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Massachusetts Liberal

Observations on politics, the media and life in Massachusetts and beyond from the left side of the road.

Saturday, July 09, 2011

Destroying journalism to save it?

Let me get this straight: The Boston Globe thinks Rupert Murdoch did the right thing closing News of the World to contain a burgeoning phone-hacking scandal?
Murdoch’s decision to close the tabloid is an extreme response, but one that was necessary.
Perhaps the Globe's editorial board should read the work of its mother ship before suggesting that journalism ethics demand killing a publication instead of treating the disease:
...the decision was nearly four months in the making, and was as much an effort to shed jobs and save money in a beleaguered industry and shift resources to broadcasting as it was a response to the outcry over the scandal’s new revelations...
The Globe did get it right that Murdoch's decision "may have had more to do with politics than with preserving journalistic integrity" since it is hard to see where NOTW or the rest of the Murdoch empire has integrity in the first place.

Consorting with politicians is the modus operandi of News Corp., both across the pond and here in the United States. And it's not just politicians with whom Murdoch feels a conservative kinship. He curries favor with anyone who he thinks may be valuable to his business interests.

No, the solution to the ethics stench in Britain is not to shutter the paper and toss out 200 employees. It requires removing the "leaders" who directed or condoned invasions of privacy and paying off police for tips and details.

That means Rebekah Brooks, a "close friend" of British Prime Minister David Cameron, who displayed unparalleled audacity in sanctioning the wrong-doing then standing in front of the troops and telling them they are taking the bullet for her.

And it also includes Les Hinton, who was the head honcho at NOTW when its reporters were hacking voice mail messages.

What's that you say? Hinton is now CEO of Dow Jones & Co. and Murdoch's point man at the Wall Street Journal? Ruh-roh.

But the ultimate answer is most assuredly NOT closing a newspaper and putting its employees out on the streets. You would think a newspaper editorial board would be the first to grasp that idea.

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