There was an old joke told in the seventies about an Irishman who saves a child from a marauding bear. Having physically wrestled the bear to the ground and despite receiving horrific injuries the Irishman eventually vanquishes the bear. By pure coincidence a journalist from a British tabloid happens to witness the incident. He walks up to the man and takes his photograph with the dead and bloodied bear beside him and congratulating him tells him that he will make the front page of the paper as a great British hero. The Irishman informs the journalist that he is Irish, not British and would like this to be corrected. The journalist eyes him up coldly and saying nothing, leaves. The following morning the Irishman opens his paper to see the picture of himself standing over the bear, the child crying in her mothers arms, and a headline reading:
‘Irish Terrorist Butchers Child’s Pet Bear!’
The manipulative and intrusive way in which editors and journalists at the News of the World conducted their business will leave very few (except those same well paid journalists) shedding any tears at the demise of that paper. The practise of rummaging around in the rubbish of others to generate sales of a newspaper is not one solely confined to the News of the World. Apparently this method of news gathering has become standard practise for many tabloids and perhaps some broadsheets too. The editors and journalists who engaged in this method of journalism saw the hacking of peoples phones as a logical extension of the practise and paid little attention to the rights of those whose private lives and tragedies they sought to monetise in the form of newspaper sales. They showed little sympathy or care for the grieving families who had lost loved ones through murder, war, and misfortune and ruthlessly exploited their grief to make money. Time and time again these journalists and editors held themselves up as pillars of the community hell bent on outing corruption and crime, yet all they exposed was the grubby and seedy business which modern day journalism has become and the hypocrisy of those same newspaper editors and hacks who felt that they could break the law and engage in criminal activity in order to make a few shillings. Apart from a few notable exceptions one has to further question organisations like the National Union of Journalists, the Press Council and other editors and journalists in the more respectable newspapers who allowed these criminal journalists and editors to act in the main without any criticism or calling to account. For evil to triumph it takes good people to do nothing.
Last Sunday’s closure of the News of the World was a good day for those interested in truth and justice and a bad day for those grubby and greedy hacks who never let the truth get in the way of a good story.
I for one, feel that the end of the world has made the world a better place.