Ethics continuing education might have been useful in preventing Rupert Murdoch’s latest and greatest problem with money and the law. One of the most monied of patriarchs worldwide, Murdoch makes billions from a diverse portfolio of properties and investments, one of which is the legendary News of the World tabloid. A long-time money-maker for him, this property has now become his greatest challenge yet, both personally as well as professionally.
What does any of that have to do with the need for ethics continuing education? Simply that some common decency would have helped prevent the scandal in the first place. The matter was originally one of a lost young girl. As interest in her case grew, the tabloid sought to distinguish itself in the media scrum by gaining special insight into the circumstances surrounding her disappearance. This was the motivation behind all the illegal phone-hacking.
The reason why this could have been prevented with ethics continuing education is that the newspaper went on to erase the messages left once the voicemail account filled up in order to listen in on new ones! Thus a false picture emerged of the girl as being still alive and well, apparently checking in on her voicemails and deleting them. She had been deceased all along, however, but it took much more time to determine the fact than would have been necessary.
Moreover, it’s now turned out that no one’s safe from such spying: not even the prime minister, nor the Queen herself were spared!
The upshot of it all is that a hundred year-old paper’s closed, wtih workers out of a job, while a grieving family feels toyed with, and the public’s trust in its police force (Scotland Yard had previously on two occasions denied any phone hacking at all by Murdoch’s company) shattered once more. Murdoch has also had a ten-billion dollar business deal fall through on account of the scandal – a costly lesson in business ethics!