Sunday, July 17, 2011

The Media Lottery Draws the Golden Ticket

The allegations of phone hacking and other serious privacy invasions that are being revealed in connection with various news organizations within the Rupert Murdoch media empire are part of the media atrocities that were decried in the Monster of Perugia chapter entitled "The Media Lottery – Fifteen Minutes of Guilt".  The News of the World, Murdoch's flagship tabloid, has closed forever, and the scandal is now spreading to other parts of his vast media holdings like cheap newspaper ink.

Just today, Rebekah Brooks, the former head of Murdoch's media operations in Britain, was arrested for questioning.

It even appears that political leaders, Scotland Yard, and various other police organizations were involved in aiding the hacking of private information of victims of crimes, including the 9/11 attacks and the abduction of a 13 year old British girl. News reporters actually deleted the girl's voice mails when her inbox became full, while she was missing, so that they could hear, and publish, more private messages from her friends and family. This gave her family hope that she was out there somewhere, listening to the messages herself – hopes that were savaged when it turned out that she had been murdered.

The News wasn't one of the worst papers as far as attacking Amanda was concerned, it merely sensationalized a terrible situation. It remains to be seen how many such attacks, if any, were launched against the family and friends of Amanda Knox. It remains for these investigations, on both sides of the Atlantic, to proceed and for trials to be conducted to determine before the guilt or innocence of these members of the tabloid media can be established. But these are clear and present indications of the devastating and unconscionable effects of extreme tabloid journalism on the lives of innocent people. 

Excerpt from Chapter Nine of The Monster of Perugia – The Framing of Amanda Knox
"In Shirley Jackson’s classic short story The Lottery, the residents of a small town participate in a lottery that no one seems eager to win.
“Bobby Martin had already stuffed his pockets full of stones...”
The entire town was involved, as if it were a square dance or a Halloween party but with less enthusiasm.
“The (men) stood together, away from the pile of stones in the corner, and their jokes were quiet and they smiled rather than laughed.”
The lottery slips were drawn from an old black box made from shards of an even older black box.
“Mr. Summers spoke frequently to the villagers about making a new box, but no one liked to upset even as much tradition as was represented by the black box.”
A brand new lottery box has finally been made, and it’s a beauty. It doesn’t have sides or a top, but it was surely built from shards of black boxes going back to ancient times. It is vast, and varied and even less fathomable than that ancient, black box. We’ll call it the “Media Lottery.”
When you won the lottery in Jackson’s story, your fellow townspeople stoned you to death. When you win the Media Lottery, the outcome isn’t much better.
To see how the Media Lottery works, let’s play a little game. To keep it from becoming personal, we’ll leave you out of it. The Media Lottery has selected a winner: Your daughter. You play Parent; they place Ace Journalists. This is the object of the game: Let’s see if the Ace Journalists can write articles full of lies claiming that your daughter has a wild sex life and murderous psychological makeup faster than you can refute them."

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