Many of you- OK jokes aside- some of you, may have been wondering about the ‘phone hacking scandal.’ Why was it that as soon as the story came to light all other news seemed to disappear off the radar. Why was it that as soon as the media came under attack, it was the media itself who pushed the whole thing forward, who brought it all to our attention, who filled us in on every gruesome detail of the story.
Surely other newspapers and news shows should have been keeping the whole thing hush hush. Let he who is without sin cast the first stone and all that.
Well, to work out why the Murdoch empire seemed to have so many ‘enemies’ we don’t have to look far. Once upon a time, not that long ago Murdoch was the most powerful PR machine in the UK and across other parts of the world. Take that episode of the Simpsons, where Bart and Homer meet Murdoch in his viewing box at the Superbowl, Murdoch has the players form themselves into an eagle eye view of ‘HI RUPERT!’, remember? This is a comedic example of the very real power and influence of Murdoch, who even owns FOX itself.
Before the scandal, the Murdoch empire influenced much of day to day life in Britain. There hasn’t been an election won in this fair country for decades that didn’t have the full backing of the Murdoch press.
So is it as simple as saying that perhaps other media tycoons were jealous? That they couldn’t wait to bring Murdoch and his empire down? Perhaps. Some would argue that yes, the ‘non-Murdoch’ press in Great Britain felt somewhat stifled by the enormous media empire of Murdoch.
However the media circus that was created around the phone hacking scandal that brought Murdock’s name into disrepute has got something to do with politics. For decades politicians have had to court Murdoch and his cronies in order to successfully win the hearts and minds of the British public. For example, the Sun newspaper switched from supporting Labour in 2010 to Conservative in the run up to the election. David Cameron was later spotted unashamedly cracking open the bubbly on the day the announcement was made.
You see Cameron was sure that with the support of the highest selling newspaper in the UK he would win the election, he may as well have moved into number 10 then and there.
So when the phone hacking scandal broke in July, politicians and the non-Murdoch press rejoiced, delighted and celebrated their impending freedom from the media giant that had had them all tied up for decades. The real message, is that with all power comes responsibility, and accountability and even the most powerful cannot escape that fact.