This is an opinion piece and I plead the first, so if you don't like it...that's just fine by me! It's your right and I respect you for having your own opinion!
Recently the British tabloid News Of The World has be implicated in the hacking of 13 year old Milly Dowler's cell phone; she had gone missing in 2002 and was later to be found murdered. According to reports, they even erased, yes ERASED messages on Milly's voice mail, in order to make room for more, which in turn, gave Milly's parents hope that the young girl was still alive.
This isn't anything new among the British tabloids, apparently it has been going on for quite some time, where targets have included celebrities, victims of terrorism, sports stars and even the Royal Family.
But, this case has proven to be the straw that broke the camel's back with regards to this tactic which has been employed to gain information for the yellow journalism.
In case you don't know, News Of The World is part of Rupert Murdoch 's global news and entertainment empire which has ruthlessly and irresponsibly wielded it's power to create an environment which sells papers and gets people to tune it.
In all fairness he isn't the first "newspaper" man to do this, it has happened all throughout history, William Randolph Hearst is a fine example, but ever since the 2000 elections, News Corp has been a monster that has most assuredly played off of the weaknesses of humanity. Of course, he wants to make money, of course he needs people to take notice, but the polarization he and his corporation has caused has reached the breaking limit.
After the shooting of Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, people begin to really discuss the hatred which has been pushed onto main street America by extreme right wing thugs who have hijacked the Republican party, that's right, hijacked! Idiots like Glen Beck and Sarah Palin would not be household names if it weren't for Mr. Murdoch; his corporation which brings us such critically acclaimed and thought provoking shows such as Family Guy and Married With Children, also tells, via FOX NEWS, the average blue collar conservative that there are enemies at the gates of democracy.
Let us realize that for all democracies to be successful, there needs to be a difference of opinion, if there is not then a nation can easily be lured into the darkness of fascism. An example; shortly after the 911 attacks, very few had the guts to ask the questions why something like that would happen, what were the root causes, everyone fell lockstep behind the President and the ultra conservative, career politicians who were his handlers. The result? The Patriot act!
Now, whom should we blame? Should we point and accusing finger towards the previous American administration for the world's economic collapse? Legislation benefiting banks but not the citizen? The devastating wars in Iraq and Afghanistan? Or can we blame Mr. Murdoch for meddling in the internal politics of the United States Of America and Great Britain and disgracefully deceiving people who believe that the media is a corner stone of any democracy and thus may blindly trust?
Who do we blame for the rise of the insidious political group known as the Tea Party Movement which is overrunning the Republican party with fear? Do we blame ourselves for being so gullible so as to believe others when they say national healthcare is nothing more than a socialist plot; relating socialism to Soviet or Maoist style communism? Or can we point a finger at an organization that has consciously fed disinformation to the public with the same zeal as Joseph Goebells?
"Whoa wait just a minute there buddy, how the hell can you relate FOX NEWS to Nazi Germany's Ministry of Public Enlightenment and Propaganda; who the hell do you think you are!?!" Well, look at the hatred FOX news has fomented, look at the false news they have created, the rants of Glenn Beck (thankfully his own comments have put the necessary pressure on FOX to release him), the polarization it has created, and its hand in making war more palatable to the American and British public.
In the end, the fault ultimately lies with each and every one of us, for allowing ourselves to be led like lambs to the slaughter by media which have their own business agenda at heart and not truth or the well being of society.
I, myself, read and watch news from different sources in order to gain an insight into what the underlying truth may be, but there are those who will adhere to a single media outlet rather than let themselves understand the ideas and politics of those who think differently.
During the last presidential elections, I watched Fox very closely, I needed to in order to understand the fear they were feeding to people who clutched at ideals which I had hoped were long gone, or at the very least, diminished in the American psychological makeup. I understood that they manipulated the ignorance and fears of hard working folk to make both financial and political gains. And I knew it was imperative I voted so as to defeat one of the greatest threats to democracy we have seen since the McCarthy era.
When I say ignorance, don't be fooled, we are all ignorant in one form or another; for example there are those who actually believe universal health care is a form of fascism, or that increasing educational benefits is a form or socialism which will open the doors to the collapse of democratic ideals.
Right wing extremist use the term "big government" to refer to a government which takes tax dollars and puts them into social programs which seemingly only benefit the poor. What people can't seem to get into their head is that there are two types of big government; the one which places money into socially beneficial programs that provide health care and education to move the population away from manufacturing jobs (which will never return) and prepares them for an information based economy while allowing them to have a higher standard of living on service sector wages; and there is the other, far more evil big government, which wiretaps, turns average people into informants for the state (much like the Stasi) and places innocent people under surveillance while ignoring the needs of our children all in the name of national security.
If I had a choice of big government I would certainly prefer one which understands the importance of getting people, or at least their children, properly prepared for the workforce of the future and ensures a trip to the hospital for a sore throat doesn't cost a thousand dollars! If you think that price is too high, think again, I was billed a thousand dollars just to have a doctor swab my son's throat and tell me it wasn't strep.
News Corp's business practices and journalism are symptoms of the ills of our world, and even though I will be the first to stand up for the rights of anyone, and I do mean anyone, to exercise their freedoms guaranteed to them under the First Amendment of the U.S. constitution, a spotlight does need to be shown directly upon News Corp, people have to be told that they have been fed blatant disinformation, I don't mean misinformation, I mean DISINFORMATION.
This corporation has done an excellent job at both numbing American's minds with its wretched entertainment programming and manipulating people's fears through its News outlets.
Case in point, I had been speaking with a gentlemen who had served several decades in the Navy and had even seen action in Korea, he was well into his seventies working a thankless eight dollar an hour job and he would not stop ranting and raving about how Obama care would destroy America, how Fox news had said this, and how Fox news had said that.
I asked him why he was working and not enjoying his retirement, was it to keep himself busy? Was it to give him a sense of purpose? His reply was that his wife had suffered from cancer and that they had gone through their life savings, so in order to make ends meet he had to continue working a forty an hour week job. I told him; "There, don't you see? Had you had health care which was paid for by your tax dollars you could be enjoying this time with your wife." He shot back by saying that his tax dollars would go to lazy people who didn't want to work, crack heads and prostitutes. I dare say I can only guess where this point of view originated.
Again, I had to ask, "But what if your money went to my children because they had been in a serious accident, would that be worth your tax money? Because, I would gladly pay taxes knowing that you could spend the last years of your life doing things that you had always wanted to do with the person who chose you as her partner for life." I could see a glimmer in his eyes, a moment of reflection and cognizance, that opened, ever so slightly, a door onto a world which was not ruled by fear and hatred, a world where people could still enjoy a bond of fraternity with one another without having to share the same political views. I could see that for a split second I had broken Mr. Murdoch's spell...but only for a second because his next four words were: "But Fox News says..."
So, in closing, I can only hope that this case in Britain will not only keep sponsors pulling out, but also shine a bright light onto the dark world Mr. Murdoch has created around himself and his business interests; a light that will finally show to the world and in particular Americans, that Roosevelt was right; "The only thing to fear is fear itself".