If you’re a US citizen a political Tsunami is on its way to your shores. I could be wrong, but I predict here that the USA will have its own “hacking scandal.” The hacking scandal is currently happening in the UK, it’s the press run amok — snooping, lying, bribing, and corrupting everything in its path. To be fair, it’s not all the press/media — it’s mostly press owned by the Rupert Murdoch empire.
For my British friends, this prediction might seem obvious. Every day that goes by there are new and ever-more-horrifying revelations about the violation of privacy rights of ordinary citizens (in addition to celebrities and government figures). Today’s headline informs us that Gordon Brown’s family was hacked, including medical and financial records, while he was Prime Minister. Yesterday’s story had to do with phone taps placed on the voice mail of a murdered young girl, during an active police investigation.Last week, families of soldiers killed in action learned their phones had been tapped. Security guards for the royal family were selling information, and there’s more.
This scandal will spread to the USA.
The venerable old Fleet Street paper, News of the World, has now ceased operations. It published from 1843 to last Sunday. I feel bad for the many honest employees who had nothing to do with this scandal who have now lost their jobs.
Behind the scandal is the looming dark shadow of Rupert Murdock. Australian by birth, he’s a naturalized American citizen. This allows him to own TV properties in the USA, including the highly influential — Fox News. It has long been rumoured that Fox News is not only conservative in positioning, but has editorial policies that require conservative slants on all stories. I’m a liberal but I actually want to hear conservative views — I agree with many of them! However, reporting and editorial commentary should not be mixed, and on Fox News, they clearly are mixed. This manipulation of the press and editorial policy is the slippery slope that led to the scandals being uncovered daily in the UK. Why the USA and UK would allow an Australian to monopolise the press and skew news stories to his own interests is beyond me, but money does buy favors doesn’t it? Clearly, his minions know how to spend for effect.
Why I care: A free press is possibly the best example of unbridled, and consistent, self-expression in society. Self-expression is the foundation upon which citizens can build creative lives, and where organizations can innovate and better economies. A free press sets an example for self-expression, provides information, and is a safeguard to cronyism and corruption and an aid to economic opportunity. To me, a press that makes no attempt at objectivity and makes direct attempts to influence elections is not a free press, and should not be able to claim they are “reporting news.” The hacking scandal is a signal that the press, at least some of it, has been corrupted and cannot be trusted. This is creativity run amok and as we learned in the financial meltdown, that is harmful to nearly all of us.
Creativity without ethics is dangerous.
I’ll say no more about it at this time, but I am certain that Americans will soon discover, to their horror, that the privacy rights of its citizens have been violated by the press.