“Nor have the real actors been slow to catch on to the situation and take full advantage”

In todays’ Irish Times, David Adams has some thoughts on journalism and The Process™

For a long time now the mainstream media in Northern Ireland has been acting as though its primary responsibility is to the survival of the peace process – and by extension the professional lives of its major players – rather than to reporting without fear or favour. At first glance, this may seem like a laudable position to adopt. However, in practice it has meant that large sections of journalism have all but abdicated their responsibilities to the public they are meant to be serving.

Read the whole thing.

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  • [b] No Fairies here please [/b]

    [quote]“I am sure Chris Moore and Darragh MacIntyre want the peace process to succeed, and are well aware that, as a result of their investigations and the issues they raised, ultimately Gerry Adams and/or Peter Robinson may fall, with profound implications for politics in Northern Ireland.”….. http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/opinion/2010/0114/1224262288655.html%5B/quote%5D

    Oh please, you cannot be serious, Mr Adams. The world is full of wannabe minnows acting like profound sharks and if Mr Adams and Mr Robinson should fall because of things they are not admitting to, or whatever, then someone else, hopefully wiser with baggage which is not too heavy to bear close scrutiny, will step in to take their place, for there is never a vacuum on Earth, and everyone is replaceable almost instantly. To imagine it otherwise is surely a Delusional Vanity.

    Apart from that though, I would wholeheartedly agree with you on most everything else. The search for and the accurate reporting of the truths found, is all that we ask of journalists surely, as anything else will be just a fairy tale and upon which anything built will turn into a nightmare.

  • Panic, these ones like it up em.

    No matter how important any individual may consider themselves if for whatever reason they are greeted by the Grim Reaper then this little old world just continues on its merry way.

    A genius/fool/medium joe/josephine will step into the breach and the carousel just goes on and on.

    I certainly can manage without the rest of ye. I might even manage without myself but I am in no hurry to put that to the test.

  • danielmoran

    Pete Baker. A perfect example of the point you’re making was the cringeworthy ‘interviews’ given in all seriousness by both BBC NI newsline, and UTV live. I refer to the bootlicking of Robinson by Devenport and Reid the day before the theatrical performance was rendered useless by the spotlight programme a week ago tonight.
    You would think political hacks would have known that a documentary was in the works which would lay waste to the credibiliuty of not only Robbo, but the two top reporters for each channel.
    This kind of toadying is at least consistent in these parts as the bbc and utv have bought hook line and sinker into the whole unionist narrative of NI as ‘our wee country,’ with Stormont as it’s ‘government’ and the subsidy from london as it’s ‘economy’ Pathetic.

  • jtwo

    Hmmm – didn’t Davy get the heave-ho from the BBC as part of the Talkback cut-backs?

  • Paul Doran

    Davy likes to hear and read himself.Total nonsense
    what he writes.

  • alan56

    David Adams makes a very important point and it should not be batted away so glibly. For many years a lot of journalists would never have really crossed Robbo… they were scared. Eamon Mallie proved this himself by pointing out that he had now asked difficult questions…. why not before?

  • Panic, these ones like it up em.

    Why were journalists so scared of them.

    Afraid of being kept out of the loop I suppose.

    We need some journalists that are not pre-diposed to kiss ass.

  • jtwo

    Eamon’s stuff was a load of grandstanding auld shite.

    Those questions were only difficult if he could produce evidence which would have prevented Robbo from answering in the negative.

  • OscarTheGrouch

    No fan of Andrew Neill, or his hair products, but Arlene and Alex did look like they had been summoned to the Headmaster’s office when he turned up for the day.

    I call for a public subscription to hire Paxo for a month or two.

  • Paul Doran


  • aquifer

    Great work by the BBC, I paid my license fee early.

    The price of access is too often deference. One answer would be to insist on short contracts for journalists so that they have nothing to lose and everything to gain by going for the jugular more often. How many MLAs are really up to the job?

    It could be bad form to note that the assembly entrenches and protects division, putting the power to nominate ministers in the hands of parties built on sectarianism, without even trusting the individual judgement of MLAs on who might make a better minister. Government is a dogged protection of ministerial fiefdoms. Maybe the journalists expect it to self-destruct without them having to point out its structural weaknesses or go into the actual detail of policies.

  • aquifer

    Lets have some of the lesser lights in the parties into a studio to wrestle with questions of policy.

    Our enforced coalition robs politics of content, lets get it back into the public domain.

  • Alias

    I don’t think that the BBC’s Spotlight programme is an example of the investigative reporting that the media can produce when it is independent of state control but rather than it is an example of state control of the media.

    Firstly, there wasn’t any investigative reporting in the Spotlight. A government employee, Selwyn Black, supplied the story and all of the collaborative details. Secondly, the programme deliberately included a highly contentious claim that he First Minister breached the Ministerial Code in what was a calculated attempt to implicate the First Minister in what would have otherwise have been a programme about an MLA, thereby attempting to destabilise the First Minister and conveniently rendering his political future subject to the discretion of the state.

    If the state now declares that the First Minister breached the Ministerial Code, then the state effectively terminates the First Minister’s tenure in office. While none of the codes of conduct that regulate public life have an explicit ‘duty to report’ clause that obliges the anyone in public life to report to a nominated standards authority a suspected breach of a relevant code of conduct by other people in public life, it is possible that the state could find that there is an implicit duty to do so. It would only do that if it wanted to implicate the First Minister is a breach of duty, and thereby compel his resignation.

    That potential to damn or clear the First Minister at its sole discretion and on its terms gives the state leverage over the First Minister which it can then use to ensure that he follows a course of action desired by the state in regard to devolution of P&J.

    So I don’t think that the state using the opportunity presented by the BBC’s reporting of Selwyn Black’s revelations to ensure progress on devolution is simply a case of the state seizing an opportunity created by the BBC but that it is actually a case of the state creating that opportunity via the BBC. This is just a continuance of NI’s state-servile media, and not a departure from it.