the war. It was a complete lie and the reporter was quietly moved to the food beat. Why didn’t that bring down the entire newspaper? Why isn’t the false accusation of genocide enough to end a newspaper but a phone hacking scandal is?
This isn’t only a British problem. Was it last summer or two years ago that the Swedish media ran with a story claiming that Israelis murdered Palestinians to harvest their organs? They actually had a photo of a cadaver after an autopsy to suggest that this was a Palestinian whose internal organs had been stolen to that they could be used for Israelis. This was yet another media blood libel. I don’t think anyone paid any price for it. But the real winner in this department has to be the NY Times. They are still the “paper of record” after it was revealed in 2006 that they buried the Holocaust for their readers because it didn’t fit their paradigm. Ditto the starvation in Stalin’s Russia, incidentally. All free.
But yesterday, Rupert Murdoch shut down a newspaper, and that was the right thing to do. As far as I know, that was the first time that the media elites have ever taken ownership of their little problems: lying and distorting to fit their paradigm.
Today Britain is in an uproar. They should be, but there is something deeply offensive about the fact that it happened over the hacking scandal and not over some of the deeper problems in the field of journalism.
British Prime Minister David Cameron called Friday for full inquiries into the News of the World phone hacking scandal and how it happened, saying it was time for action to restore public confidence.
He said the News of the World turmoil “is not just about journalists on one newspaper, it’s not even just just about the press – it’s also about the police and about how politics works, and politicians too.”
What was needed was a fresh start, he said, after decades in which politicians from both Labour and Conservative parties and the press grew too close.
“This is a wake-up call,” he said. “It’s on my watch that the music has stopped and I’m saying loud and clear that the relationship has to change in the future.”
Sliminess among reptiles isn’t surprising in Britain, or anywhere else in Europe. What is frightening is to understand the implications of the media bias in our own country. We are a nation built on European traditions, with laws and customs mostly taken from Europe. How different are we?