When the news broke about the extent of the phone hacking on Monday, that NOTW had been hacking Millie Dowler's phone after her "disappearance" and had not only listened in on her voicemails but had deleted them to make room for more, the reaction was, quite rightly, of disgust all round. By the end of the week this seemed small in comparison to the accusations of bribes and cover ups, along with the alleged hacking of phones of dead soldier's families, 7/7 victims and the parents of the girls killed in 2002 by Ian Huntley, among others. Celebrities were clearly the tip of the iceberg. The scandal of the NOTW is not limited to just the paper, but to the system of government and police itself, as it seems that efforts were made to not investigate these claims earlier, even though they were known or suspected. Even the Prime Minister himself is incredibly tainted by this, with his connection to Andy Coulson (his previous spin doctor and personal friend) and his and his wife's close friendship with Rebekah Brooks.
Britain's been here before; the revelations of the extent of MPs expenses and how they exploited the system for their own gain rocked the media and the public. But not a lot actually came of it. A few MPs were charged, some sentenced, but overall the only major change was that we became more vigilant of what MPs use their expenses for, and for the expenses themselves to be limited (a bit). This time though the scandal has hit something far deeper, and though public anger was loud and obvious about the expenses scandal, this time it's positively vitriolic. Which is ironic as "the public" have their own part to play in this mess. Anyone who has bought a paper for the revelations about celebrities private lives has had a role in this. The public demand for more details, more sauce, more, well, scandal is why papers had to find a way to give them what they wanted. It in no way detracts from the heinous actions of the NOTW, but I'd hope that those who buy tabloids and gossip magazines consider this when they make their purchase. I have zero expectation that they will but I can hope all the same. (I was amused to see people on the London Underground this week, reading The Sun about the scandal - I wondered how many realise they're giving money to the same people who were behind the hacking in the first place.)
|Imagine him with a black cloak on, hood over his head and he really does look like Emperor Palpatine.|
|The Emperor and the Emperor's Hand. (Star Wars reference, not a sex thing. Sicko)|
Lastly, I want to put a request out there, one I want anyone who agrees that Murdoch Sr., Murdoch Jr. and Brooks should be held to account and should not continue to be successful in light of what they are implicated in. Don't buy any product from News International or News Corp. Not because everyone who works for them is evil and not even because the services deserve or should be shut down. But because the only language Murdoch Sr. understands is money. If he starts losing money left and right over this he may stop protecting those around him who do not deserve to be protected. This isn't even about phone hacking anymore; it's about corrupting the democratic process, looking the other way while basic rights are ignored and flaunted, and thinking you're too big/important to be held to the same standards as everyone else. And it may also limit his power and influence, which has obviously gone on for far too long.