Friday, July 08, 2011
A Sad Day for Journalism, Voicemail Hacking Ends Careers
Los Angeles, CA—The shockwaves were felt everywhere because media giant, Rupert Murdoch shut down, News of the World. It seems that this sad turn of events happened because some overly aggressive and unethical reporters got and used information from hacked voicemail. This is a crime nearly everywhere in the civilized world. Journalists committing crimes to gather news casts a dark shadow on the entire industry. For my media friends in L.A. this is no small event.
Murdoch felt this conduct was so egregious he took it upon himself to end publication of this outrageously successful news organization. I can’t imagine the damage done to the workers and their families that were not a part of this troublesome scheme. They are all apparently only going to receive 90 day severance packages.
Nowhere on earth is the competition between news organizations stronger than in the UK. The competition is nearly always healthy and important in our civilization. Without a strong and observant media, government officials would never have to answer to anyone. A strong and free press is far more important than most people realize.
Spending time in Geneva, Switzerland with fellow journalists and documentary film makers this spring at the Human Rights Film Festival was a real eye opener for me. The journalists I met there routinely risked their lives around the globe reporting on government human rights abuses. They have all exposed horrible government secrets. The acts of a few rogues in the UK cannot be allowed tarnish the reputations of the thousands of honorable reporters, producers, photo journalists and news directors.
Strong, trustworthy and reliable journalists are needed to keep us informed about critical news happenings that affect our lives.
We are at a crossroads in America where the ruling administration has handed out uncountable billions calling it “stimulus”. I call it, abject corruption. Government needs watching more than ever. There is only one news organization that is watching our government these days and that’s Fox News. It is sad that they have no real competitor in that regard.
You don’t need to go outside the law to get information like those pretenders did at News of the World. You do have to pound shoe leather, the public records and lawful sources to expose crime and corruption.
I hope the competition always thrives in the news business and that reporters never act as burglars when they gather news.