When “agreed truth becomes accepted, the real truth becomes a lie”

If the reported comments by Bernadette McAliskey and Gary Mitchell in the Irish Times [subs req], from the 22nd Cúirt Literature Festival at the weekend, are anything to go by they’ll likely empathise with the previously noted views of Peter Shirlow.. the Guardian’s Peter Preston.. and Davy Adams for that matter.. but probably not so much with the well-behaved witnesses, whether they ask ‘stupid’ questions or not.

Both Ms McAliskey and Mr Mitchell were highly critical of the “overwhelming” power of the media. In Mr Mitchell’s view, there was a “real truth” and an “agreed truth”, and when the “agreed truth becomes accepted, the real truth becomes a lie”.

From the Irish Times

Peace has been bought in Northern Ireland by “perjury, fraud, corruption, cheating and lying”, according to socialist and community activist Bernadette McAliskey.

In what “sane, civilised community” would anyone be suggesting that the “three male groupings” involved in several decades of conflict would “now make up a police force,” Ms McAliskey told the Cúirt Forum in Galway.

Ms McAliskey, north Belfast playwright Gary Mitchell and Croatian writer Dubravka Ugresic were speaking in the Town Hall Theatre at the weekend on the theme of “outsider/insider”. The forum, presented by Cúirt International Festival of Literature in association with The Irish Times, was chaired by Lelia Doolan, currently chair of the Solas arthouse cinema project in Galway.

Ms McAliskey, who was the youngest person to be elected to the British parliament when she was 21 in 1969, described how she and her husband Michael had decided not to move house after they survived an assassination attempt at their home in Dungannon, Co Tyrone, in 1981.

“Now I’d walk away from the North in the morning and clean the dust off my feet,” she said.

Award-winning playwright Gary Mitchell – forced to leave north Belfast along with his extended family because of paramilitary anger over his portrayal of the loyalist community – said he would like to support a “true police force where people solved crimes”.

…..

Both Ms McAliskey and Mr Mitchell were highly critical of the “overwhelming” power of the media. In Mr Mitchell’s view, there was a “real truth” and an “agreed truth”, and when the “agreed truth becomes accepted, the real truth becomes a lie”.

The media was reporting the “agreed truth”, and the real truth “doesn’t get a look in”, he argued.

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  • peteb
    I thought this was worth quoting in response to McAliskey’s bitter attack on the peace process:
    From comment is Free:
    Surowiecki notes:
    “diversity and independence” are prerequisites for good group-based decision making {because the best collective decisions are the product of disagreement and contest, not consensus or compromise}”