Stop Phone-Hacking, End Sloppy Journalism

Laura Cafasso

Journalism is a very involved industry, with journalists who are supposed to interview people face to face, and get all the crucial information. However, Piers Morgan, CNN evening talk show host and former America’s Got Talent judge, is under fire for allegedly allowing co-workers at the Daily Mirror to invade phone calls or voice mails.

Already criticized earlier this year, he defended himself against accusations on Tuesday propelled by Robert Jay, a lawyer for the Leveson Inquiry, as reported by CNN. While testifying, Morgan was tense and dodged many questions, claiming that the quotes being read to him were false or misconstrued, even though he once wrote or said them.

Piers Morgan is mainly being accused for letting persistent phone-hacking occur under him while he was the editor of the Daily Mirror, for such notable instances like when Heather Mills, Paul McCartney’s ex wife, left a voice mail for him. He left that newspaper in 2004 and previously worked for News of the World in 1995.

Piers was not completely the center of the attention, since it was a government ran trial to investigate British ethics and behaviors, since these controversies will not go away quietly.

The real question is, why do newspaper companies, if these allegation are true, feel the need to invade famous peoples’ phones and privacy? What has happened to journalism, where quality has been substituted for quantity of juicy gossip or information?

Alanna Kilroy, sophomore, was very adamant in her opinion:

“I would consider that sloppy journalism because it is not their right to go into other peoples’ phones and start looking into their business. I find that pretty offensive. . .people have their own personal, private lives and might have information they don’t want to tell others. I feel like the journalists who do this should be punished.”

But how exactly should they be punished? Kilroy continued to make her point very clear, and thinks they should be treated as criminals.

“They deserve to be held accountable for whatever information they leaked out to others . . .maybe a minimum sentence in jail or community service.”

Andrew Samson, freshman, has a slightly different opinion.

“It’s a lack of privacy for whoever’s getting tapped [it is] pretty unethical. . .there’s better ways to get information than hacking.”

On the topic of jail time or punishment being severe: “It depends to what extent really. If they phone hacked into serious stuff like government conversation then yes. But otherwise, [there should be] suspension of the specific people who did it and more monitoring over how they get information for their stories.”

Besides Piers Morgan, Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp empire, which owns our own Bay-state newspaper the Wall Street Journal, received testimonies from several employees, including his son James. James is apparently in hot water, since there is strong evidence including emails indicating he knew about the hacking.

The publisher, News International of Rupert Murdoch’s empire, released this statement concerning settlements with victims: “has agreed to pay appropiate sums by way of compensation and costs and have expressed regret for the distress caused.”

Other people that are celebrities that have testified include author J.K. Rowling and actor Hugh Grant.

Journalists all around the world have to realize that phone-hacking is an abomination, and lazy. Information should be obtained either by word of mouth, or at least by phone interview or e-mail. Journalism is about reporting about the truth, not getting the truth by lying about how you obtained it.

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