Tuesday, March 13

Murdoch and Brooks - hacking phones for news

Rupert Murdoch abruptly ended publication of the News of the World in response to allegations that journalists were hacking phones for news stories. The News of the World, otherwise known as the “News of the Screws” sold more than 2 million copies per week. It was widely considered a tabloid rag that published sex scandals and exposed the private lives of public figures.

In regard to the hacking, the editor, Colin Myler said, “Nothing should diminish everything this great newspaper has achieved.” And it has achieved so much.

Consider the former News of the World reporter James Weatherup, recently arrested for phone hacking. I have provided two examples of Weatherup’s contribution to the achievement of the great newspaper, News of the World: “Sherrie’s a boozy, violent, jealous control freak – EXCLUSIVE CORRIE LEGEND’S HUBBY LETS LOSE AT STAR,” and “Stone me, she’s better looking than dad! – ROCKER KEITH’S GIRL STRIPS FOR PLAYBOY.” It took me literally four hours to find column titles by Weatherup that contain verbiage acceptable for my parents to read.

Of course the many accomplishments of former chief reporter Neville Thurlbeck (also arrested for phone hacking) should not be overlooked. Thurlbeck was responsible for covering or fabricating news about the royal family. One of his last articles published was titled “ANDREW & THE SEX SLAVE BEAST.” Thurlbeck’s journalistic contributions to the News of the World were an achievement indeed.

If I had been the editor of News of the World and I was paying off the police, I would have fired the journalists long ago for turning out such literary trash when presumably they had access to really good direct source information. If they were willing to commit a crime for the sake of juicy news, then the news better be darn good and it wasn’t. It was as sour as a lemon.

Who has the patience to listen to that many phone conversations? I talk a lot and there’s a limit to how much time even I can spend on the phone. I can’t imagine the tedium of listening to other people’s conversations. And who says anything on the phone that is so titillating it is worth recording? Why waste time and risk legal entanglements when so many public personalities, from performers to politicians freely dish out news on Twitter and Facebook as if it were candy?

The benefit of hacking people’s phones is that you can stay in your pajamas and sit on your own sofa while you’re on the phone doing “research” for your next article. So in the name of research and the desire to sit in my pajamas all day, I asked my editor for a phone hacking device. I don’t know who I would listen to, but I assure you I would come up with scintillating news about grocery shopping and the most recent episode of Glee. I promised my editor that I would listen to thousands of calls (but not his). I guaranteed juicy stories that would make at least lemonade if not a pina colada. His not-so-subtle response confirms that this newspaper is more ethical than Murdoch’s 168-year-old, multi-million dollar publication.

News of the World should have been put out of its misery long ago. Murdoch should have fired all of his editors for the inability to group words into a reasonable sentence structure and excessive use of the “caps lock” key. And finally, Rebekah Brooks should fire her hairdresser for letting her look like the cowardly lion after his visit to the Emerald City.

No comments:

Post a Comment