Monday, July 25, 2011

Why News of the World (probably) Won't Happen Here

Columbia Journalism Review:

The Wall Street Journal’s special committee on editorial integrity (true, rather hapless as oversight bodies go ) felt compelled to assure readers this morning that hacking and bribery do not, repeat not, take place even at my old paper, perish the thought.
But, actually, the answer is no, you won’t see a NotW-style scandal unfurling here anytime soon.
The first thing to keep in mind is the sheer scale of NotW-gate—rampant criminal activity on an institutional scale, an entire newsroom running amok, with, as we’re learning, active participation of top editors, including Andy Coulson and Rebekah Brooks (who herself told Parliament of paying police for information, before saying she couldn’t remember actual instances). On top of this, NotW includes senior News Corp. figures playing key roles in keeping the crimes under wraps, including Les Hinton who told Parliament he had checked thoroughly and found it was only a single reporter, and James Murdoch, now deputy COO, who authorized payments to hacking victims and was well-briefed on what it was about, despite what he told Parliament. (For a nice summary of #hackgate sins, see Chittum.)

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