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Julian
The biggest news story in the UK at the moment is the ongoing saga of Phone hacking. Most of my links are to the Guardian's website, but they're the paper that's been investigating the story (in much the same way as last year's Parliamentary expenses scandal was broken by the Telegraph).

Basically, four or five years ago, the royal correspondent at the News of the World, a Sunday newspaper owned by Rupert Murdoch's News International business, was jailed for using a private detective to illegally access the cellphone voice messages of members of the British Royal family and their staff.

The editor of the paper at the time, Andy Coulson, claimed no knowledge, but resigned anyway oon the grounds that the buck stopped with him, etc. The next time he appeared in the media was shortly afterwards, when he was appointed to the role of Director of Communications for the then-Opposition Conservative Party. He stayed in that role until quite recently, of which more in a moment.

Since the 2007 trial, a small host of celebrities, politicians, some more people with royal connections, and generally large numbers of people in the public eye have been named as having been similarly "hacked" in a search for stories (or otherwise usable material). Some, including the actress Sienna Miller, lauched civil actions for damages against the News of the World, and these civil actions have been the engine for the continued life of the overall story.

For instance, it turns out that the London police, the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS), knew of anything up to 1,000s of names of people who'd been targeted under their original investigation, but chose not to pursue them. A very senior officer (a deputy commissioner) was a close personal friend of Andy Coulson. Other journalists have been implicated, and in the last few months senior editors at the News of the World have been suspended (and now sacked).

Coulson himself resigned a few days ago from his government communication role (the Tories did well enough at the election to lead our currnt coalition government) because the phone hacking scandal meant he couldn't focus on his day job.

Coincidentally, or not, Rupert Murdoch's News International business has been trying to convince the powers that be that it should be allowed to take over Britain's richest TV provider, which isn't the BBC but the satellite broadcaster BSkyB. They already had de facto control with a 39% stake, but now they want to buy out the rest and get the other 61% of the revenues and profits (and we're talking upwards of $8bn here, so no small prize). Murdoch Snr himself has now based himself in London, rather than attending the Doha summit as he'd planned, with the intention of cleaning house in his UK operations. Just yesterday, more information was released to police and media on the details of the scandal, and now other newspapers are being accused of having used illegal phone hacking to gain information.

And, ever since the 1992 election, when It Was The Sun Wot Won it, most mainstream UK politicians on all sides have been more than keen to court the attentions of the Murdoch media empire, whether the influence public opinion or (more likely) are simply astute judges of it. Tony Blair was a regular meeting-holder with Murdoch Snr, as has been David Cameron.

So, you've got a situation where the leading privately-owned media organisation is accused of doing illegal things, with the largest police force knowing about it but turning a blind eye, while the suspect media orgnanisation works so closely to the leading political party that there is some sense of a revolving door between the two.

Questions for debate

What is the appropriate relationship between politics, law enforcement and the media

If a powerful media organisation broke the law in America, under what circumstances would it be acceptable for police to turn a blind eye after the first prosecution, despite having sufficient evidence to investigate further wrongdoing?

Who should run America? Who does? The media, the police, politicians, or the people? Describe why you think that

BONUS:
How and why are the answers on any of your questions different in Britain?
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AuthorMusician
What is the appropriate relationship between politics, law enforcement and the media

Journalists should be the watchdogs of both politicians/politics and law enforcement. Also corporations and really anything that impacts the community, county, state and nation.

If a powerful media organisation broke the law in America, under what circumstances would it be acceptable for police to turn a blind eye after the first prosecution, despite having sufficient evidence to investigate further wrongdoing?

I can think of no situation in which this would be acceptable. Journalists have to follow the law like everyone else. If a media corporation breaks the law, same deal. Law enforcement should enforce the law, which seems too obvious to have to point out. But then people are very capable at self-delusion and thinking outside the logic box.

Who should run America? Who does? The media, the police, politicians, or the people? Describe why you think that

Our elected representatives should run America. Corporations actually run it. I think this way because lobbyists have too much power in politics. However, we still do have a democratic election process, and if that can be kept trustworthy, the people have a chance at changing things.

BONUS:
How and why are the answers on any of your questions different in Britain?


I don't see much of a difference. What should be isn't always what is, or even what is most of the time. Change comes with a whole lot of difficulty and requires patience. But, if people who want change keep hammering at it, sometimes something good happens. Or bad, depending on the results of change. This also has to do with point of view, interpretations of reality and ideologies.
Lesly
Under what circumstances would it be acceptable for police to turn a blind eye after the first prosecution, despite having sufficient evidence to investigate further wrongdoing?
Quid pro quo? I can't imagine the police would turn a blind eye without there being something in it for them. Did journalists share information or make promises? Did the police in turn share this information with policymakers? If so, the answer is whatever circumstances will keep the police from being named in civil lawsuits, because if heads aren't rolling now, no one will be charged with wrongdoing.
entspeak
What is the appropriate relationship between politics, law enforcement and the media

Well, it seems to me that the politicians should make the law, the police should uphold the law and the media should report how badly they screw up those tasks.

The problem in this situation most likely lies in the answer to your last question.

If a powerful media organisation broke the law in America, under what circumstances would it be acceptable for police to turn a blind eye after the first prosecution, despite having sufficient evidence to investigate further wrongdoing?
I can't think of a situation where that would be acceptable.

Who should run America? Who does? The media, the police, politicians, or the people? Describe why you think that
The government as representatives of the people should run the government. As for the list you've made, the answer isn't in it. I think America is increasingly under the control of corporations via lobbying. The situation you describe is not an instance of the media having control and influence, but a corporation - which happens to be a media organization - having control and influence.

How and why are the answers on any of your questions different in Britain?
It appears that they aren't really different.
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