BOSTON (CBS) – I’d be a wealthy man if I had five bucks for every time I’ve heard this complaint:
The news media has too much power. They can and do ignore your right to privacy, and if they turn their spotlight on you, you can be unfairly smeared. And there’s nothing we can do about it without the rest of the media screaming about freedom of the press.
That sentiment has become widespread because there’s some truth to it.
But even for the news media, there are limits, and Rupert Murdoch, the richest, most powerful media mogul of them all, has just bumped up against them.
Actually, crashed into them might be a better description.
Murdoch’s incredibly popular British tabloid The News of the World will fold this weekend after 168 years of publication because they got caught going overboard with their news-gathering techniques – way, way overboard.
Bad enough that top reporters at the News of the World were caught illegally hacking into cell phones to snoop on celebrities. That scandal had been unfolding for several years.
But just last week, it came out that Murdoch’s corporate culture had enabled grotesque efforts to manipulate the news, deleting voice mails on the cell phone of a murdered girl to juice up the story, and siphoning useful info from the cell phones of the relatives of British soldiers killed in action.
The outcry has been overwhelming enough to bring down the newspaper, and if the trail leads into the corporate hierarchy, the Murdoch empire could be at risk too.
Listen to Jon’s commentary:
Most people, I think, recognize the need for great freedom to be granted to the media in what it prints and broadcasts, and how it gathers information and with that freedom comes great power.
But with power comes responsibility, and Murdoch’s British rag failed to act responsibly by any standard.
So it’s others speaking truth to power now, and the media’s doing the listening instead of the talking.
Will wonders never cease?
You can listen to Keller At Large on WBZ News Radio every weekday at 7:55 a.m. and 12:25 p.m. You can also watch Jon on WBZ-TV News.