Corruption in the Media

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Abstract

This is an invited article written for the Philosophers Magazine in the UK. The article explores the notion of media corruption and illustrated through discussion of the the "News of the World" phone-hacking case. The storm that continues to engulf News Corporation, as a result of the News of the World phone-hacking fallout, and more recently the Sun, is turning into the perfect storm, a 'perfect injustice'. There's a sense in which Plato anticipated this, foresaw what happens when power, deception, secrecy and the abuse of trust converge. In the Republic, Glaucon asks Socrates who could be expected to behave justly if presented with the power to disappear and do whatever one liked without fear of detection and punishment. The Myth of Gyges is about corruption: a condition of total deception by which the unjust make themselves appear just and proper. Gyges used the ring to take the place of a king. He used its power to gain authority, a position of trust, and to commit crimes that served his interest rather than the common good, under the pretence of justice and propriety. He did this with total impunity. One might see parallels with the News of the World phone-hacking scandal ' it also has all the makings of 'perfect injustice'. A powerful news organisation in a position of trust whose professional role is to inform the public on matters of public interest abused that role. Rather than engaging in the dissemination of information that is the legitimate and expected role of the media, the News of the World secretly engaged in stealing information from unsuspecting citizens, using the most nefarious means. It was both illegal but more importantly, unethical. Worse still, and this is when it becomes unconscionable, it was corrupt.
Original languageEnglish
Type733 word article, 'The Philosophers'Magazine'
PublisherThe Philosophers'Magazine
Place of PublicationUK
Edition41091
Publication statusPublished - 2012

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