“journalists were sometimes told to hold back on a story in case they might do damage to the delicate administration”

Here’s a snippet from an Irish Times report on this year’s Parnell Summer School at Avondale House, Rathdrum, County Wicklow.

The media had not just a right but a duty to make things awkward for politicians, especially those in government, according to David Gordon, political editor of the Belfast Telegraph.

In the North journalists were sometimes told to hold back on a story in case they might do damage to the delicate administration, he said. While this was not a point to ignore, you couldn’t make exceptions, he said. [added emphasis]

If the doomsayers were correct about the demise of newspapers then society would miss journalism when it was gone, he said.

Already in an attempt to gain readers there was a danger of newspapers becoming hysterical and damaging good journalism. If things are overhyped and everything is a scandal, then nothing is a scandal, he added.

Told by whom, David?  I know it’s “a fragile flower which requires careful tending…”  But still.

As I’ve said before

I’ve no doubt of the contribution, but the “well-behaved witness” now needs to start asking “stupid” questions. Otherwise false, or partial, narratives will go unchallenged as those witnesses continue to ignore “the bits that do not suit particular prejudices”.  And when “agreed truth becomes accepted, the real truth becomes a lie”.

Living History 1968-74

A unique, once-in-a-lifetime 10-week course at Stranmillis University College Belfast featuring live, in-depth interviews with leading figures from this tumultuous era in Northern Ireland’s cultural and political history.

Live interviews with: Bernadette McAliskey, Austin Currie, Brid Rogers, Baroness Blood, Dennis Bradley, Baroness Paisley, Lord Kilclooney, Tim McGarry, Danny Morrison, Sir Kenneth Bloomfield and others…

Find out more…