The press and TV are engrossed in the “Scandal” of phone hacking
It was the lead item on the BBC News at ten last night, taking precedence over other more trivial things, like millions of people starving to death in Africa.
I find the outrage rather hypocritical. The News of The World is a very popular “News Comic” with a readership exceeding 7 Million people.
Take a look at the online version, it is hard to find a single headline that is not about the private life of some celebrity. Do the public really think that these celebrities chat to journalists willingly to make their dirtiest private secrets public? Celebrity scandal is by definition, an invasion of the private life of a celebrity, exposing things they would rather not have exposed.
Before phone hacking came along journalists would attempt to trick people into spilling the beans, bribe their friends and family to tell all, or stalk their victims at a distance with long range zoom lenses or hidden cameras and microphones.
If people are morally outraged at this current invasion of privacy, why were they not morally outraged by the previous methods of invading privacy?
If it is not invading privacy per se that outrages people, then perhaps it is the use of “technology” to do it ?
But a long range zoom lens or a hidden camera is just as much “technology” as is a telephone. We don’t seem outraged by the use of CCTV technology to record our private business, or the use of mobile phones to track our movements.
The whole moral outrage appears to be ungrounded in any principle other than crowd hysteria and the current focus of the unthinking mob.
The real danger of the phone hacking “scandal” is that this ill considered public outrage is used by the government to introduce draconian legislation to “protect privacy” that will inevitably damage genuine investigative news reporting.
The sort of reporting that exposed Watergate, the corruption in FIFA and countless other political scandals and criminal conspiracies.
Corrupt politicians and public officials everywhere must be rubbing their hands with anticipation at the thought that their murky activities may soon be hidden from the public behind a wall of legal protection.