Does the media drive the agenda?

Vincent Browne raises his old bete noir (subs needed): why does no major Irish media outlet not support “a radical restructuring of Irish society to achieve a far greater level of equality than exists”? But is it true that the fourth estate always leads the political agenda? Aside from a tiny Sinn Fein rump of TDs, in the Republic there is no political mainstream party that is credibly pushing the line that Vincent outlines.

So my point is not that opinions other than the one which holds that a radical restructuring of Irish society is essential are unsustainable or are morally objectionable. I am merely noting that none of the mainstream media will reflect that position. They all converge around the prevailing “common sense” – that aside from some marginal imperfections, the structure of society is fine.

And the media-led agenda will reflect that “common sense”. The debate will be about who best can manage this “basically okay” society and what marginal reforms are necessary to correct the imperfections. The view that there is something inherently wrong with the structure won’t get an airing, aside from the obligatory genuflections towards “balance” which will allow the occasional representation of that viewpoint before the main debate resumes.

And that media-led consensual agenda will result in either the re-election of the present Government or the election of a government that, policy-wise, is inherently no different.

  • Harry Flashman

    Why is equality so important? I understand the concept of equality before the law and that all children are (or should be) born equal but after that why should equality be the goal?

    It is up to each of us as individuals and as members of society to do the best for ourselves and those about whom we care but I fail to see what business it is of politicians or journalists to then impose equality.

    Given that you can never level up – you can not make a lame man walk nor can you make an ugly girl pretty, but in the name of equality you can break a fit man’s legs or deface a pretty girl – levelling down is the only alternative.

    Pol Pot tried enforced ‘equality’ as did Lenin as did Mao, tens of millions went to their premature deaths “equally”.

    No, equality of opportunity is a noble ideal, equality of outcome is an abhorent aberration.

  • The Dubliner

    Probably because “major” media is major business and major business is, by default, supportive of the system that it operates in and prospers under i.e. capitalism. Equally, the reason no socialist media is “major” is because it fails to prosper under a system that it opposes. Common sense seems lost on Vincent here.

    Apart from that, it’s interesting that Vincent advocates a biased media, as opposed to an impartial media. Personally, I detest media that proffers either hidden agendas or overt political agendas.

  • Pete

    Mick

    I assume that means that Vincent regards his own media interests as only minor outlets?

    There is, of course nothing to stop him pursuing that agenda himself… apart from a very sensible business argument.

    As well as the point that the policy he advocates,

    “a radical restructuring of Irish society”

    is far from guaranteed to produce

    “a far greater level of equality than exists”

    Ignoring the deliberately loose definitions, Vincent is arguing, in effect, for forced social engineering in an attempt to change human nature – itself an ongoing development of evolution [quiet at the back!]

    He is doomed to fail achieving his utopian vision.

    Which is, of course, the realisation that lies behind all those sensible decisions that other media, major and minor, have already made.

  • Alan

    It is more about the level at which we seek to erode obstacles to equality, than the non-sensical idea of rounding down.

    Its a political decision how rapidly we move towards a society that cherishes all of our children equally. It is certainly a decision that the electorate decides.

    To suggest that disabled people or children in poverty cannot be assisted is farcical. It is the continuing search to provide more favourable outcomes that is the task of those whose aim is equality.

    It is right that wider society imposes the responsibility to seek a more equal society upon each of us. It is one of the great humanising goals in life.

  • Paul

    What sort of “radical restructuring” does Mr Browne have in mind? Reducation camps for the rich, abolition of money, or just more tax?

    And what does he mean by media “support” for such an idea? Reporting such debate as it exists among economists, politicians, or the public? Or leading a crusade?

    Arguably it’s their job to report the debate, but not necessarily to campaign for one particular “solution” to whatever specific aspect of “inequality” is currently vexing Mr Browne.

    And how are we to debate this when we don’t know what he said, because the article is locked away somewhere?