Friday, 5 August 2011

A scandal and the judgment over an media empire

There is now 'silence' in the mainstream publications over the Murdoch scandal except for the latest developments from the ongoing inquiry. There has been no more reportage, analyses or comments about the so-called "tabloid empire being threatened" or criticism of the tabloid culture or "the madness of the moguls" as in the first week of the scandal. Are they probably waiting for the clearer decision from the inquiry or is the story no longer 'hot'? It is by no means that a wrong thing or an unethical action needs to be judged with a proper count, however such a scandal has presented a pretext for criticism of Murdoch's empire in particular, and tabloid media in general.

That would be unfair as it cannot equate the scandal with the tabloid identity.

Tabloid culture

Emmanuel Tchividjian, Ethics officer of Ruder Finn, states in his blog that Murdoch's tabloids are based on the people's interest in trivia, gossip and sensationalism and such tabloids are very popular across the world. This is demonstrated by News of the World having a circulation of 2.6 million before its close.

"Media is a reflection of society and I believe that we get the media we deserve. Such publications would not exist unless people purchase them", said the officer, "that such craving is not the sign of the good mental health of a society".

So, what could be done to make a better life? Is it simply to boycott and exclude the 'rotten apple'?
If the audience is considered as a factor of credibility, the weekly circulation of News of the World or any other tabloid has demonstrated their influence in society. This means that the criticism over these kinds of publications is indeed a judgment over the quality and culture of the majority of readers. In other words, there should be a reform in social ethics instead of criticising their reflective mirror.

A great bad man

Murdoch has many enemies as a result of his success; among them are probably those from mainstream publications. 

Conrad Black, in Financial Times' Opinion Column, likened Murdoch to Napoleon - a great bad man. This is not an exaggeration given his power and influence on some politicians and governments. Not many leaders from the mainstream press could do such a thing, not because of money but the audience. Murdoch's power is his audience and logically, politicians need him to influence public opinion. Politics and audience are the key factors for him to practice his power and to stand firm in the face of "free-for-all" fighting, with the phone hacking scandal as a pretext.
In short, it should be fair to judge an important subject in media world.


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