If you are like me, and I’m sure you are, then you no doubt enjoy sausage. Personally, I am a fan of the garlic turkey sausage par-boiled, then grilled. Regardless of how you enjoy ground meat in its tubular form I suspect that we all share one common assertion. None of us wants to know how sausage is made! This is a common analogy, but I would suggest you remember it as we romp together through the following paragraphs.
It is almost impossible to avoid the print and televisual coverage of the scandal surrounding Rupert Murdoch’s News of the World tabloid. Murdoch’s News Corp is a massive empire that encompasses Fox News, Harper Collins, 20th Century Fox Studios, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Post, and other major British newspapers.
The controversy revolves around the employment of individuals and journalists who “hacked” into the cell phone messages of members of the Royal Family, family members of fallen British soldiers, and a teenage murder victim. There are also allegations that the News of the World bribed police officials for information. Thus far, the continuously expanding “brou-ha-ha” has cost several high-ranking editors, and police officials their jobs. You don’t need me, gentle and well-informed reader to feed you the details. Ignore the details. What everyone wants to know is, “who is to blame?”
Well of course, every journalist who is not employed by News Corp is piling onto Mr. Murdoch, and his son, not mention Rebekah Brooks, Andy Coulson, Piers Morgan, and probably even the receptionist last employed by the News of the World in 1969.
It gets better, which is another way of saying it gets a whole lot worse. The global fraternity of “journalists” is collectively near the point of total nervous breakdown. There is a steady stream of self-serving, and self-justifying op-ed pieces defending the sacred calling that was “apparently” sullied by a few rogues and scallywags. As if.
Before I spell it all out for you, let me provide another framework you to hang your context on. I’m going to paraphrase from the brilliant political satire Yes Prime Minister, with a Canadian format. “The Canadian media? Let me tell you about the Canadian media! The KW Record is read by people who don’t care who runs the country, the Toronto Star is read by those who think someone else should run the country, the Globe and Mail is read by those who own the country, and the Ottawa Citizen is read by the wives of those who do run the country. And the Toronto Sun? Their readers don’t care who runs the country as long as she has large breasts!”
Don’t turn away now dear reader; you knew where this was going. You, and millions like you were shocked and appalled when you found out how your media ‘sausage’ content was actually made. For years you consumed the constant feed of print, and pictorial infotainment, and begged for more. You demanded more boobs, more bad guys, and did not bother to ask where it came from. I have yet to see, in any major print daily paper in this country any outcry over the publication, in the Toronto Sun, of the Duchess of Cambridge’s butt a few weeks ago.
If you want to know who is to blame for all of the scandal, bribery, and dirty tricks alleged to have happened At News of the World, (and no doubt here in Canada if you only knew), you have only to look into a mirror. The so-called “journalistic media” is not to blame.
McLuhan got it completely wrong. The medium is not the message. The message is the content. The content is crap, and you, dear reader asked for it.
With some exceptions, our print media is nothing more than random ink stains on paper, and our televisual media consists of painted faces in a plastic box. Now that you know how your media “content” is made perhaps now is the time to ask for something better.