Whose news priorities?

Thanks to @NickofEynsham and to @maggidawn for pointing me towards this CNN report of a cartoon in The Times (the Times site is paywalled). This is a photo of the cartoon.

Now this cartoon has a valid point to make. UK news priorities over the past few weeks have focussed heavily on the phone-hacking scandal that has surrounded the Murdoch-controlled News Corp, British politicians and the Metropolitan police.  And this has been to the detriment of stories such as the famine in both East and West Africa, and even the financial crisis affecting the weaker economies of the Eurozone. Others have commented on this, especially Phil’s Treehouse who commented both on Africa and on the Euro Crisis.

Now I agree that these two stories, but especially the African famine, need to be given an even higher profile in the UK media. People need to be stirred to act. It would be great if some of the moral outrage generated by the allegations that Milly Dowler’s phone was hacked were to be channelled into outrage that such a famine has been allowed to happen in our 21st century world and into determination to do something positive to address the situation.

HOWEVER, besides being a rather tasteless cartoon in the first place, there is something desperate about a Murdoch-controlled newspaper trying to deflect attention elsewhere. I am quite sure that Milly Dowler’s family, aome of the victims of the London bombings and their families, and others whose phones and voicemail boxes have allegedly been tampered with have also had “a bellyful of phone-hacking.” But it is certainly not yet “time to move on” with so many issues as yet unresolved.

Having been used to determining what makes news, this may come as something of a shock to the Murdochs and News Corp, but when you become the subject of the news through unethical and illegal behaviour, it is no longer your prerogative to tell the rest of us where our interests and values should lie. Had you co-operated with earlier enquiries as fully as you claimed at the time, had you not sought to close ranks around your senior executives, had you been determined to clean up your act, even at the expense of relinquishing some of your influence, then this could have been over much, much quicker.

And finally, as @AnnaHolmes tweeted “the media/public can walk and chew gum at the same time. They can talk about hacking *and* famine.”