Frank Furedi points out the amazingly restricted view of the media:
The furore that surrounds the demise of the News of the World has little to do with the specific morally corrupt practices at that tabloid. Rather, as with other highly stylised outbursts of outrage in recent years — from ‘cash for questions’ to the MPs’ expenses scandal to bankers’ bonuses — this is a media-constructed and media-led furore. The main reason the sordid phone-hacking affair has become the mother of all scandals is because the media assume that anything which affects them is far more important than the troubles facing normal human beings.
It’s understandable: media folks frequently point out that politicians and celebrities move in “bubbles” which rarely bring them into contact with ordinary people — yet only occasionally seem to be aware that the media lives in its own set of bubbles.
Outrage-mongering, which is essentially an accomplishment of the media, is parasitical on today’s depoliticised and disorganised public life. In the absence of true political conviction, of any meaningful political alternative, strongly held views have been replaced by expressions of frustration and outrage. In such circumstances, the cultural elite can substitute its own agenda for that of the public, and in effect an outraged media reality becomes the reality.
Over the past week, many have claimed that the News of the World’s phone-hacking practices have offended the British public. Time and again, journalists claim to have detected a powerful public revulsion against the machinations of News International. Even a sensible columnist like Matthew d’Ancona argues that ‘David Cameron and Rupert Murdoch are swept up in a public fit of morality’. In truth, this ‘public fit of morality’ is actually confined to a relatively narrow stratum of British society. People in the pub or on the streets are not having animated debates about the News of the World’s heinous behaviour. Rather it is the Twitterati and those most directly influenced by the cultural elite and its lifestyle and identity who are emotionally drawn to the anti-Murdoch crusade.