The last week has been very interesting in the media – on Monday, The News of the World was having it’s name dragged through the mud because evidence showed it had illegally gained access to the voicemail and phone records of people. Now, you would immediately think ‘celebrity’ but on this occasion no; the first name to be mentioned was that of Millie Dowler, the school girl kidnapped and murdered during 2002. We then went on to hear how the same had been done to relatives of the 7/7 London bombings and soliders killed in the Middle-East.
As one can only imagine, this story has exploded and people are outraged – rightfully so in my opinion. Interestingly, social media is also showing it’s power since the amount being said about this on Twitter is phenominal. The matter was also hotly debated on BBC Question Time on Thursday. It is very clear that the public are out for justice and I cannot see the story going away for some time. But, in the midst of all of this, do the British public also need to ask themselves if they should take a portion (however small) of the blame? I think so. Taking Murdoch, the Met and Rebekah Brooks out of the discussion, whilst the press might start off illicit activity to get a story, they keep doing it because people buy the papers to read the stories.
We’ve all done it – been in WH Smith (or similar) and noticed a ‘fascinating’ headline on a tabloid or magazine of similar taste. The scanalous way these headlines are written draw people in and whilst some of the British population might sit their shaking their heads at the dis-taste of it all, the fact of the matter is they bought the paper and buy it again the next day / week. Journalist have an awful lot of power to twist or even make the news. However, that power is worthless if we don’t give it any support.
Unfortunately, an awful lot of the British population only read the tabloid newspapers and continue to be mis-informed about what goes on in the world. In a culture of reality TV shows and celebrity obsession, it is human nature to love a scandal. You can liken it to when people drive past a car crash – there is sick-side to humanity which causes a lot of people to slow down and have a look. In my view, we all need to start ask ourselves "Why do I want to read that?" and that includes things such as ‘Heat’ magazine. The only way these companies will truely learn is if we show them we don’t want to read these stories. If we can’t show them that, what does that say about us?
(For information, I don’t read the tabloids…!)