WSJ's Defense Of News Of The World: Hey, It's Not Like They Published Wikileaks Secrets

from the uh-what? dept

Lots of folks are pointing out the ridiculousness of a new editorial in the WSJ defending News Corp. (the owner of the WSJ) in the ongoing hacking debacle. Basically, it defends everything about News Corp. and its actions with a tiny nod to the fact that phone hacking is illegal at the beginning and at the end of the piece, but, even then, it tries to pin the blame on UK law enforcement rather than News Corps.’ own actions:

Phone-hacking is illegal, and it is up to British authorities to enforce their laws. If Scotland Yard failed to do so adequately when the hacking was first uncovered several years ago, then that is more troubling than the hacking itself.

Uh, yeah. What struck me as even more ridiculous was the editorial’s attempt to mock other publications for talking about this by noting that some of those publications (they’re mainly talking about The Guardian, who has been the main force driving the phone hacking story for the past few years) worked with Julian Assange and Wikileaks:

The Schadenfreude is so thick you can’t cut it with a chainsaw. Especially redolent are lectures about journalistic standards from publications that give Julian Assange and WikiLeaks their moral imprimatur.

Let’s see. One involves getting whistleblowers to expose corporate and government malfeasance… and one involved hacking into the phone of a dead girl and erasing messages, throwing off the investigation and giving her family hope. Sure, I can see how there’s a moral equivalence there…

Does the editorial board at the WSJ really believe that the public is so stupid as to think that the two things are even remotely equivalent? And if so, why is it that the WSJ set up its own Wikileaks-competitor, with much weaker security and promises to protect identities?

It’s a sad day when the Wall Street Journal admits it can’t tell the difference between whistleblowing and reporters hacking into personal voicemails and then paying off police and others about it.

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Comments on “WSJ's Defense Of News Of The World: Hey, It's Not Like They Published Wikileaks Secrets”

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57 Comments
nasch (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Wow. I hope Jon Stewart plays Ducey complaining about how there are much more important things going on to talk about, and then a bunch of clips of stupid meaningless fluff that Fox is covering. I mean, right after this piece he says “coming up, Casey Anthony…” That’s the stuff that’s so important we don’t have time to talk about News of the World?

And the guy he interviewed, what is his deal? “Citibank, great bank. Bank of America, great bank.” Say what now? And he said regarding why news organizations are covering the phone hacking story: “I can’t understand it.” Then you shouldn’t be on TV talking about it.

el_segfaulto (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

In all fairness, I’m an absolute copyright minimalist (freetardus americanus) and abslutely loathe Fox News and everything they stand for. They are nothing more than a mouthpiece for the republican party (full disclosure, I’m registered independent) and do nothing more than spew hatred and ignorance to anybody dumb enough to watch for more than five minutes. Unfortunately there’s a good chunk of my country that thrives on hate and ignorance.

Anonymous Coward says:

I know that we’re all super-anti-anyone-who-isn’t-extremely-leftist around here, buuuuut its an editorial people, chill.

Also the editorial was trying to defend the journalists who were not part of the scandel, though we may want to paint them all with the Murdoch brush, I’m sure there were many journalists there who only went in to work and then went back home everyday, without so much as a single cackle about ‘hacking’ into all the phones in britain.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

How much of a “journalist” could one possibly be in order to work in that environment day-in day-out and yet remain blissfully ignorant of the massive abuse going on?

We are left to conclude that anyone who says they were unaware is either an idiot or lying.

I strongly suspect that the entire organization is rotten to the core, at ALL levels. Equally strongly, I suspect that nothing (of consequence) will happen to Murdoch — harsh punishment is reserved for teenage hackers who share a few songs and is never doled out to the wealthy and powerful, even when they interfere in murder and terrorist investigations.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

“super-anti-anyone-who-isn’t-extremely-leftist”?

The what now?

What is primarily argued on this site, is to leave a free market to be a free market, if it is your opinion that free market philosophy is of the left, then that is a new one on me.

As someone left leaning myself and normally against free market philosophy; because in the non digital world all the factors that need to be equal for a free market to actually work to the benefit of everyone, don’t.
But in the digital world they do, and then we see those who benefit from and promote the “free market” in the analogue world, suddenly want all kinds of government intervention to prevent there being a free market in the digital world, the only place where the thing can actually truly exist.

Now for my gratuitous swing at the U.S. right
The opinions expressed on this site are not about left or right wing views on anything, they are perhaps mainly expressed by intelligent people and their views are generally based on facts which I can understand would naturally make many on the US right view them as egghead leftist socialist positions. Facts and intelligence are not in and of themselves of the left, even if facts and intelligent understanding of those facts might tend to make people lean that way on many issues.

The facts here are that Murdoch controlled media interests are spinning the story as fast as they can to absolve the owners and principal beneficiaries of the actual crimes committed and passing the blame onto everyone else.
That is not about protecting journalists, it’s way more important than that, it’s about protecting extremely fat wallets and the people who hold them.

Anonymous Coward says:

So let me make sure I have this right. According to the WSJ:

1) Doing bad things (lying, hacking, bribing public official/police) is good (if a) you aren’t caught and b) done in the name of “journalism”).

2) Doing good things (exposing people who are doing greedy, immoral, or outright illegal activities) is wrong.

Gotcha.

Or to quote Lightning McQueen “Thank you. Or should I say no thank you. Because maybe in opposite world that means thank you.”

out_of_the_blue says:

Don't forget that Fox News, WSJ, and Murdoch supported war in Iraq.

There’s a larger context, more to the story, and perhaps MUCH MORE to emerge: this is only on-the-fly damage control of course. The real story is the fascistic interrelations of major media and gov’t, US and UK.

By the way, a reporter named Sean Hoare was found dead yesterday: he’s the one who, er, I forget the phrase (Google the name yourself), but made a connection from Murdoch to a Brit politician on various points of this. So, conjecture /has to be/ that Murdoch or gov’t had him killed as a warning to others to stop this growing scandal.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Don't forget that Fox News, WSJ, and Murdoch supported war in Iraq.

Ah, but there are *no* claims in that comment. Poster out_of_the_blue used the word “conjecture”, and given what we have seen online (and offline) during the last 24 hours, that word is entirely apropos.

Thus you are demanding evidence for a claim that not — yet — been made.

As to the conjecture: only pathetically weak-minded fools would consider the timing of this death a coincidence. it’s obvious to everyone whose intelligence rates above “reptilian” that there IS a connection. However, that leaves open the nature of that connection, and on that point, there are precious few facts available today. None that I’ve seen provide any usable indication of what really happened, and if we (optimistically) believe that the investigation is being done fairly, that is, without an eye toward protecting anyone, then it’s possible we will not have any additional (and useful) facts for some time, as they will be closely kept in order to avoid botching the investigation. If on the other hand this is merely a charade, then we can expect leaks early and often — judiciously selected, of course, to produce the desired public opinions.

Incidentally, the AP reports that Hertfordshire Police went to his house “because they had concerns for his welfare”. The AP does not report WHY police had such concerns, an omission that I find interesting.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Don't forget that Fox News, WSJ, and Murdoch supported war in Iraq.

Conjecture here is simply a coy and ineffective cover to put forward a claim about something dreadful for which there is no evidence, while being able to deny having made any claim.

There is no conjecture by anyone to be taken seriously that this death is suspicious, but it is being investigated as all sudden deaths are, but because of his profile it will be handled by the major crimes unit.

If there is anything suspicious after the post mortem and preliminary investigations, then there may be room for genuine conjecture.
At the moment what you are doing is spinning crackpot conspiracy theories and making yourselves look like idiots.

But it’s a free internet, so feel free to carry on.
There are many websites where your fanciful bullshit will be greeted with great joy rather than contempt.

nasch (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Don't forget that Fox News, WSJ, and Murdoch supported war in Iraq.

As to the conjecture: only pathetically weak-minded fools would consider the timing of this death a coincidence. it’s obvious to everyone whose intelligence rates above “reptilian” that there IS a connection.

It’s obvious that it should be investigated thoroughly (but perhaps not by Scotland Yard). It’s obvious there may be a connection. It also should be obvious that there are coincidences, people die unexpectedly every day, and it’s possible it has nothing to do with current events. I find it strange for you to conclude that it’s obvious what happened when you have no evidence of what happened.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

“To Masnic and all his drones piling on the WSJ: please quote even a SINGLE sentence in which the WSJ “defends” NoTW’s phone hacking?

Yeah, I thought so . . .”

You thought? Seriously?

I wouldn’t have believed it but I’ll take your word for it.

Did you notice Mike make that claim anywhere or did you perhaps fail to notice that he was pointing out that the WSJ was defending News Corp. the parent company of both itself and the now defunct NOTW, by assigning responsibility to everyone but the owners and principle beneficiaries.

Dark Helmet (profile) says:

Re: Re:

“To Masnic and all his drones piling on the WSJ: please quote even a SINGLE sentence in which the WSJ “defends” NoTW’s phone hacking?”

That wasn’t the claim. You need to read, friend. The issue is that they’re minimizing what occurred.

Seriously? “Phone-hacking is illegal, and it is up to British authorities to enforce their laws. If Scotland Yard failed to do so adequately when the hacking was first uncovered several years ago, then that is more troubling than the hacking itself.”

Uh, no it isn’t. The lack of a solution to a problem is NEVER more troubling than the problem itself, because w/o that problem there would be no need of a solution.

“Oh, yes, terrorism is bad, but more troubling is that we can’t stop it.”

Uh, no? The terrorism is still more troubling….

PrometheeFeu (profile) says:

I think the first quote is sensible. I mean, we can’t expect a rag like News of the World to abide by ethical standards. So it’s disturbing that they went that far, but not unexpected. I mean, monkeys throw poo. It’s unfortunate, but not unexpected. On the other hand, the police officers who failed to act are expected to act professionally. They should have sent a SWAT team to bust down the door, arrested the News of the World staff, detained them incommunicado under anti-terrorism statutes and deported them to be tortured in secret prisons. That’s what we have a right to expect from law enforcement.

hmm (profile) says:

dear mike

Please stop dissing the WSJ, they are trying their level best to come up with a reason for shutting down in August and you aren’t making it easy for them.

Gotta blame those “misguided members of the public” not the fact that your own organization maliciously pretended a murder victim was alive, (allegedly) may have planted evidence that someone was a terrorist (causing them to get shot in the head on the London Underground), (alleged) insider trading being the reason for purchasing WSJ/Dow Jones and so many other things (we won’t even mention the allegations that someone very high up at NI tried to engineer an assassination attempt on the Queen of England by freely giving away her personal security arrangements)…..

Anonymous Clown says:

Not true

Often, after posting Anonymous, too lazy to pull out my 10,000-websites very-secure-passwords file but still interested in not being identified with at least two of the Anonymous Cowards that regularly post here with the aim of going, “nyah nyah Mikey’s a retard” (which are pretty easy to spot by their “fist” [sorry acronymn guy, you’ll have to GTY [[google that yourself]]]), I definitely occasionally hear Mike chuckle in the psychic ether that is teh intertubez when I manage a good one. When the wind is right. And it’s quiet. And he’s not asleep.

Mike Kevitt (profile) says:

phone hacking and "whistleblowing"

The press & media blasting gov’t. classified data to the public isn’t mere whistleblowing. It’s CRIME, fully on a par with phone hacking, with probable consequences worse than even those in the hacking case at hand. Concerning classified data, the press & media are on a par with Assange & PFC Manning: criminals. Without clearance & need to know, no one has any business knowing classified data. You may, by right, object to U.S. foreign policy & to the criteria & amount of classification. But, the 1st. Amendment doesn’t confer the right to free-wheeling with classified data, to access, use & blast it to the public. That’s a CRIME, period, & a criminal way to object to what you don’t like.

The Devil's Coachman (profile) says:

Re: phone hacking and "whistleblowing"

Pretty broad brush you’re using there, Zippy. So the press and the media are “criminals” in your view? Tell us, what color is the sky on your planet? Once classified data is released in a massive manner, its classification has been rendered meaningless, and putting the genie back in the bottle is no longer an option. Your simple mind seems to overlook that very simple fact. If I run across classified data on the internet, who are you to tell me I have no business knowing it? Oh, I see, you have no business at all telling me what I can and cannot know. My advice to you is to STFU and GTFOH.

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