“The causes of events are always more important than the events themselves.”
So said Cicero, an ancient Roman important enough to impact modern generations who may never even have heard of him.
In some ways this pithy saying can be used to justify the need newspapers have for editorials and columnists. Readers, if they can be certain that the facts are clearly presented in a truthful and complete manner in their newspaper of choice, can then read columns with which they agree or those which cause blood pressures to rise to alarming levels. This ancient process only works, though, if the first condition is met.
With the steady decline in newspaper sales, and the lack of trust with which many now view them, readers today are more likely to seek their news online, often through Google.
I wonder, therefore, whether we should be alarmed or cheered by the news that a man in Melbourne has successfully sued the search engine for failing to remove a libellous link.
I believe that the key statement in the case was made by Google, which says it is not a publisher. I have always believed that it is, and the company certainly acts as though it is. And that, in my opinion, is the cause of the case in question – a considerably more important matter than who won in Melbourne.