“self-awareness should surely be a help..”

In the Irish News last week, Jim Gibney took the party line on who’s to blame for anti-social behaviour and criminality in west Belfast. Since then, and with particular reference to the Squinter episode, Tom Kelly has had his say, “Freedom of speech would be a good starting point, including the right to critique the record of the local MP”, and Susan McKay was pointed in her column, “Talk about sackcloth and ashes.” But perhaps the most effective criticism comes from Fionnula O’Connor in the Irish Times today [subs req],

Sinn Féin in Stormont has failed to shine and Martin McGuinness powersharing with Ian Paisley has its drawbacks, not least relegation for Adams. It is a long time since he last looked presidential, and now he has lost face at home. In its own defence, “the West” long ago became self-aggrandising. It is struggling to adjust to the most predictable of outcomes – that an end to war would not deliver prosperity and crime-free streets, no more than in Harriet Harman’s Peckham or Ahern’s Dublin.

Fionnula O’Connor goes on to say

Signing up to support civil policing produced no miracles beyond the spectacle of senior officers sitting down in public meetings with local people. Not at all surprisingly, the PSNI has not defeated “the hoods” any more than IRA beatings, shootings, exiling and the occasional “execution” did.

Some locals always jibbed at Sinn Féin dominance, though not necessarily because they loathed the IRA. It was the new establishment many disliked: agencies fronted by Adams’s supporters, cheerleaders at cultural events not exactly rattling jewellery in the best seats but setting a communal tone, with a backbeat of IRA enforcement.

Most acknowledged the uplift for a formerly downtrodden community, but resented the imposition nonetheless.

The violent deaths of two local men who apparently confronted young hoodlums have pointed up painful reality – perhaps most for ageing republicans aware of their own mortality.

Without the IRA at their backs, some have arrived on the doorsteps of “problem families” to be told where to go, or, worse, asked who they think they are.

It may be that leadership status has to be won afresh in west Belfast. Ranting against inadequate policing lets off steam, but is a diversion, like attacking critics – as Adams may have found out already. “Do nothing of any knee-jerk,” he once idiosyncratically appealed to republicans, at a tense moment for negotiations. But knee-jerk he did when lambasted a fortnight ago by the Squinter column in the Andersonstown News. Squinter is editor Robin Livingstone: the Andytown News has been Pravda to the Sinn Féin Kremlin. Blaming Adams – because he has been an MP for 20 years – for shirking responsibility for local ills might have been a mite skewed, but Squinter the rebel was a revelation.

The rebellion was brief. The next edition carried a stiff Adams objection on the front page and a slavish apology. Squinter’s defiance and the raft of substantially supportive responses – one comparing Sinn Féin unfavourably with Ian Paisley jnr’s lobbying at St Andrews for his “own people” – were wiped from the paper’s website.

Obviously nobody dared tell the Dear Leader what a comedown this was from windy talk about democracy and equality.

He may grudge the limelight to Deputy First Minister Martin. But if you want to stay number one in a collective leadership, self-awareness should surely be a help.

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  • Jer

    There would appear to be sustained effort at story creation taking place. Politics in the North is losing its headline grabbing factor and there is a large body of correspondents who rely on it as justification for their positions. While there may be a story buried deep here its being lost or distorted by a burning desire to grab another headline and as a result this is being magnified into something greater than it is. Freedom of speech is one element of journalism the other element is getting copy out and making sure your included in next year’s budget provisions. This story will cycle around for a few more days and then fizzle out.

  • Steve Jobs

    The Squinter article – and the mostly positive comments it received were previously on the Andytown News website. But they have mysteriously disappeared.

    However, nothing disappears forever on the Internet and in the spirit of its ‘Do No Harm’ company motto – Google has cached this very interesting west Belfast debate.

    You can read the comments here.

  • longlake

    Criticism takes many forms and one of those forms is the appearance last night of a placard at Crossmaglen refering to a local Sinn Feiner arrested last week for threats to kill, g.b.h. and weapons offences and who got out on bail.
    the placard states
    “FREE THE LISBEG ONE”
    “UNLICENSED TO KILL”
    “PLEASE RELEASE JIM”

    Humour is a dangerous political tool and parties or groups which the ‘community’ are starting to laugh at need to ‘readjust their thinking’ and tell the ‘dear leader’ the truth for a change.. fionnuala is not far from the mark.

  • Good girl Fionnula

    Excellent commentary on the inadequacies of the West Belfast politburo and its chief Gerry Adams.

    It was not for nothing that I discovered that he was the Antichrist in Galway all those years ago.

    Click on my name and follow links for further information.

  • Gerry Adams is reputed to have led the IRA (Provos) in a war against the British imperialist aggressors. A key part of that war was killing local peelers, delegitimising them and taking stern action against anyone who reported child abuse or any other deviationsfrom a sterile middle class existence to them. People who reported serious crimes to the RUC were routinely tortured and killed. Now, the people of West Belfast are being asked to be the peelers’ eyes and ears.
    Joe Hendron said Gerry Adams only ever attracted one job to West Belfast: his own.

    The South’s evolution was very different. Because the Black and Tan was was an intgral part of wider national and international socio religious currents, the South was spared theagony West Belfast is now going through at the hands of their liberators.

  • An Lochlannach

    Nice to see Robin Livingstone, having outed Newton Emerson all those years ago, get a dose of his own medicine. What goes around comes around – censorship included.

  • Quaysider

    Does anyone in Mr O’Millionaire’s new New York media sphere know about this?
    I’d imagine the Yanks would take a very dim view of a newspaper printing a front page “apology” for a non-libelous opinion piece.

  • “The greatest difference between business in the US and in Belfast is in the culture.

    In the US, I’m bowled over by the goodwill and concrete support for the Irish Echo. Of course, anyone entering into a business arrangement with the paper wants to get a commercial return but there’s a constant supportive atmosphere from our readers, advertisers and business partners.

    There’s also a clear realisation that newspapers can only publish if they make a profit and therefore, even in promotional events such as the Golden Bridges Awards last October on Wall Street (scheduled for JFK Library, Boston, this 1 October) or the Irish Echo Top 40 Under 40 in New York on 27 February, participants understand and expect that you turn a profit.

    Underlying all that is the positive, entrepreneurial attitude to anyone who pushes out the boundaries, tries new ideas, introduces fresh concepts and rejuvenates the (Irish American) scene. People are upbeat and generous in their business relationships.

    In Belfast, business clients are much more guarded and reserved, there’s less willingness to applaud endeavour and cheer on people having a go.” .. Romeo and Juliet – from the balcony

    Well, Squinter pushed out the boundaries in Belfast – and look what happened to him 😉

  • New Yorker

    Miller is the current owner of the “Irish Echo” a weekly for a dwindling audience. Most people in NY media probably never saw it. Miller either has very poor business acumen or money to throw away. The readership is mostly elderly and thus declining. The younger audience, also declining, gets news and information online or in throwaway pub papers. It has two competitors so there is a battle for less and less advertising revenue. The quote from his blog sounds like a pure puff piece.

  • OWL

    I attempted to comment on that blog piece at O’Muilleoir’s yesterday but, true to form, it has yet to appear. I suggested that the difference between the Andersonstown News man’s experiences in New York and Belfast has more to do with the good reputation enjoyed by the history of the Irish Echo prior to the ATN take-over, a reputation not shared by the ATN stable because of events such as the Squinter debacle of this month. Once the ATN Group runs the Irish Echo into the ground as they did the Daily Ireland, I am sure the attitudes between New York and Belfast will come more into line with each other and New York will be just as sceptical as Belfast.

  • ulsterfan

    Will the US government pour money into “Irish Echo” just as the Brits supported Atn with grants.
    In the interests of parity when will the Newsletter and Irish News get their fair share?

  • wild turkey

    nevin

    an earlier draft read …

    ‘In Belfast, political clients are much more guarded and reserved, there’s less willingness to accept criticism and people having a go.” ..

    Underlying all that is the negative, monolitic attitude to anyone who pushes out the boundaries, tries new ideas, introduces fresh concepts and rejuvenates the (West Belfast) scene. People are downbeat and mean-spirited in their business relationships.
    Coriolanus – from the balcony ‘

  • Comrade Stalin

    While there is a wider free speech issue here, I have a hard time having sympathy for Squinter after his cynical touting which lead to Newton Emerson being fired from his original job, as someone mentioned above. I hope he likes the medicine.

  • Gregory

    “Stale drink, smoke and a Sacrament”

    Which was a bit iffy, is still up.

  • Ger,

    There’s a deal of speculation in your post. To be fair there is also some in Fionnuala’s but she either flags that up, or strongly qualifies it as such.

    Free speech is certainly circumscribed by law (as it should be), but it should not be moderated by politicians. Blair had a point about ‘feral media’, but having played a media game, he was not the right man for the message.

    What’s most extraordinary about this story is the silence within the MSM until Kelly’s piece, then followed by McKay and now Fionnuala. Each of them are substantial commenters who come from quite separate intellectual spaces.

    As a news story, it could be transient. But I’d rather that a clearer understanding about where that critical line between politics and journalism begins and ends is arrived at.

    I’ve seen how ministers treat journalists in Nigeria. The fear was loaded all one way. Each should share a little fear when they go to interview.

  • Northsider

    But I’d rather that a clearer understanding about where that critical line between politics and journalism begins and ends is arrived at.

    Mick – that is extraordinary. Even by Slugger’s standards given its recent descent, via Pete Baker’s frenzied blogging of late, into unionist op ed, far beyond the Belly Telly, and just stopping short of the Newsletter.

    But, to preempt your rebuttal, this is a blog and is, by definition, opinionated.

    But how can you, after all these years, start into the ATN’s position, and yet ignore:

    a) the PR job Tom Kelly does week in week out for the SDLP

    b) to go back beyond last March, the hagiographic depiction of DUP members and their party by Suzanne Breen in the Sunday Tribune, and of republican dissidents in same.

    c) Malachi O Doherty’s trumpeting of the Alliance Party – and I should point out that I have a lot of time for Malachi.

    d)Ruth Dudley Edwards constant and unremitting championing of the Ulster Unionist party.

    There are many other examples, and I’ll leave it open to other Sluggerites to point them up, but for you, now, to suddenly delineate this problem is naive at best and disingenuous at worst.

    To come off with something like that, while ignoring all of the above is a sad reflection on this blog’s political nous and perspicacity.

    We are grateful for the space to debate – thank you – but a political audit of Slugger’s engagement with the issues might prove revealing, to you if not the contributors you rely on.

  • Charles in Texas

    “I’d imagine the Yanks would take a very dim view of a newspaper printing a front page “apology” for a non-libelous opinion piece.”

    It would never even enter into our imaginations that such a thing would be done!

  • Pete Baker

    “Even by Slugger’s standards given its recent descent, via Pete Baker’s frenzied blogging of late, into unionist op ed, far beyond the Belly Telly, and just stopping short of the Newsletter.”

    I tend not to do ‘op ed’, Northsider – check the archive by all means.

    And, if I do offer an opinion, I have always attempted to back that opinion up with some evidence.

    But, in the absence of evidence for your own argument, I’d remind you of why rational argument is beneficial to all.

    Or, to put it another way, “Ranting against inadequate policing lets off steam, but is a diversion, like attacking critics..”

  • Lucy

    I don’t know why anyone would be surprised that an apology was in the paper. I hope you understand that the criticizing of Sinn Fein is not one of the freedoms you thought
    you now had. And that’s the real story. Make comments derogatory about the party and you will have people at your front door or the local pub.

    I tried to post about an article in the Derry Journal. I was not allowed to because I don’t live in NI. (What is that all about??) You should all be aware of the trouble Brendan Hughes and Anthony McIntyre and others who have asked the hard questions received. What has happened to the core beliefs that everyone was fighting for? Harassment was all they ever got. Equality for the Irish of the six counties is something I wanted for all of you. I’m not seeing it. The walls are still up and if I lived there, I would keep them up. Large groups of loyalist thugs are beating up and killing Catholics. Do you really think the PSNI, (or as I call them..the pissants) are going to help you keep safe? I’m not seeing that. In fact, people talk about tourism for NI . I wouldn’t come over there with less than two big,ugly bodyguards, with fully automatic weapons. I honestly don’t know how you stand it. The war doesn’t seem to be over for Belfast or a lot of other areas in the neighborhood. And you should be doubly ashamed for not keeping your elderly people safe. How many have to die before you get angry???

    Thank you for allowing free speech on this site.

  • longlake

    Lucy
    we are angry in sth Armagh and it wasn’t Loyalists or ‘hoods’ who murdered Paul Quinn! 6 months on and no arrests yet! Does anyone in power really give a fiddlers about the Paul Quinns of this world? No! Only a working class lad from a non political family!
    Free speech in ‘republicanism’ is like O’Leary’s romantic Ireland, dead and gone, but people must push away at the barriers to reclaim it.

  • kensei

    Pete

    And, if I do offer an opinion, I have always attempted to back that opinion up with some evidence.

    No Pete, you select evidence, Pete, and by that I assume you mean a quote from someone else you tend to run. Just as which stories you may select to run and from which angle has a significant impact on the tone generated by your pieces.

    The current threads on SF’s criticism of the police are a case in point. There is certainly a case that they are using criticism of the police to shield from some of their own inadequacies. But there is a fairly strong case that the PSNI is doing exactly the same thing, particularly as they are ultimately responsible for enforcing the law the last time I checked. But if we look at your posts on the topic, and we can do it serially if you like, we can hazard a guess at which one takes more prominence. Nothing wrong with that per se, but let’s not kid ourselves over bias and skew.

    I mean, fair enough you have to defend your public persona, but you don’t actually believe it, do you?

  • Mick Fealty

    Northsider,

    I’m glad someone was listening.

    First, just to get a minor point out of the road. Blogs are not by definition anything other than a clever piece of technology that let people do stuff they could not previously. Content Management for the people, you might say. Sandy Starr, then of Spiked online, argued in November 2004 that there was a widespread desire on the part of the media to see some generic significance in blogs per se. He asked: “why can’t we just wait for blogs to establish their own significance as websites?”

    Second, it would be ridiculous to say that comment within journalism doesn’t have a political colouring (or motive). To pick a non NI example of this is Andrew Gilligan’s tenacious campaign against Ken Livingstone. After the fact that the Tories seem to have effectively hidden Boris, Gilligan’s drip of embarassing detail will probably be the t significant factor in a likely Johnson win. Nevertheless, and whatever you think of the man’s approach to journalism (let’s just say that I am not a fan) Gilligan could be safely excluded as a factor if he was not hitting the journalistic mark with these revelations.

    In the end, Gilligan is a journalist, not a politician. If he was the latter, I doubt he’d make first base: he’s way too spikey and misanthropic. As such he will not get to decide on motters of power and import. But he should be allowed to comment on them fully, and even hurtfully. Spikey misanthropes will often point out those details that the government would rather we didn’t see.

    This is the line I am referring to, and the separation between power and comment is crucial to a free society.

    Ken,

    I would like to see Mr Baker face much more accute criticism. One of the real avantages of the blog form is the right of reply is immediate and (within legal and some public taste constraint absolute). The trouble is that Pete generally takes much greater pains with the accuracy of his work than his critics do in trying to pull it apart.

    For instance, if, as you claim, Pete is being selective about what evidence he presents or does not present, you must have other material in mind that would substantially undermine what he’s said above? If so, let’s hear it? Or is this the old ‘balance’ thing creeping in through the backdoor? On the one, but on the other?

    Finally, it seems to have escaped some people’s notice, but Sinn Fein, the DUP et al, for all that they spent years being villified as extremists are now the ones in power. I was gently upbraided recently by a member of the DUP who described my interview on More Four News on the Paisley resignation as being ‘unhelpful’. I had to laugh. I pointed out to him that whilst I will not go out of my way to be unhelpful, it is no part of our jobs here to be purposely helpful to any political party when the heat is on.

    That’s not the same as being supportive representative democracy. But as Susan McKay has argued in the past, if the institutions themselves are not robust enough to take the unexpected shocks that naturally arise, the fault lies within the institions, rather than its critics.

  • kensei

    Mick

    For instance, if, as you claim, Pete is being selective about what evidence he presents or does not present, you must have other material in mind that would substantially undermine what he’s said above? If so, let’s hear it? Or is this the old ‘balance’ thing creeping in through the backdoor? On the one, but on the other?

    I gave a perfectly adequate example to support my point, and I see no reason why I should have to produce a hundred more on demand. The angle Pete took in that particular case was clear. I’m simply pointing out that other analysis and tone was perfectly possible.

    Pete takes a particular line; fair enough and I don’t have any particular requirement for “balance”. But the idea Pete is some paragon of objectivity or his posts are not coloured by his worldview is frankly absurd.

  • Mick Fealty

    Adequate for whom? You referenced another thread without proffering any evidence for your statement.

    The idea that Pete is some sort of paragon of objectivity is a straw man ken. You don’t need to buy into the idea of pristine objectivity to see plainly that some work is more rigorous than others.

    “…no reason why I should have to produce a hundred more on demand”

    Absolutely. But you raised expectations yourself when you said, “if we look at your posts on the topic, and we can do it serially if you like”.

    ……….tumbleweed

  • kensei

    Adequate for whom? You referenced another thread without proffering any evidence for your statement.

    Have I slipped into Pig Spainish again? I referenced an another thread as an example of how you can say nothing untrue, “offer evidence” and still be pushing a line.

    The idea that Pete is some sort of paragon of objectivity is a straw man ken. You don’t need to buy into the idea that some work is more rigorous than others.

    No it’s not a straw man, else we end up with “He’s very rigorous at pushing a line.”. Rigor says little about actual comment or bias, which I believe was at issue – via Pete Baker’s frenzied blogging of late, into unionist op ed

    But you are pushing “rigour”. Who is working a straw man here, Mick?

    Absolutely. But you raised expectations yourself when you said, “if we look at your posts on the topic, and we can do it serially if you like”.

    ……….tumbleweed ”

    Pete created a thread on Fionnula O’Connor’s article. He then creates a separate thread on the controversy which is titled with a quote from that that article, and subsequently serves to colour the rest of the discussion. You cannot title your thread “Ranting against inadequate policing lets off steam, but is a diversion, like attacking critics..” and simultaneously pretend you are not going to influence opinion with it. I can guarantee the next thread on the topic by Pete will contain references to both, and push the same line.

    If you want examples for other topics Mick then I suggest you start reading your own site.

  • Mick Fealty

    Maybe it’s me, but you are not making any sense here ken. Are you complaining about this thread because it is derivative of an earlier one? If so, why?

    I admit that I do care about rigour in a way that I just don’t about bias. You clearly see it the other way round. Rigour is no guarantee of ‘truth’, but I am inclined to give it more attention than an apparently content-less rebuttal.

    You promised ‘information’ that you since appear to have resiled from producing. I don’t need to see that information. But I would like to know what your essential objection to Pete’s work is.

    “…you cannot title your thread ‘Ranting against inadequate policing lets off steam, but is a diversion, like attacking critics..’ and simultaneously pretend you are not going to influence opinion with it.”

    As I look up, I see we are drifting effortlessly from the point in this thread, to the allleged motivation of the writer (thereby creating a strictly ad homenim argument). I picked Gilligan as an illustrative example above of a journalist whose work I don’t like, but who I am forced to admit has brought created a public value, because on some level he has stuck rigorously to his journalistic last.

    By elevating bias over rigour, you are amongst other things creating a (self-serving?) elision between power politics and the media. That is a dangerous route to go if you value in the least the principle of a free media (mainstream or otherwise).

  • kensei

    Maybe it’s me, but you are not making any sense here ken. Are you complaining about this thread because it is derivative of an earlier one? If so, why?

    Well, I could level that accusation at any number of his threads because it’s irritating when he does it within three posts of the first one, but no, that wasn’t the point.

    But the discussion was about bias. Pete claims he has none and offers no opinions, save where they are rigorous backed with evidence. I don’t mind bias, I browse some of the Unionist blogs (or occasionally worse, Tory ones) for example, I just don’t like this claim when it’s obviously false.

    I admit that I do care about rigour in a way that I just don’t about bias. You clearly see it the other way round. Rigour is no guarantee of ‘truth’, but I am inclined to give it more attention than an apparently content-less rebuttal.

    I have a degree in a mathematical discipline: rigor is vital, Mick. It’s important, I’m glad someone is doing it but it isn’t the be all and end all. I’m generally more enthused at interesting ideas at a higher conceptual level than chasing down every comma.

    Something that offers intellectual challenge or an interesting point rather than rigorous analysis is not more or less worthy. They simply perform different functions.

    You promised ‘information’ that you since appear to have resiled from producing. I don’t need to see that information. But I would like to know what your essential objection to Pete’s work is.

    I didn’t promise any more information than I gave. If you want further examples of the same line towed in the recent articles on criticism of the PSNI, go back and read through the Taser ones, or the last time SF met the Policing Boards and one of the Unionist members made a comment about not attacking the police. the line and Pete’s opinions are the same and easily read between the lines. Read his constant use of “supernaturalists” in science or religious posts. Then come back and claim no bias or opinion.

    I dislike Pete’s style immensely but I believe that is already well documented. I also dislike his attitude when he graciously decides to enlighten the plebs. But also well documented.

    As I look up, I see we are drifting effortlessly from the point in this thread, to the allleged motivation of the writer (thereby creating a strictly ad homenim argument).

    The accusation was of bias or otherwise. Again, what you initial took issue with was via Pete Baker’s frenzied blogging of late, into unionist op ed, and subsequently Pete claimed he didn’t offer opinions. Pete’s posts are therefore are the ball, unless you want me to somehow make my point about framing argument and implicit opinion without making reference to them. What I think about Pete is neither here nor there in this regard.

    By elevating bias over rigour, you are amongst other things creating a (self-serving?) elision between power politics and the media. That is a dangerous route to go if you value in the least the principle of a free media (mainstream or otherwise).

    I don’t elevate bias over anything. If Pete’s posts were not rigorous I could criticise him for that, independently of anything else. If he is claiming no bias and that he’s not offering any opinion while quite clearly doing so, I am free to challenge him on that, independently of anything else. This is a huge straw man, Mick.

  • Mick Fealty

    Okay. In the interests of said rigour, let’s look at this alleged claim to objectivity on Pete’s part:

    “I tend not to do ‘op ed’, Northsider – check the archive by all means. And, if I do offer an opinion, I have always attempted to back that opinion up with some evidence.”

    This is where your mathematical attention to detail seems to have failed you. You’ve factored a very specific statement that he generally doesn’t do op-ed, up into a claim (by Pete) to objectivity and freedom from bias. I see no evidence that he has ever made such a claim.

    I don’t, and I am sure Pete doesn’t, resent the fact you don’t like the way he does things. If you make effective interventions in a public space, you should not expect everyone to love you or your work. Personally, I don’t see him as a spikey misanthrope, although others may demur.

    Yet it is the very utility of Baker’s approach is what you seem to object to: i.e. that he visits and re-visits the same material each time there is a new piece of evidence in the same story. In this scenario, a story is never truly yesterday’s chip paper.

  • kensei

    This is where your mathematical attention to detail seems to have failed you. You’ve factored a very specific statement that he generally doesn’t do op-ed, up into a claim (by Pete) to objectivity and freedom from bias. I see no evidence that he has ever made such a claim.

    I am almost 100% certain Pete has protested innocence against bias in the past, and this follows a theme. And no, I’m not about to go through his 2000+ (and others) threads to find an example which the only reason I’m not stating it as bald fact.

    I’d say if you were using this thread only as evidence that would certainly lack any type of rigor, Mick.

    Yet it is the very utility of Baker’s approach is what you seem to object to: i.e. that he visits and re-visits the same material each time there is a new piece of evidence in the same story. In this scenario, a story is never truly yesterday’s chip paper.

    I’m not sure an Op-Ed piece in a newspaper necessarily counts as “evidence” especially when it’s repeating a point already heard, Pete does not blog everything on a topic otherwise he would just be Newshound, the overlinking is terrible for the reader and the problem with incremental approaches is that of marginal utility, which I often feel Pete doesn’t get right.

  • Mick Fealty

    Your claims centre (in the first place) on what was said on this thread, where it took little effort to get it right. Yet you seem to have gotten it wrong. You surely don’t expect the rest of us to rattle through his 2,000 plus posts to uphold a claim on your behalf?

    Overlinking? Too much information? That, if you don’t mind me being so blunt, is utter rubbish.

    For me, the utility of systematic hyper-linking is far from marginal. For the reader is that they have access to the same primary and secondary resources as the writer. This both increases the writer’s accountability to the readership and the capacity of other writers to re-purpose it to their own means and ends.

  • kensei

    Mick

    Your claims centre (in the first place) on what was said on this thread, where it took little effort to get it right.

    As informed by my previous experience on the site. I don’t live in a bubble.

    Yet you seem to have gotten it wrong.

    No, I don’t think I did and I think Pete’s implication is clear regardless.

    You surely don’t expect the rest of us to rattle through his 2,000 plus posts to uphold a claim on your behalf?

    Well, there’s always a chance of a bit of crowd sourcing but I’m just giving a health warning.

    Overlinking? Too much information? That, if you don’t mind me being so blunt, is utter rubbish.

    Done this one before Mick. Style and presentation matter as much as content. If you present a perfectly good argument in a fashion that discourages people from reading it, or obfuscates the main point, then you have failed in one of your central duties.

    Over information? See Twain’s quote about making letters shorter, or the existence of the term “information overload”.

    So, no, to be equally blunt, you’re flat wrong.

    For me, the utility of systematic hyper-linking is far from marginal. For the reader is that they have access to the same primary and secondary resources as the writer. This both increases the writer’s accountability to the readership and the capacity of other writers to re-purpose it to their own means and ends.

    The utility of one link may not be marginal, but the 50th may well be – that’d be why it’s marginal utility. And that is particularly true when it doesn’t actually relate directly to the post but is instead included in an knowing aside, often of no indication where the hell it’s going, to make tangential points or appear clever.

    It is also entirely possible to obfuscate the main point by burying it in a huge number of sources that are very difficult to unravel. Especially true on the web. Too much of a good thing is bad.

    Again, done this one before Mick.

  • Mick Fealty

    Yeah, but no, but…

    Night, my work here is done….

  • Gregory

    “It is also entirely possible to obfuscate the main point by burying it in a huge number of sources that are very difficult to unravel. Especially true on the web. Too much of a good thing is bad.”

    Buried as to be indiscernible by the conscious mind? Otherwise it isn’t that subliminal, one highlights points,

    one stresses them, sa in, hello here is my point, unless of course I’ve missed your point, in which case you may have a point.

  • jude whyte

    It is hard to believe that an apology was issued at all but then again when i think about it perhaps i am too naive in these matters.A full hand, indeed a Royal flush has been dealt to those in the Journalistic Community[in the main the print media]who have spent years degrading this and many other working class communities in the north it was not just nationalists Communities.Every attempt to write a comment re this Apology has been censored and rejected by the ATN …a shameful day in free speech by a shameful paper which in my view should re assess its position….. to think they were once admired in this community.In a cruel irony Talkback read out a statement from Gerry Adams to day saying the apology was too much while Paul maskey vainly tried to defend the whole debacle

  • Doubter

    No harn to the lot of you – it is time to stop believing you are so important and go out there into the real world and get a job.