Well, yet another newspaper is in ethical hot water (see my earlier post about The Village Voice & Ashton Kutcher).
Rupert Murdoch’s News of the World has sparked an outrage among the British public; and rightfully so. The newspaper is accused of hacking into a missing girl’s voicemail, after many allegations of doing the same to celebrities. All in the name of getting the latest scoop – I can understand that this is the business they are in, but when it is intentionally interfering with a police investigation, giving the little girl’s family false hope, and simply ignoring personal rights, there is nothing here that I can agree with.
I wonder how many advertisers are going to pull their ads from this newspaper after the verdict; if Murdoch’s empire does not suffer any harm, and are found not guilty, will the public’s outrage be enough to still pull critical ad money out? If companies do or do not take their advertisements out, will it hurt or help their public image? Obviously, having ad space in a major newspaper is important – but is it still important at the expense of ethics?
There are many major companies that advertise currently with News of the World – Ford is among one of those. They have stated they are waiting for the verdict to be announced before they decide to pull their ads or not. Which sends the clear message; if the courts do not find Murdoch guilty, then Ford will almost definitely stay with the newspaper. This makes some sort of sense, but I wonder if the people’s anger will go away even if the mogul is not found guilty – an example of this most recently not working is the Casey Anthony trial (while I understand Murdoch’s crimes are not of the same magnitude).
Will citizens care at all about companies’ advertising positions? This may not be even crossing their mind at this point.