Two hundred years of telling the truth to power.
Over the course of the last fifty years, we have seen the erosion,undermining and gradual destruction of democracy, in the English speaking world. In America, the Super PACs (political action committee) have made their presence felt, in funding the campaigns of whomever, it has deemed fit to represent their interests.
Politicians on the left and the right, have always seen it fit, to pander to these organizations. An interesting example was in June 2008, a day after wrapping the democratic nomination, Barack Obama, went to a Super PAC meeting, giving a speech to reassure his paymasters that he is the right choice for the President of the United States of America.
Over here, in Britain, things haven’t fared any better. The biggest tabloid newspaper organization, news international, which prints the Sun newspaper, The Times, The Sunday Times and up until 2011, News of the world is owned by the Australian billionaire — Rupert Murdoch.
Rupert Murdoch’s outsize influence in British politics and the wider society, has all but led to the disintegration of the United Kingdom; It was responsible for the election of Margaret Thatcher, engendering great economic inequality, demonizing the trade unions, disparaging an entire race of people and not forgetting the lies that were told, when 96 people died in Hillsborough, in 1989.
And for a while, it seemed that Rupert Murdoch’s dominance over British affairs, would be absolute, when the Conservative led coalition got into power in 2010. Not only was David Cameron prepared to do everything the Australian mogul wanted, but was also prepared to go over and beyond. Jeremy Hunt, the Culture Secretary acted swiftly in approving the Murdoch purchase of the BskyB — a highly prominent British broadcasting network.
Just as the merger was about to go ahead, something happened which would shake the foundations of the United Kingdom, to its very core.
The Phone Hacking Scandal
The Guardian Newspaper had uncovered strong evidence, which showed that Rupert Murdoch’s establishment had acted amorally and despicably, when its top brass sanctioned the hacking of the phones of several celebrities, politicians and sports personalities among whom were, Prince William, Hugh Grant, Kate Winslet, Sienna Miller, Jude Law, John Prescott, Tom Watson and Chris Bryant.
Also uncovered, on a large scale, was the involvement of police and private detectives in getting information on thousands of people around the country, but what blew things open was the hacking of the murdered schoolgirl ‘s phone— Milly Dowler, in 2002.
Milly Dowler was a youngster from surrey, who had gone missing. What no one knew was that Rupert Murdoch’s organization had hacked into her phone and actually deleted messages on her phone, giving the family false hopes that she was alive.
Spurred by the Dowler court case, other witnesses came out of the woodwork and began to speak out like never before.
This seismic event led to Andrew Coulson and Rebekah Wade falling on their swords, the demise of the BskyB bid, the closure of the News of the world paper and the irreparable damage to Rupert Murdoch’s reputation.
Cambridge Analytica’s Role In The Brexit Vote
Guardian’s investigative journalism was also responsible for the scoop of 2018, showing how a British firm — Cambridge Analytica was responsible for the harvesting of the data of tens of millions of people on Facebook, which led to the victory of the leave campaign in June 2016 and the election of Donald Trump.
In a documentary featured on Netflix, we get to see how Carole Cadwalladr was able to piece together an intricate plot, featuring a hedge fund billionaire, a political advisor, a whistle blower, who was prepared to go on the record, providing hard evidence of how, democracy was compromised, bought and sold to the highest bidder, in 2016.
Had the Guardian been owned by an Oligarch, the investigative reporting which shed greater light on Wikileaks and the Windrush Scandal, almost certainly wouldn’t have occurred.
The media provide an important service in a healthy, thriving democracy. It educates and shapes the choices that the voters make in the voting booth, during elections.
But what we have seen in the age of laissez-faire capitalism has been, the preparedness to sacrifice truth at the altar of money.
The “reader model” which the Guardian runs, allows the reader to pledge to an amount, on a monthly basis. The funds raised enables it to continue to provide first class investigative journalism in these precarious times.
With Democracy on life support, we need the Guardian, more than ever in producing qualitative, investigative journalism, checking the excesses of right wing establishments such as fox news, wall street journal, the sun newspapers and the daily mail.
It suffices to say, that the Guardian is democracy’s last and only hope.
Thanks very much for reading.