Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Phone Hacks, Privacy, Pie-Throwing, and a Ranting Lemming

The Lemming's posted about a pillar of British journalism, upholder of the peoples' right to know, and inspiration to spunky girl reporters, before:
Apparently, the Information Age equivalent of dumpster diving isn't considered quite cricket in the U.K. - and may be called skipping on the other side of the Atlantic.

Examination of this serious matter - in the land that brought Parliament, police without guns, and Monty Python's Flying Circus, to the world - has gotten to the pie-throwing stage.


"Murdoch attacker is a 'renowned left-wing activist who had targeted Barclays and Vodafone' "
MailOnline (July 19, 2011)

Pie Throwing: Are Shape-Shifting Space Aliens Involved?

"The pie-thrower who attacked Rupert Murdoch is a renowned activist who is one of the founding members of a left-wing protest group.

"Comedian Jonnie Marbles - real name Jonathan May-Bowles - has been involved in protests in the past, it has been claimed.

"Moments before he carried out the attack he wrote on Twitter: 'It is a far better thing that I do now than I have ever done before #splat'...."


Pie-throwing seems to be more a matter of British culture than British governance - and is a reminder that communities with a population over one probably won't be particularly homogeneous. Which doesn't mean what you may think.

Transparency time - or, the Lemming, unmasked!

If you follow this blog - honestly, don't you have anything better to do with your time?

Where was the Lemming? Transparency. Revelations.

If you follow this blog, you're probably aware that the Lemming is - human. A middle-aged fellow, named Brian Gill, living in a small town in central Minnesota. Which is, at the moment, hot enough to melt butter. Inside. With the air conditioner going. Six months from now - and that's another topic.

The Lemming is "apathetic," in the sense of not going ballistic over whatever intellectual fad is in fashion at the moment - the Lemming's seen too many 'and we're all gonna die' predictions come and go to work up any real enthusiasm.

Although it seems that cancer may cause cell phones - and it may be a conspiracy:
And 'everyone' knows who's really behind the CIA, Wall Street, and the British Royal family: the shape-shifting, space-alien, lizard men! In fact, the Lemming's read that British royalty are those very space aliens who run the world! It's a 'conspiracy,' of course. Or something.

Not that the Lemming believes it.

It's more likely that space aliens would be fairly easy to spot. And might work openly. As reporters.

Standards, News Corp, and Transcript Highlights

"Transcript Highlights: Brooks Gives Evidence "
(July 19, 2011)

"Former News Of The World editor Rebekah Brooks follows Rupert and James Murdoch in being questioned by MPs over the phone-hacking scandal. Here are transcript highlights from the hearing.

"News Corp chairman Rupert Murdoch and his son James, the News International chairman earlier faced the Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee.

"It is made up of chairman John Whittingdale (JV), Therese Coffey (TC), Damian Collins (DC), Philip Davies (PD), Paul Farrelly (PF), Alan Keen (AK), Louise Mensch (LM), Adrian Sanders (AS), Jim Sheridan (JS) and Tom Watson (TW).

"Rupert Murdoch is referred to as RM and his son James JM. Rebekah Brooks is referred to as RB.

"JM: It is a matter of great regret, my father's, and everybody at News Corp and these are standards that these actions do not live up to, the standards that our company tries to live up to all around the world.

"JM: It is our intention to put these things right, to make sure they don't happen again.

"RM: This is most humble day of my life.

"JM: The company relied on both the police having closed the investigation and the repeated assertions that there was no new evidence for them to reopen their investigation...."

Seriously, (allegedly) hacking into phones and (allegedly) publishing very personal, very private, information from families who had already been stressed - isn't, in the Lemming's opinion, nice. Or, more to the point, necessary.

Even if it was in the cause of selling more newspapers. Or 'the public's right to know,' or whatever.

This collision of old-school journalism, Information-Age technology, and folks who don't admire Investigative Reporters (who save the world from corruption and five o'clock shadow) quite as much as we're told we did, back in the 'Good Old Days.'

Remember - these are the opinions of a ranting Lemming, who remembers the 'Good Old Days.,' And never wants to go back.

"Humble" - Now that the Scandal's Known - And It's Not Their Fault?

"Murdochs deny blame"
Karen Kissane, The Sydney Morning Herald (July 20, 2011) (It's 'tomorrow' there now)

"THE most powerful media mogul in the world described it as 'the most humble day' of his life. But Rupert Murdoch and his son, James, have told Britain's parliament that they had not been aware of any wrongdoing at News International.

"And when asked if he bore ultimate responsibility for the phone hacking scandal, the 80-year-old Mr Murdoch answered flatly 'no.'

"Instead he said responsibility laid with those he trusted to run the business and 'the people they trusted'...."

The Lemming's a little sympathetic with Murdoch and Murdoch. Outfits as big as News International are - big. It's possible for folks between the top and bottom of the organization chart to get - ah, creative - with journalistic integrity, strict observance of the law, and common decency.

After all, they're journalists - higher beings, beyond good and evil. Sort of like doctors. Some of them. No, wait. That's Nietzsche. And yet another topic.

Back to Murdoch and Murdoch. The Lemming thinks they may really have had no idea of what was going on in their business. Things have changed quite a bit in the last eight decades, particularly in any field that deals with information.

The Lemming's age is about midway between the Murdochs - younger and elder. Thanks in part to a remarkably checkered job history, the Lemming noticed the death of Disco, end of the Cold War, and advent of 'social media.'

Someone running a 'media empire' probably heard of those things - but may not have quite understood just how much had changed. And that's another topic, for another blog:
Back in Apathetic Lemming of the North - somewhat-related posts:

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