The outrage in response to The News of the World hacking scandal confuses me. Reporters were caught stealing data in cyberspace. They crossed ethical and legal lines. It’s wrong, and they should be punished, but I believe the goal was the same noble goal as is behind the ideal of an objective reporter. They weren’t fabricating the truth, they were after the truth in ways that violated privacy laws, etc.
I have long looked at Murdoch as one of the key people that contributes to our society’s decline into a Brave New World, turning news into entertainment, and thus diluting the value of truth. Opinions are more entertaining than facts. Murdoch is a great businessman because he has mastered the art of mass-producing divisive and controversial opinions.
Hacking is bad, but not evil. What is evil is the overshadowing of the little objective truth there is in our complex world by the bright lights of the latest shiny distractions the media chooses to focus on for the sake of better ratings.
So, to reiterate, I think that Murdoch and his approach to media in print and video is destructive to any hope of well-reasoned and informed debate. However, I just don’t find the latest hacking scandal at all related or comparable to the much more troubling trend of turning news into “infotainment”.
The following cartoon from the Denver Post echoes the point I’m trying to make: