The blogger vs the journalist

This interview took place around a week ago, but I have only just had time to watch it. What I found interesting about it was the admission from Michael White (near the end) that the benefit a blogger has over a journalist is the instant feedback. On more than one occasion on this blog and the other, I have made errors of fact, some glaring some less so, but nonetheless there is an inevitability that the comment informing that “you’re wrong you idiot” comes within the hour. How many times during the election campaign did we see predictions of the DUP having a chance of four seats in East Belfast with their three candidates, Derek Hussey standing for the UUP and DUP in West Tyrone and the Foyle UUP candidate being called Peter Hay? Carelessness like that on a blog is unlikely in the first instance as the blogger is commenting because they want to, not to pay the mortgage. Newt articulated this argument very well on the recent Radio Ulster programme on blogging.

It’s probably a fact that journalists have a much stronger role in ensuring accountability, but the pressure from bloggers is only going to increase, and I really don’t think that is down to the format as much as other factors.

  • Michael White’s argument was a little more critical than that. At the very end of the interview – not too far from the material that gives rise to this thread – he challenges the critical appraisal bloggers give to “sources”. By far, this was the most interesting part of the interview – at least to me. It IS the format/medium that allows this.

    It used to be called “squinting windows” present in all villages and town in Ireland. These windows were the unseen moral majority – that inflicted pain on many – mostly the vulnerable.

    The blogosphere shouldn’t be so self congratulatory as this thread presents. It may have strengths – but it has many weaknesses that it isn’t too keen discuss – while propagating its values!

    A little humility might go a little further. You might start with a debate around the hypothesis that the anonymity of the blogosphere is more damaging than Ireland’s squinting windows of old.

    In a large part, I believe anonymity lances the boil and makes the puss a rancorous poison that makes most noses curl. Anonymity also helps those with steadier stomachs challenge the vitriol.

    White though points to accuracy and his point is worth serious consideration by those who think blogs are more than they are. Blogs enable discourse and challenge – but rarely allow truth to get in the way.

  • The Dubliner

    “Blogs enable discourse and challenge – but rarely allow truth to get in the way.” – Rubicon

    Well, I take a Noam Chomsky-esque view that mainstream media is just a sophisticated and insidious form of synchronised lying.

    I find all this hype about Blogs to be increasingly wearisome. What are they other than a glorified form of Internet message boards that exist long before Google and its hype machine bought into them? Instead of having links to threads on a form index, they have the stories on one page, thereby causing the gullible to confuse them with newspaper.

    The truth issue is irrelevant as it’s the facts you need to be concerned about. In that respect – while newspaper tells horrid lies – there facts are usually checked. And yes, I’m aware that is a paradox.

  • Bill

    ” I have made errors of fact, some glaring some less so, but nonetheless there is an inevitability that the comment informing that “you’re wrong you idiot” comes within the hour.”

    How many error of facts do not get this treatment?

    How many errof of facts get put up by contributors?

  • Bill’s evil twin brother pointing him in the right

    Bill

    on slugger we spell error with three r’s and it does not end in f.

  • Mick Fealty

    Bill,

    I don’t think the capacity of the audience to respond and challenge is a failsafe. Bloggers make mistakes, as do journos. All I can say is that from my point of view, I try not to make them.

    In breaking sensitive stories for instance, (the collapse of the Daily Ireland title was a good example), I stick to the two source rule before writing. In less controversial, gossip level material, one source will do, but with a caveat that it only has ‘Rumour Mill’ status.

    Most of what goes up on Slugger is similarly well researched and thought out before it goes online. The mistakes I have made are mostly in the detailing of the story. Although I have been pulled recently for putting an unwarranted ‘spin’ on certain stories.

    How much goes unchallenged? That is a very good question.

    I would hope anything erroneous that goes in the top space is challenged. The comment zone is a different matter. As Newt notes in his interview on Crawley’s programme, we have a surfeit of political activists on the site, who primarily try to spin certain stories in particular directions helpful to their own project.

    That is often helpful and even highly revealing in itself. At times it feels like we are mapping the inside track on how the parties themselves are spinning the same stories privately to mainstream journalists.

    But some of the tactics used routinely break the civility rule on Slugger. And on too many occasions people with an opposing view are quite plainly bullied into silence. For me, since this disrupts the heterogeneity of the commenters, the factchecking value of the comments zone is questionable.

    But I would just add that in an interactive zone such as Slugger has become over the years, you are talking with some people who know considerably more about given subjects (even if it is only something as straightforward and ordinary as living in the mid Springfield area). The potential for instant embarrassment is much higher than in broadcast.

  • dodrade

    A bomb has been placed under a policeman’s car in sion mills. The bomb squad are dealing with it as I write.

  • Henry 07

    Mick

    As Newt notes in his interview on Crawley’s programme, we have a surfeit of political activists on the site, who primarily try to spin certain stories in particular directions helpful to their own project.

    I wonder what good it does them if that is the case. It’s not as if minds are changed given that most of the other commentators are also pushing an agenda. Most of the people I mention it to have either never heard of Slugger or never visited it.

    Votes are not won and lost online.

  • Henry 07, indeed however due to the energy of Slugger’s and the golden rule, if there is any “overwhelming” discovery of truth to be found, its more likely to be found here than anywhere else.
    For the safety of political soundbites and wooden yes-men on TV( out there in the real world ) can be blown out of the water here.
    Well … that’s on a good day, when fouling is reduced to a minimum 😉
    still hopeful
    were you Henry94 in a previous incarnation?

  • doderade unfortunately the pond-life on both sides are still amongst us:
    Renegade loyalists’ plot to kidnap boy foiled by police.
    http://www.sundaylife.co.uk/news/article2432799.ece
    This is something to be tackled by the whole community, mentioning the above story is for purposes of balance, lest we descend into tribalism once again.

    Everyone good person / citizen ( well we are still subjects under the Queen until re-unification )should ring the PSNI, if they know anything that will help scrape this scum off the streets.

  • Henry 07

    parcifal

    were you Henry94 in a previous incarnation?

    Yes, updated for this significant year on the journey.

  • “well we are still subjects under the Queen until re-unification “

    There was no need for that lie there Parcifal. Wikipedia deals with the issue quite well.

  • not a lie beano, an error, I stand corrected.
    However I think you know the point I’m making re allegiance(s) and a monarchy versus a republic !
    nice one henry07

  • Bill

    2 sources? He! He!

    That is two more than on some wikipedia articles.

    Anyone who has read John Surowieki’s Wisdom of Crowds will understand that.

  • SuperSoupy

    Henry,

    “Votes are not won and lost online.”

    Mick can confirm this is a view I have raised with him for many years when dismissing his ideas on political parties upping their online activity.

    Clearly most of those reading or contributing to this and other sites come from set political viewpoints and much of the discussion is arguing black is black to someone who absolutely sees it as white.

    I tend to see slugger’s on 3 levels:

    -A great point for finding the hot topic in northern politics and all the relevant links

    -A forum for political anoraks

    -An entertaining forum for the politically addicted.

    No votes are won or lost here, hence the disappearance of those from on-the-ground politically active parties during the election and the sudden up swelling in contributions from political views that aren’t actively supported or greatly pushed on doorsteps.

    I’m very interested in politics. I’m sure 15 minutes attending a community forum has made more difference than the many hours I spend here.

    It’s mainly entertainment. Those bigging it up seem to me like armchair generals the political battles and gains are still in the real world , online stuff is for those that can’t do it for real or for entertainment when not at the coalface. Imnsho.

  • Mick Fealty

    Henry’s introduced a binary I don’t actually think exists. No one I know is mad enough to suggest that online is a substitute for get out around the doors. Nor are they mad enough to suggest a great online presence can rescue a bad campaign.

    Phil Noble speaking at a seminar in Westminster about the last Presidential campaign:

    “You can have the best website in the world, but it won’t win you elections if the campaign is bad”

    Here’s the first slide from a recent presentation I did for the Electoral Commission’s post election seminar:

    Is the web relevant?

    Politics is still largely done in the real world

    – Especially in the absence of ‘institutions’
    – Both DUP Sinn Fein won decisive ‘ground’ victories

    Elsewhere it is important

    – Guido Fawkes interrogates ‘Newsnight’
    – Mucaca remark costs Republican senator a seat

    Meeting the challenge of ‘big’ politics

    – With smaller narratives
    – And with a purpose…

    Increasingly though as parties find themselves challenged to get across complex policy issues, they may find online audiences the fastest and most intelligent way to communicate what they are doing and why.

    Of course it is up to the parties themselves to decide what priority they give this medium. They and their policies will get talked about anyway, whether or not they choose to participate in the debate(s).

  • Journalist

    “A bomb has been placed under a policeman’s car in sion mills. The bomb squad are dealing with it as I write. ”

    Now this is the perfect example of what is wrong with blogs!

    The story is much more complex than that and will be covered by the main papers tomorrow but would a paper print something like that? Absolutely not, they would have the ass sued off them.

    The whole area of libel law when it properly extends to blog is going to be very interesting. The big case going on in Dublin with the “Rate my lawyer” website is an interesting case and how it goes will indicate how seriously blogs are taken and serve as a warning to other blogs.

    Has slugger ever been sued?

  • Henry 07

    Soupy & Mick

    Most of us love Slugger and have a respect for its ethos despite our occasional criticisms. But I think it’s choice of topics is getting stranger. I mean we have a thread on some naff Irish dance show in the US that’s not doing well but when three prominent unionists supporters in a week indicate support for a united Ireland it’s not covered.

    Can I ask you Mick if you are trying to attract unionists back to the site or something? It would be understandable but is Sinn Fein bashing the best way to do it?

    I also think the fly-by-night sock puppets issue need to be handled.

    But what I’m really curious about is how Slugger will do in the event of normality. If we get what we are hoping for the north will become boring. I observe that British political topics don’t attract much attention whereas southern ones do. Slugger needs to embrace a 32 county future.

  • Pete Baker

    Henry

    “I mean we have a thread on some naff Irish dance show in the US that’s not doing well..”

    That would be a thread on the most expensive Broadway production ever staged.. and one that I had previously pointed to.

    But, hey, if you don’t want to comment on it.. don’t.

  • SuperSoupy

    Henry,

    I agree the bulk of stories are currently coming from those with a hostility to SF and/or Irishness and Republicanism.

    but

    The two bloggers that don’t have that hostility barely add two entries a week between them.

    If the imbalance of presentation and focus bothers you that much, why not offer your services? It’s not like you aren’t able.

  • Yoda

    I mean we have a thread on some naff Irish dance show in the US that’s not doing well but when three prominent unionists supporters in a week indicate support for a united Ireland it’s not covered.

    Henry, could you point me in the direction of this story? I managed to miss it completely… cheers.

  • Henry 07

    Yoda

    At that point, the least humiliating strategy may indeed be a voluntary entry into a United Ireland, in which Unionists could be a significant political force in alliance with genuine democrats, instead of a despised and disenfranchised minority within a crumbling United Kingdom.

    Jenny McCartney Sunday Telegraph

    “I am in no doubt, now, what the only way forward is for Northern Ireland, and this has probably been the secret plan all along: incorporation into the Irish Republic, where it would at least be ruled by a reasonably successful government not composed almost entirely of nutters.”

    Simon Heffer Daily Telegraph

    “There are moments, I confess, when even I – the son of English parents, although born in Ulster, a graduate of Oxford University and a Knight Commander of the Most Noble Order of the Bath – wonder if we would not enjoy a more dignified position as a community within a united Ireland.”

    Sir Kenneth Bloomfield

    http://www.nuzhound.com/articles/irish_news/arts2007/apr6_Bloomfield_united_Ireland_may_be_better.php

  • Rubicon

    I know this is off-topic – my defence is that Henry started it ;). I’d be interested in the thread he suggests. Having studied NI’s demography for many years I’ve long thought the republicans too optimistic about RC population growth rates delivering a nationalist majority. That said, unionists have been too complacent about the impact economic growth in the South could have on their vote. Add to this the sectarian carve-up in Stormont – there’s reason for defection from the ‘unionist cause’. It may be small at the moment but:

    1. It doesn’t need to be large
    2. The commentators Henry points to are not insignificant
    3. Failure at Stormont will increase defection – or at least disengagement from unionism
    4. The ‘economic peace package’ will not include tax varying powers and the relative advantages of the South accessed via a land border may cause some to choose the Euro in favour of the bowler hat.

  • Henry 07

    Rubicon

    There is another element which may come into play and that is an active policy of disengagement by the British. If they decide that a united Ireland is in their best interests now then it’s game over.

    Because the only consent principle that counts really is the consent of the British to artificially sustain the concept of unionism.

    Three straws in the wind in one week does raise an eyebrow..

  • Henry07 Thanks for those links, it is distressing that not one has been blogged here on Sluggers.

  • Henry 07

    parcifal

    Yes, but of course I take Pete’s point that it was a very big Irish dancing production.

  • dodrade

    “A bomb has been placed under a policeman’s car in sion mills. The bomb squad are dealing with it as I write. “

    Now this is the perfect example of what is wrong with blogs!

    The story is much more complex than that and will be covered by the main papers tomorrow but would a paper print something like that? Absolutely not, they would have the ass sued off them.

    Sorry, In my haste to break the story (which didn’t appear elsewhere until several hours later) I got some details wrong. It was not a car bomb (I assumed it was) it was a gas cylinder/petrol device left in the policeman’s garden. I only wrote about it in this thread because it was at the top of the webpage and seemed an important breaking story, although it seems to have got very little media attention. It has not been reported that it was a Policeman’s home targeted but I know this for a fact.

  • Mick Fealty

    Good links from Henry, though I am fairly sure I blogged the Heffer piece at the time, I hadn’t seen the Bloomfield or McCartney articles.

    I have been taking Easter weekend to spend a bit of time with family and friends, and I am also working on a longish article for an English magazine. Apologies for the lack of ‘service’; but all blogging and no play makes any of us dull boys/girls.

    For the record, we have about 30 bloggers on our books. None are told what to blog and what not to blog. In fact, so long as it is legal (and to a extent serious minded), I don’t care what they blog.

    But most no longer blog anything at all. Some because they don’t have time. And some because some fairly nasty (often irrational) reactions from anonymous commenters. Horse, water and drink come to mind!

    As for the Henry’s accusation of anti SF bias, can just ask what he means? A few examples might give it more substance.

  • Henry 07

    Mick

    There are a number of elements to the bias as I see it. The first is the hyping up of stories where there is even the slightest possibility of associating republicans with violence

    The most recent example is this headline

    Friday, April 06, 2007

    “I think this was a paramilitary-type operation carried out with paramilitary precision.”

    The implication was IRA involvement in the demolition of a house. A crock.

    The previous example I recall is the attack on Conor Murphy over the helicopter crash in South Armagh and the refusal to discuss the real issue which was the potential for disaster in a residential area.

    Getting policing wrong by claiming a conditionality to the Sinn Fein position would stop agreement was simply a failure to understand what was going on but sticking to the position long after it had been overrun by events was bias in my view.

    Then there was the carpet-blogging coverage of the anti-Sinn Fein dissidents and their little meetings. Carpet blogging being a feature of every story where there is an anti-Sinn Fein angle and if you deny that I’ll know you’re joking.

    Aside from the blogging itself there is a clear double standard in operation in relation to personal attacks on Sinn Fein people and republican posters often by people we never see before or since.

    The thing is I have no objection at all to a site having an anti-Sinn Fein bias. I enjoy ATW no end for example. But David Vance is out in the open about it. Why can’t you be?

  • Mick Fealty

    Henry,

    The headline is a quote from one of the protagonists, hardly spin. Also it is just one story. To prove bias, you need to demonstrate a trend.

    “…there is a clear double standard in operation in relation to personal attacks on Sinn Fein people and republican posters often by people we never see before or since”.

    You and others have made this accusation before, but I have yet to see it substantiated.

    Frankly, I don’t actually care about bias. People are free to judge my own/the site’s biases as they will. It’s not for me to argue people out of their own perceptions. But I have perennially fought to get people to deal in argument rather than just attacking people for who they are, or what their biases are.

    The detail of that story is extraordinary. As is its virtual invisibility within the wider media. It is unquestionably an uncomfortable story for SF. But is that really a reason for not blogging it?

  • Mick Fealty

    Actually the accusation is a little more irksome than that Henry, since at a time when SF were routinely taking a hammering from mainstream commentators I put some considerable effort to seek out a good and capable blogger who would ably put across a SF friendly viewpoint.

    It seems to me you are looking for party friendly self censorship. In my view, that is not a reasonable, nor indeed a credible, request.

  • Henry 07

    Mick

    If your response means that there is no issue and nothing to be done then that is entirely a matter for yourself. But for me at least posting here has become less and less an opportunity for teasing out the issues that divide us and more and more a place for defending against half-baked allegations and irrational interpretations.

    If pointing that out is taken as a call for censorship then you are seeing an agenda where there is just a personal point of view.

    The headline is a quote from one of the protagonists, hardly spin.

    Pushing a one-sided view is the very definition of spin!

    But I have perennially fought to get people to deal in argument rather than just attacking people for who they are, or what their biases are.

    Using a biased headline (the point of view of one side) and then asking for the bias to be ignored is a fundamentally confused position.

    Also it is just one story. To prove bias, you need to demonstrate a trend.

    I’m not trying to prove bias. I am expressing my view that their is bias. To try to prove it to the person responsible for it is a fools errand. In particular when they don’t care about it in the first place

    Frankly, I don’t actually care about bias.

    We can relax then because I don’t either. I don’t expect it to be absent. I just want to point it out where I see it. If you don’t care about it why the sensitivity?

  • Mick Fealty

    Henry,

    As you know I have a lot of respect for your views. But I can only answer views that have some basis in empirical reality.

    I absolutely share your frustration about the lack of space to tease out policy detail. What can I say? Our politicians went awol for four years and as a result we get to pore speculatively over the detail of bank robberies, murder and concerted arson campaigns, with a welcome break for the spectacle of an election every two years.

    Now I’m not singling anyone out for blame here, but it must be obvious that we can only follow (and on occasions break) the news, not make it. When we get to a point that political parties are actually taking responsibility for the implementation of what remain policy pretensions (rather recycling press release in an interminable, reiterative and deathly boring ‘blame game’), the result should be more rather than less exciting politics.

    BTW, it is virtually impossible to tell a story honestly without it having some negative implications for at least one of the protagonists. I don’t blame people for not liking certain stories when they come, but what can we do, other than bury them?

  • Roisin

    [i]I don’t blame people for not liking certain stories when they come, but what can we do, other than bury them?[/i]

    You could relax your ball-not-man rules a bit maybe, Mick.

    Seems to me that you’re frequently over-defensive of some of the unionist, and even dissident and stoop, contributors, along with the pet journos.

    I pointed this out to you a couple of days ago when I said if you’d given me the yellow card instead of just a warning that would have made a hattrick for the day.

    I understand your position that you don’t want your site to be a cesspit like some other unmentionable site, but sometimes copious text does not an argument make, and there should be a bit of latitude in allowing the semi-literate-ish here to point that out.

    Only yesterday or the day before you yellow-carded someone for calling one of the multiple-ID trolls a Sticky, but the same troll is allowed to call other contributors murderers and supporters of murder?!?!

    It’s your site, you can do what you please, but you can’t expect everyone to say you run it fair if they don’t think you do.

  • Mick , Henry-07
    if I may just butt in here, in a fascinating exchange, which I don’t want to interrupt.

    What you’re guilty of Mick is taking your eye of the ball, in other words: ball-watching.

    I know you know what that means.. re cricket.
    Now if you want me to back that up, with copious examples, I’m right here ready to go.

  • The Dubliner

    Henry 07, it’s disingenuous to claim that Kenneth Bloomfield’s comment expressing his dismay for what he sees as a lack of loyalty from the British towards unionists is tantamount to a declaration of his “support for a united Ireland.” His comments were also predicated on Devolution failing and the alternative being direct rule by a government who would cut its spending on the province and who the people of the north were rendered powerless by electoral disfranchisement to oppose. “It is possible, as a resident of Northern Ireland hitherto always glad and proud to be a citizen of the United Kingdom, to feel at times like a party to a marriage whose partner no longer feels or shows any real affection, but who maintains an increasingly cool relationship out of a sense of loyalty.” He used the analogy of a marriage, but the comment you quoted should properly be seen as a child protesting to its parents, “I want to live with Aunty Kathleen because you don’t love me anymore!”

    Likewise, Jenny McCartney’s comment isn’t an endorsement of Irish unity but an expression of disgust with a British government that has “compelled Unionists to share political power with representatives of the IRA, the very people who until recently were intent upon blowing them up.” She sees the Dublin government as being more “picky about whom they let into their democracy,” citing the point blank refusal of “Enda Kenny, the respected leader of Fine Gael” to touch PSF with a bargepole and Bertie Ahern back-pedalling on the issue of a coalition government with PSF minority support.

    Simon Heffer sees Irish unity as a lesser evil to the current evil of PSF in Her Majesty’s administration.

    So, neither of the three see Irish unity an option that has intrinsic merit: all three postulate the notion as a way of expressing their respective disgust at current events. McCartney in particular sees it as preferable to the society of the north being morally contaminated by having PSF thugs in the Assembly.

    If their opinions count so much to you that you have spammed them on various boards, then you must accept that their disgust for PSF also counts. Convincing two journalists and a retired civil servant (out of 800,000 unionists) that Irish unity is preferable by the simple expedient of being utterly obnoxious to them as a party is hardly a convincing argument for unity or a winning political strategy, is it? Rather it is a pitiful admission of PSF’s bankrupcy.

  • Roisin

    Mick,

    Like The Dubliner. See? There’s an example of a contributor who posts screeds but actually has very little to say. 🙂

  • Journalist

    “It has not been reported that it was a Policeman’s home targeted but I know this for a fact.”

    The BBC were reporting it by 4pm, the information the police gave was just that a viable device was found, dissident republicans were suspected after a warning was given and the motive was thought to be sectarian.

    The man who lived in the house is apparently ex RUC but as the police did not confirm that therefore it wouls bw irresponsible to report that and if media outlets did they could be sued for breaching the mans privacy under the human rights act. Thats before you even get to the ethical issue about publishing such information, along with the area he lives in.

    Furthermore, there is a further complication to the story which so far has not come out but which sounds like a much more likely reason why the house was targetted.

  • Henry 07

    Mick

    I bet conversations like this are the most boring part of your proprietorship of Slugger. I ran a bar once and it was the guys who came in every day that cribbed the most. And I don’t want to become like them. However.

    But I can only answer views that have some basis in empirical reality.

    I’d hate to be keeping a little book where I recorded examples of bias in order to present evidence of bias to someone who doesn’t care about it. In any case it is not something that can be established empirically. It is a subtle and subjective thing than that. I can’t think of any nationalist posters who don’t think it’s there. But then some people probably think that’s a position we worked out at our secret committee meetings of popular and paranoid legend.

    Our politicians went awol for four years and as a result we get to pore speculatively over the detail of bank robberies, murder and concerted arson campaigns, with a welcome break for the spectacle of an election every two years.

    I’m surprised to see a claim of reluctance over coverage of the bank job. I would have described Slugger’s coverage at the time as almost gleeful.

    That reminds me that you didn’t address the issue of carpet-blogging of particular issues.

  • Now I’m not singling anyone out for blame here, but it must be obvious that we can only follow (and on occasions break) the news, not make it ,

    No-one is asking for any more or any less than this. At present Slugger’s is rudderless, and that’s the shame because there are good debates and conversations to be had; its just that they aren’t getting blogged, due to the dispensation for tittle-tattle and focusing on the negatives be it republican or loyalist.

    Solution:
    Give all your contributers a holiday, see if the project can be brought back on track.

  • Mick Fealty

    Henry,

    “I would have described Slugger’s coverage at the time as almost gleeful.”

    Industrious yes. Gleeful certainly not.

    Henry, if you are going to make bald statements, you should be prepared to back it up. Saying it is all about subjectivity is a cop out.

    I bumped in to the guy who used to blog Res Publica on the Dublin to Belfast train a few weeks back. The strapline on his blog ran something like: “too nationalist for the SDLP, too Republican for Sinn Fein”.

    Some of us are just not party creatures. I respect politicians and activists of all classes and parties, and particularly those in Northern Ireland’s more modern parties like SF and the DUP, who clearly understand the need for party discipline and keeping a consistent party line.

    But the rest of us should not feel so obliged.

  • Rubicon

    I tend towards supporting Mick’s defence – particularly since those who’ve made the jump to supporting SF (the vast majority of its support) can find it incredulous that others haven’t made the same leap. On this bank of the river, a great deal of scepticism of SF still exists. That scepticism isn’t down to Slugger – it exists because of very real delays and splitting hairs that SF engaged in.

    Building trust is the project Gerry Adams has embarked on (if he’s to be believed) – but it doesn’t start with assuming it to be present now or a God-given certainty. Many politicians have sought to manipulate the post ’98 process – none more successfully than SF and the DUP.

    If Slugger is guilty of anything it’s that it is perhaps focussed on not following the masses and tried to identify flaws in strict party positions. This does seem to fall on SF more than others but there is more than bias that can explain that.

    I do agree with Henry that Slugger has become very jittery and can focus on the slightest perceived breach. This can be tiresome – but the thread can be skipped. I for one admire the effort and stamina that challenges strict party positions. It may be that SF get the brunt of this – but – most people in NI remain very sceptical of SF.

    That scepticism is healthy. I’d appreciate it if it had a broader target and discussed generic matters more often (though please, please NOT repartition!). Too often Slugger becomes a forum for reactionary views. It’s not the site’s fault but a sickness in NI that none here are truly free from. Occasionally, it’d be good to see forward looking views posted that challenge – like that Henry suggested earlier.

    Henry – I’d not be as concerned as you seem to be. Slugger can focus on unionist vitriol at times – and no harm. Coming from outside unionism it provides an insight I’d not otherwise have – even if it describes an ugly picture of all in the tent “pissing in”.

  • Henry 07

    Mick

    Henry, if you are going to make bald statements, you should be prepared to back it up. Saying it is all about subjectivity is a cop out.

    The cop out is yours. Your “ruling” is not sought. You are getting feedback from posters which you are unwilling to face up to. That’s your choice but don’t come over all quasi-judicial about it as if there is some process here. This is not a complaint. It is a political observation.

    Take the point or don’t take it. It’s all the same to me. The bias is not damaging me.

  • Mick Fealty

    Of course none of this is damaging to you personally since after nearly five years of posting here, precious few of us actually know who you are. As for me , I’ll take my chances.

    But, if I might borrow from the vocabulary of the ‘good Doctor’, you are getting just a tad Jesuitical here Henry. 😉

    To be quasi-philosophical about it: an observation that comes with the claim that everything is subjective is not an observation that can go any further than the bounds of its own subjective reality.

    Thank you, and good night!

  • SuperSoupy

    “Of course none of this is damaging to you personally since after nearly five years of posting here, precious few of us actually know who you are.”

    Did Mr Fealty just play the man instead of the argument. Consider that a yellow 😉

  • Mick Fealty

    You’d run a very tight ship then Mr Soupy. 😉 Night all…

  • Henry94

    Mick

    after nearly five years of posting here, precious few of us actually know who you are

    Is that a problem?

  • Mick Fealty

    Did I say it was?

  • Henry94

    You brought it up. I’m asking.

  • Mick Fealty

    I think you’ll find it wasn’t:

    The bias is not damaging me.

  • Henry94

    That would be true anyway. It has nothing to do with my username.

  • Yoda

    A belated thanks, Henry.

  • Henry 07

    Yoda

    Please, call me Jim.