The Dark Arts

A girl goes missing.

The only signs of life police find are the messages deleted from the girls cell phone.

later the girl is found dead and the sign of life was a private detective deleting messages for a newspaper look for information


Now this would make for a compelling TV show, movie, or book but instead it actually happened in England to a girl named Milly Dowler in 2002. Now Dowler is just one incident in what’s being called the Hacking scandal, where The News of the World [a UK tabloid owned by Rupert Murdoch] is being investigated for hacking phones and monitoring them for information along with other practices such as buying information from the Police. The investigation is leading to people across the Atlantic to rethink the way journalism is done.

When I started to read on this story I’m reminded a bit of Charlie Brooker’s Newswipe which looked at how journalism is done in Britain. In particular about an episode that talked about what’s called the Dark Arts, the use of private detectives, hacking phones and computers, and bribing or blackmailing for information.

Now when you read or see a story where there are people in the news business hacking phones to listen to the families of victims grieving; creating false hope in the family of a missing girl; or admitting that they bribed police officers for info its galling. But I also remember that not to long ago journalists like Jack Anderson played similar hardball while muckraking in the shadows of Washington.

This story also reminds me of the coverage of the Casey Anthony trial. There the press went over every detail and tried Anthony in the court of public opinion. And when the actual jury found her not guilty of murder, the press went over how wrong they were, but are also clamoring for an exclusive interview with Anthony, her lawyers, and the Jury.

I guess my point maybe just to point out the fact that the press has a dark side. For every piece that exposes a conspiracy there is another that gets an innocent person sent to jail. Sometimes people go to dark lengths to get the story.

Here are some links that will be of better use to you than this entry.




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