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Sunday, November 24, 2013

The Trial of the late News of the World

The be hoisted on one's own Petard: To be self affected by one's own schemes as used against others.

I was not a reader of The News of the World. I picked up a copy many years ago because of the headline, and having leafed through the entire paper I was left so disgusted that I determined there and then that I would not support it. I never bought another copy, nor did I ever read anything from it.

So, you could say that I am not a friend of that particular publication, nor of sensationalist publications generally. It seemed to me from my one and only reading that the policy of the paper was to dig the dirt and to serve it up in the most sensational manner. If lives were ruined partially through their involvement in getting the news out, I suppose, so be it. The trouble with that approach is that it becomes necessary to reach ever further to create more sensational headlines, and that has led to the situation as it appears today.

It is a flaw in the nature of we humans that when information comes to us in the form of gossip that it is all that more delicious, so it was especially stunning at the very start to have the allegation that one married lady editor had been involved in a long standing love affair with another editor, although to me I was not surprised. When she was first shown I thought what a beautiful and ravishing woman. I felt fairly certain that she was the object of someone's desire, although the man she is said to have held as her lover was not my suspect.

As the daily unfolding of allegations and information takes place, I imagine the former subscribers to the paper are locked into the trial as though it were a soap opera. I don't have any sympathy for those charged, and were it not such a serious matter I might think it entertainment.

There are some fundamentals that should be borne in mind: the reason that press freedom is so important is to allow it to expose to public scrutiny the workings of government and major corporations. Without the searchlight of the press, people might be tempted to do all sorts of things harmful to the public. Consequently, to have the press and government enjoying close social relationships is inherently wrong, or to have the expectation of going from the press into a high class government job has the wrong ring to it.

The News of the World pandered to our more base and salacious instincts, and so it was all about the money rather than anything noble, such as integrity. In my view the world is a better place without that publication, and would be even better off without the whole genre.

Copyright (c)  2013   Eugene Carmichael