Never mind the News of the World, the Murdochs are thrashing the reputation of journalists everywhere. It wasn’t Clive Goodman or Glenn Mulcaire who gave false hope to the parents of Milly Dowler by deleting a dead girl’s phone messages, nor was it Rebekah Brooks or Andy Coulson, this one goes right to the top: Rupert and James Murdoch. It was the Murdochs who invaded the personal space of 4,000 others in the name of getting the story. Most blatantly it was the Murdochs who then washed their hands of it by sacking 200 staff and thrashing a 168-year-old brand to give them a perfect start to setting up a Sun on Sunday with low overheads. It is the actions of people with no regard for anyone except themselves.
The Australian-born US-citizen Chinese-wifed Rupert Murdoch encouraged a culture of getting the news at all costs pursued by Andy Coulson and Rebekah Brooks. The people at the bottom of the food chain did it because they know the company would turn a blind eye. “Get the story, no matter what,” is the amoral mantra actively pursued by Murdoch publications throughout the world.
Apart from screwing up the lives of the people they hacked, they also wrecked the reputation of every other journalist who will be tarred with the same shitty brush. I’m fairly new to to the game, but I value my reputation, which Murdoch has just besmirched. In my paper last week, I took a heavy editorial line against the local council. Now people are well within their right to ask, why should they treat me seriously, this bugger is probably hacking people’s messages.
This is what I have to say about the matter in my editorial this coming Tuesday: “logging on to phones to hack people’s messages is criminal and wrong. If there is information I want, I’d expect to find that through legal channels. I care about my actions because I want to be trusted. People will judge me for my behaviour just as councillors are judged for theirs.”
The media is full of shonks but this affair confirms News Corporation are rotten to the core despite John Hartigan’s pious bullshit, as anyone with a passing exposure to Fox News or the Sydney Telegraph would know.
Seventy percent of Australia’s media is controlled by Murdoch and it is unlikely anyone reading them would get a full flavour of the problem now dominating world headlines. Even some of the most powerful international media commentators of the world cannot be totally honest about what is going on in the industry locally.
NYU Professor Jay Rosen tweeted “If the story of criminal intimidation tactics at News Ltd. in Australia ever came out, today’s events in the UK would look different,:”
However he refused to elaborate on what he meant when asked by Woolly Days and others.
“Can’t help you, sorry,” Rosen said to me.
“The events of which I spoke are not public knowledge. That is why I said, “if the story was known…”
I then accused him of being a tease. Rosen responded, “Best I can do. The other option was silence.”
Narked, I wrote back quickly saying “I think you can do better”.
On advice and reflection, I later apologised to Rosen for being abrupt.
Rosen replied saying he was not offended.
“It’s your media culture, not mine,” he said.
“Australians have to learn how to stand up to the Murdoch forces.
“I was simply trying to reach the people who can do that.”