Phone hacking is for criminals, not journalists
by Franklin Clark, Reporter -- fclark@cadizrecord.com
Jul 13, 2011 | 12 12 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Perhaps there has never been a time when journalism was a paragon of ethics, but it sometimes seems like the profession’s ethics problem is worse than it’s ever been.

This time, however, the story comes from across the pond.

You might have heard of the News of the World, but if not, it was a tabloid paper that ran for 168 years but in turned into the equivalent of the National Enquirer in recent decades after being bought by Rupert Murdoch. The comparison is not a favourable one.

The gist of the story is that as many as 7,000 people have reportedly had their cell phones hacked into, from royalty to politicians and celebrities, but also fallen soldiers, victims of the July 7, 2005 attacks and a child who went missing and was later found dead.

In that later example, the reporter deleted some messages to free up space, giving the parents hope that she was still alive when she wasn’t.

And private investigators might have even tried to access the cell phone messages of 9/11 victims.

This has apparently been going on for years or even a decade or more, and until now politicians have been afraid to confront the issue, possibly because of Rupert Murdoch’s vast influence. He owns much of the media over there, and quite a few media outlets over here, too.

If any or all of these allegations are true, it seems evident there was a culture at the now-defunct newspaper that asked its reporters to break the law to get the latest scoop, even if that scoop has to do with which celebrity is with which celebrity.

Woodward and Bernstein didn’t need to break any laws to uncover Watergate, so why you would need to break the law to get the latest watercooler gossip is beyond me.

To those of you who ask what I have to hide, given my anti-phone hacking stance: nothing, but that doesn’t mean I want millions of people reading about my daily schedule.

***

On a much more local front, the temperatures are rising up to almost 100 degrees this week, and yesterday caused a Kentucky Transportation Cabinet employee to almost collapse from heat exhaustion.

As a result, the county opened a cooling center at the Trigg County Recreation Complex Convention Center Monday and yesterday. If it cools off, it probably won’t be open today, but for more information, call 522-8459.

Anyone working outside should take frequent breaks in the shade or in an air conditioned building, and should do the most strenuous work in the early morning and evening, according to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

They also recommend drinking plenty of water, wearing loose-fitting clothing and looking for symptoms of heat stroke or heat exhaustion, and calling 9-1-1 in either case.

Franklin Clark is a reporter for the Cadiz Record and can be reached by email at fclark@cadizrecord.com.
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