The oddly named “News of the World” was apparently anything but. Neither “news” nor “of the world” this British tabloid abruptly folded after 168 years, rocked by a breaking scandal involving “phone hacking” — which you can hear more about throughout the media.
What brought the paper down isn’t the content — NOTW was the biggest selling English-language newspaper in the world. It didn’t close because of any moral compass or self-correcting reboot. The only thing that caused News of The World to stop the presses and cease to be is simply this: they got caught.
Many in the media will argue that scandal sells and getting the story at any cost goes with the territory. Especially in a competitive business environment.
But what if this turn of events marked the beginning of a media transformation? At first — maybe — some will over-compensate for even the slightest appearance of impropriety, perhaps even having a moratorium on malicious gossip, for at least a brief time. But how long will that last — and what, then, would take its place?
It’s hard to imagine anything really taking precedence over money. There are few things in life that wield power like money does. And, until light and goodness, hope and possibility are packaged as best-sellers, we have to wonder why and how anything will change.
Didn’t think I’d be quoting the comedian (and dharma student) Garry Shandling here, but he says it all: “We need something in our society that says there’s some importance to heart and authenticity, not just money, power and how are we going to control the world.”
Who is going to be the breakthrough?