News International's apologies in today's newspapers could be used as excellent templates for other oganisations which having become embroiled in poor media publicity now wish to start the on the long road to rehabilitation. For newspapers I suppose it is a case (suitably adapted) of "...lives by the sword, dies by the sword."
The Murdoch media empire is far from dead yet although media spin however well crafted even by media moguls, is not the same as rehabilitation. Church hierachy thankfully is begining to understand this now too although there is a long way to go yet..
There appears to me to have been much hypocrasy about the vilification of the News International stable in the UK of late. Of course phone hacking is an infringement of individual rights to privacy and is generally outlawed in the UK and in most civilsed countries. However the News of the World Newspaper was for years prior to its closure last weekend, by far the most widely read newspaper in this country. Millions of people regarded the NoW as essential Sunday reading. Having very rarely had to read the NoW for dayjob purposes I had seen enough to know that its stock in trade was reporting the perceived personal sins and transgressions of others; usually the others needed positive rather than negative publicity and the NoW offered them the oposite. Mainly the sins reported by the NoW were not the sins of omission that are common human traits such as failing to feed the hungry but what used to be described as the 'sins of the flesh' - maybe the great British public is not really interested in who might be left hungry by a wealthy group but will be only too prurient if members of that group are spotlit over indulging their inter personal relationships say. The NoW hallmark reporting too was to target high profile public celebs or leaders for their full disclosure of the darker sides of their private lives.
One assumes that most people with a darker side to their private lives would take the time and trouble to keep such activity as far away from the public eye as possible meaning that journalists would have their work cut out in in unearthing their private affairs.
Ordinary people who then paid ready money to read such material probably rarely applied their minds as to how the NoW journalists gleaned such intimate salacious details about people's personal lives. Had they given any thought to how the newspaper gathered such evidence the possibilities that phones/emails were being tapped /hacked or even brown envelopes full of cash being handed over, would surely have crossed their minds. Yet millions of NoW newspapers were bought each Sunday by the great British public whose ctiticsms of Murdoch media are now in full flood. I wonder how many of the politicians BBC and others not excluding us ordinary folk, who are now so forcefully voicing their/our criticsms were previously, avid readers of the NoW? Hypocrasy rules in the UK ok!
Yet and yet... Whilst driving down for a few days to the west country in readiness for maytrees min's graduation ceremony we suffered a minor collsion on the A30 in Cornwall just S of Exeter. The NHS ambulance paramedics were brilliant. The two Devon and Cornwall police offices (both called Ben) upon learning that mrs maytrees was not insured to drive the rental car offered to drive her and our hire car behind the ambulance to Exeter NHS A+E. The hospital staff were brilliant. I had an interesting conversation with the Italian/Romanian medic who did the the second instance medical check. he said on coming to England for medical experience he had expected this country to be very civilised perhaps more so than his own Romanian/Italian nations. He found howver that much of his work in A+E resulted from a British binge drinking culture that was alien to him and his background. Sadly the majority of people involved were in their 20s although even more sadly he had treated inebriated 14 and 15 year olds too.
On the other hand he said that the reputation of GB being civilised was in many respects still deserved, He considered that the Italian or Romanian police for example would not have taken the trouble to drive the car hire car and mrs maytrees to A+E. And of course there was no financial bureacracy in being checked over at the NHS hospital A+E. Just whisked in; a short wait, various tests by i. a young trainee paramedic from Pymouth uni; then ii the Romanian/Italian A+E doctor then a final a reassuring chat with their senior consultant; some letters were written for me to take back the GP at home then discharge.
The car hire people too were very civilised. Upon learning that mrs maytrees was not insured to carry on our journey we received a telehone call from them to make sure there were no injuries and to say that the car hire MD had authorised mrs maytrees being given temporary cover upon the basis that upon return she would participate in a 3 way telephone conversation with DVLA to make sure she actually had a licence to drive.
Mainly we are both grateful at simply being alive to tell the tale.