April 05, 2012, 5:03 PM — AARgh!
Another major British media empire has gotten caught with its hand in the till.
Do you remember News of the World? A tabloid so racy, so slanted, so full of irresponsible gossip, so thick with misinformation that no genuine fact could survive a full news cycle if it were accidentally caught there overnight?
Do you remember a few months ago when News of the World caught such a huge pile of [negative response] after admitting it spent the past decade hacking the voice mail of every phone in England to turn up juicy gossip? Remember the scandal that was so intense NOTW's parent company had to shut it down completely? Even though the parent company was News Corp., whose reputation for the sterling virtues is such that it needed hardly any changes to model for the evil global media empire in the James Bond flick Tomorrow Never Dies?
If hacking voice mails is so grave a sin that even the most brazen power-broking, celebrity-baiting, sleaze-peddling imitator of journalism in the world is hoist by its own petard when it gets busted, you'd think every other news organization without a death wish would steer clear of that particular technique, wouldn’t you? Or at least not defend it if it turned out you'd done something similar?
You would not. Not if you were Sky News, the 24-hour satellite news channel that is England's answer to CNN.
Today the British Guardian newspaper broke the story that that Sky News editors had gave permission for a reporter to get illegal access to the online email accounts of the two central figures in a four-year-old insurance fraud scandal.
What's worse, Sky editors are defending the decision as being of such great importance to the British public that it justifies their one tiny little step across the line between honest journalism and felonious hackery.