Thursday, 21 July 2011

Summer Hacking

It’s been a while, I’m sure you’ve noticed…or at the very least you’ve counted your blessings at having been spared my usual weekly digest of complaint-ridden drivel. The reason for my prolonged abstinence is down to what we have termed “Operation Total Nightmare” in our house – that is to say that we have both been in full time work, rising at silly O’clock and going to bed at stupid O’clock, whilst dealing with a chest infection that has been kindly passed around the house (including the little person), working late into the evening, whilst juggling a variety of other tasks, stretching from the mundane to the ad-hoc, such as constructing a garden fence and installing a stair gate designed by a deranged clown with no engineering skills to speak of…

Anyway, finally the summer holidays are upon us and with it a chance to breath. Given this, I felt I should poke my head inside the good ship blog and toss you a few token phrases before I disappear to bed for a day or two; and I suppose there is nowhere better than the hacking scandal with which to start.

I have to admit to being thoroughly bored of the whole thing already. Not to sound puritanical, hemp-munching, or Bob-Geldoff-esque, I’m quite surprised that the papers have not spent more time covering the impending famine in Somalia, or ongoing air strikes in Libya, but then the media are what they are and some things never change. My whole issue with this is that the focus seems to be on Rupert Murdoch, a variety of NOTW editors and the role that politicians play in the media (or rather the influence the media has over politicians).

Now, you have to ask yourself, if Gordon Brown, a man who loathed the right wing press, was prepared to invite Rebekah Brooks to his home for a slumber party, dine privately with her and attend her wedding simply in order not to risk further damaging his reputation in the tabloids, what the state of the media’s influence over the country is? Is it any wonder that David Cameron invited Andy Coulson to become his Director of Communications? Or that Tony Blair based the success of his first two terms on the spinning power of the biggest weasel of them all?

The reason these men of power seek the favour of the press is because the press can make or break them. Always have done – always will do. Yet, why does this continue to happen? It is not down to the responsibility of Rupert Murdoch or News International. It is down to the general public. People buy papers. People buy tat and want to read about tat. They soak up scandal with greedy relish. They line the pockets of journalists and expect bigger and bigger scoops in response. The general public should be the ones ashamed of themselves here.

Would there have been such a furore if phone hacking had been used to uncover the activities of a child molester, terrorist or murderer? No, of course not. Whilst there is a fine line between good and bad, worthy and not-so-worthy, do we really want to place our faith in the media to decide on this? Are they our moral guardians? Or is it actually a case of double standards.

There is a simple solution to this. Stop buying newspapers. Think for yourself and allow politicians room to breathe so that can make or break their careers on their own merits. Concentrate on proper stories and not scandal. Don’t build up celebrities in the first place. Don’t be dictated to. Don’t…oh, you get what I’m on about…