Signs of a toughening media treatment of NI’s politicians?

As Turgon notes below it looks like the HET will report the SAS was well within its legal right to return fire to the IRA back in May 1987

What’s just as interesting though is Niall Donnelly’s tough interview with Barry McElduff on UTV (the BBC took a similar line). Mr McElduff clearly does not get the interview he was planning on, when Donnelly badgers him out of his pre-scripted statement.

Instead of focusing solely on the British shot to kill policy, Donnelly puts to West Tyrone MLA the suggestion that the IRA were themselves operating a shoot to kill policy that night.

It’s a poor end to a what’s been a bad PR week for Sinn Fein. Maybe the stringent examination given by the southern press to SF’s ill fated Presidential candidacy is starting to have an invigorating effect upon their northern colleagues?

One swallow, etc, etc…

  • Decimus

    The last time McElduff had manners put on him like that was when he started arguing with that Dutch chap at the EU.

  • I have to agree. It was a bad week for Sinn Féin.
    They lost their “touch”. But probably only temporarily.

    But Loughgall is probably an issue that they would just like to forget……not just in respect of losing eight people….but more so because its just not who they are or want to be.
    People like Barry McElduff will be duly oblidged to attend commemoration rallies bbut with increasingly less conviction……just like Fianna Fáil with Liam Lynch and Fine Gael with Michael Collins.
    It placates the faithful.
    Id quibble about why Niall Donnelly needs to address Mr McElduff as “Barry”. Thats far too cosy. Politics can do without that cosiness and is one reason why its completely different from the South.
    The Media are much more at ease with Sinn Féin at Stormont than in the Dáil……and of course in fairness I dont think the Media should be at arms length…….from “Barry”, “Arlene”, “Naomi”, “Basil” and “Dolores”.

    A bad week..yes…….supporting strikes against cuts they actually voted for, the Army Cadet issue, Loughgall although they definitely took one against the head in the City Hall last night…..when unionists snached Defeat from the jaws of Victory.

    Sinn Féin 1 Others 3.

  • Chris Donnelly

    It will be interesting to see if this new media attitude extends to treatment of unionist politicians.

    After all, it wouldn’t have been too difficult to expose the mote in Ruth Patterson’s eye after last night’s performance, nor would it be a very arduous task to point out to Sammy Wilson that the absence of his own mea culpa moment, coupled with a brazen Westminster performance, amounted to the clearest of signals that the Robinson strategy lauded in some quarters had an instantly hollow ring.

    And as for that gobbledegook moment….

    Yes, there’s a helluva lot of good source material for journalists to make hay with ‘if’ the will was there….

  • Mick Fealty

    Indeed Chris. The standard should be party blind. But that only requires an independent scrutiny of the issues, and a refusal to roll with a pre-conditioned script from the respondent.

  • Decimus

    It will be interesting to see if this new media attitude extends to treatment of unionist politicians.

    I don’t think that we will see very many unionist politicians trying to defend the reputations of serial killers.

  • vanhelsing

    Good for Niall on the questioning. Also now aware that McElduffs brother was one of the terrorists shot that day.

  • Alias

    The difficult question would be which of the PIRA leaders passed on the info that led to the death of Jim Lynagh. That question wouldn’t have been answered by PIRA since its Internal Security Unit was under the direct control of the FRU. At any rate, it was lucky for Adams and McGuinness that Lynagh got n SAS bullet since both of them would likely hvae gotten one of Lynagh’s bullets if he knew they were conversing with British intelligence…

  • Decimus

    Alias,

    There are some strong hints about the alleged removal of Lynagh in the Moloney book.

  • Comrade Stalin

    It will be interesting to see if this new media attitude extends to treatment of unionist politicians.

    You reckon Robinson got off lightly then ?

  • michael-mcivor

    Seems like some making comments here do not know that Jim Lynagh was a elected Sinn Fein member- historys facts not a strong point with those who make things up-

  • iluvni

    “You reckon Robinson got off lightly then ?”

    God no, Mallie was absolutely ‘brutal’ with him according to himself and no-one else.

  • Decimus

    Seems like some making comments here do not know that Jim Lynagh was a elected Sinn Fein member- historys facts not a strong point with those who make things up-

    I think that dual membership was a well accepted fact. He wasn’t the only Sinner councillor to meet his Waterloo in the middle of a terrorist act.

  • Cynic2

    Poor Barry – fall guy for another failed SF smear operation sent out to do the impossible

    I loved his comment ‘republicans have their own sensitivities’ – a tacit admission that he was required to spout nonsense for the cameras and is not allowed to admit that these men were out to kill when they rightly and lawfully met their own ends.

    Keep er lit Barry …………………..or not as the case may be

  • Cynic2

    “It will be interesting to see if this new media attitude extends to treatment of unionist politicians”

    Dear Lord, the evdience is so overwhelming that even CD cabnnot defend teh SF li(n)e and is forced to resort to mere whataboutery

  • Cynic2

    “Jim Lynagh was a elected Sinn Fein member”

    Impossible! As Gerry told us, you cannot be a republican and a a criminal and we all know that gerry always tells the truth

  • Pete Baker

    vanhelsing

    That would be Barry McElduff’s brother-in-law.

    Mick

    “Signs of a toughening media treatment of NI’s politicians?”

    Let’s hope so.

    Chris

    “Yes, there’s a helluva lot of good source material for journalists to make hay with ‘if’ the will was there….”

    Perhaps this is a sign that the will is there? I think you’ll agree that would be a welcome move…

    Alias

    “The difficult question would be which of the PIRA leaders passed on the info that led to the death of Jim Lynagh.”

    Well, since Sinn Féin and the Provisional IRA have refused to engage with any HET investigations…

    Wonder why that is?

    Barry McElduff did point out that “Irish republicans exist, and have sensitivities as well.”

    Indeed.

  • michael-mcivor

    The media in the six counties toughening up- thats a good one and a bit late-the next elections here is a few years away-but good luck and all that-

  • Chris Donnelly

    Pete
    It would be a very good move, not least since the failure to pull Sammy Wilson up on his comments, or indeed Davy Browne with regard to his, illustrates that there are good reasons to suspect double standards in some elements within the media.

  • Cynic2

    CD

    At least weahve dragged you up to mere whatabotery on media interveiws

  • Mick Fealty

    Chris,

    Thats a comment, this was hard news with several blindingly obvious aspects to it other than the one being presented by Mr McElduff. It only needs to have a second or third reference point to make it interesting.

    The problem is trying investigate what goes on at Stormont is like getting involved in a domestic row. It all happens behind closed doors and there are no independent witnesses beyond the unhappy couple.

  • thethoughtfulone

    Is it any wonder that the electorate grouping consistently gaining the greatest support is now the “non-voter”. More and more we see two main approaches from politicians both here and in the rest of the UK, either give a response to a question which has absolutely nothing to do with the question or, totally ignore the question and continue whatever diatribe/waffle they’re in the middle of when asked (as per Mr McElduff). These have always been in play but are becoming it would seem pretty much the backbone of any “interview”.

    But the other ploy starting to come into play and which really boils my piss is along the lines of “but that’s not what I came here to discuss”, or “that’s not the subject I want to talk about today”. Any politician, elected by the public, should be prepared to answer ANY question relevant to his job ANY time he is in contact with the media or indeed his electorate directly.

    If they’re not prepared to do that (and increasingly it seems many of them are not) then they’re not even worth the small amount of lead required to form an X.

  • Drumlins Rock

    “Any politician, elected by the public, should be prepared to answer ANY question relevant to his job ANY time he is in contact with the media or indeed his electorate directly.”

    I agree up to the second ANY, getting an accurate truthful answer is more important than an instant answer, but the media wont accept “I dont know” or “I dont remember at the moment” as acceptable. I agree these excuse should not be accepted when it is the subject they are on to talk about or one they are actively involved in at that point, but not random subjects dragged in so that the reporter can scoope a story.

    The classic case is the Nolan ambush on a mentally unstable woman (he will say unwittingly but listening to the interview all I could think is go easy man I don’t think she is fully with it) he got his headlines and possibly uncovered a side of the DUP they were toning down, but it boiled down to a purely created media story. They are MEDIA and REPORTERS they tell the stories not create them.
    I also agree that Mr Mrs Ms Minister or what ever should be used in all serious interviews and politicians should be given the respect of their office whether they personally deserve it or not, Michelle Gildernew is my MP, much as I loathe the fact, and in first instance represents FST, her abject failure to do that job dosn’t detract from the position.

  • Professor Yattle

    Is Chris Donnelly’s toughening treatment of the media related to the media’s toughening treatment of Chris Donnelly?
    When was his last newspaper/radio/TV appearance?
    It seems to have occurred to producers and editors around town that hiring a someone because you’ve seen them on Slugger is like hiring someone because you’ve seen them in Games Workshop.

  • Pat Mc Larnon

    “It will be interesting to see if this new media attitude extends to treatment of unionist politicians.”

    No it will not Chris, simply because of the inherent unionist bias within much of the media.

    That simple fact has been played out within the last few days as UTV and BBC ran with the cadet story as a major crisis rather than the unionist and UVF play acting that it actually was.

    Cross the unionists and it gets personal, just as Stphen Nolan.

  • Pat Mc Larnon

    Also, let’s nail the lie that SF politicans have ever been given an easy ride from the unioinist media.

  • thethoughtfulone

    Nolan’s not a journalist, he’s an entertainment show host and anyone who takes him as anything else plainly hasn’t much of a grasp of real life.

    Speaks volumes that our elected representatives give him such credence.

  • Chris Donnelly

    Prof Yattle
    One wonders what they’d make of the type of punter who’d make infrequent appearances on a blogsite using a ridiculous sounding nom de plume to avoid having to stand over his words.

    Cynic
    I note that, amidst your efforts to drag the discussion down to personalities, you fail to address the actual relevance of the observations I made.

    That says it all, really.

  • Professor Yattle

    No answer to the question, Mr Donnelly?
    I haven’t seen you in the Tele in months.
    Did they tire of your predictable party apologias?

  • Cynic2

    Chris

    Sorry I am not playing that game.

    The thread was about a change in interviewing style.

    You attempted to divert attention from Barry’s shambling hesitation as they took him off script and start a line of whataboutery about another interview with Sammy Wilson.

    I pointed out that this was a diversionary contact and that you appeared to have been reduced to this from your usual more polemic style. You then accuse me of attacking you personally.

    I am not playing those silly games of whataboutery. Please stop the whinging and deal with the issue

  • Mick Fealty

    Chris, Pat,

    What about Comrade Stalin’s thus far unregarded question? When did you last see a SF politician have his life turned upside down?

  • Pat Mc Larnon

    Mick,

    as far as the question goes I do not believe Robinson got off lightly. If a leading SF member or leader was getting cuckolded by a youth, with the added spice of loans,corruption etc, I would expect them to get the same treatment.

    Also, I don’t think it was that long ago Gerry Adams was put through the wringer. That very much turned his life upside down.

  • Cynic2

    Mick

    I can immediately think of three cases but all are subjudice and involve very serious allegations of abuse so I will be very careful

    There is however an interesting peripheral issue. The Great Bearded One was up to his armpits in the ‘dealing’ with matters within the party long before either case broke publicly. This included allegedly giving ‘sage and supportive advice’ to victims. Slugger covered the nature of that advice very well, but the MSM were very cautious.

    Perhaps they will now have the cojones to be more probing when any legal proceedings have ended,

    Again the pattern is clear on the NIW issue. The minister jumped in with both feet to sack the Board. He seems to have been played like a fiddle by those he was supposed to hold to account – but no in depth probe. No holding to full account in the press.

    Even when he then buggered up near the whole water supply at Christmas he was off scot free. You may recall that there was an urgent enquiry set up. Has it reported? Anyone seen a report? How much is that costing?

    Then of course there is the blessed Michelle when she was in Agriculture. On current best estimates she cost us about £100m in fines across 4 years – that’s £25m a year or say £1m a fortnight. Yet where is the Spotlight programme? Where is she exposed? Who will stand up to defend the poor horse mussels almost wiped out by mismanagement of effluent despite paying the farmers 4x more than was needed to do the job – yes 4 times as much as was needed

    Now if all that doesn’t whip CD up into a defensive rage I don’t know what will.

    Mick – you aren’t by any chance trolling by asking that question are you?

  • Cynic2

    Pat

    “Gerry Adams was put through the wringer” – given what was alleged I think he got off lightly

  • Pat Mc Larnon

    Well, we have to disagree there. In my opinion the organisation that got off extremely lightly was the RUC.

  • Comrade Stalin

    I’d say Robinson got it a lot harder than Adams did, especially when you consider that the allegations around property dealing and the marital matters are arguably rather less serious than the allegation that efforts were made to cover up a child abuse scandal.

    For a period of a few months back then, it was open season on Robinson. The McKee interview was the height of that – the BBC must have known that Robinson’s judgement was impaired and they deliberately set that interview up to trap him. It is, of course, his responsibility that he walked into that but at the same time I feel it does preclude the idea that the media here go out of their way to be nice to unionists.

    On the other hand, there does seem to be a feeling that discussion of the past actions of unionist politicians does not get the same scrutiny as the past of SF’ers. It’s OK to question Gerry Adams on the company he kept in the 70s but I’ve yet to see anyone question Willie McCrea on the company he was keeping in the 90s.

  • Mick Fealty

    All of that is in the current era of politics Pat. On the Republican side the past is mostly roped off for the sake giving SF a stable point from which to begin anew.

    You are of course correct on Adams and the various abuse stories. I have little doubt that was a trying time for him personally. The anxiety was plain for all to see.

    But to return to your point (nailing the idea that the media is soft on SF), although the Adams story was broken and covered well by UTV, and few freelancers. Everyone, but everyone kicked in the hunt after Robinson.

    Again with NIW, the heavy lifting was done almost entirely by Jamie Delargy at UTV and Sam at the News Letter. The seriousness of that one was underlined by the suspension and subsequent redeployment of a Permanent Secretary out of the Civil Service within 24 hours of its screening (and Murphy’s insistence that there was nothing going on under his nose).

    There’s a lot of good stuff going on. The reform of the planning system, the long over due Bain report in Education. But it doesnt help if everyone looks the other way every time a department lose millions, just because it’s under the control of a party that has certain legitimate protections regarding the past.

  • Chris Donnelly

    Mick
    Anyone thinking it would have been easy for Adams to deal with the questions concerning his father and brother are simply letting their prejudices blind them. Robinson got it very rough over the Iris affair as did Adams, though many believe both ultimately got off a bit light due to sympathy regarding what they were dealing with at a personal level.
    However, it is merely stating facts to point out that the utterances of Dodds and Wilson at party conference could’ve been used by the media to immediately rubbish robinson’s rhetoric.

  • Pat Mc Larnon

    A bizarre claim Mick, who or what are the people responsible for roping off the past to give SF a stable background? Can you give even one credible example to back up that point? Is it a case, a la the going soft routin,e that if you repeat it often renough it will become an established fact?

    As regards Robinson the simple fact is that both he and his wife were at that time major political players. There was the very real claim of political corruption. Last time I checked that was illegal. There was never any, repeat any claim that Adams had been involved in anything illegal regarding the unproven allegations against his brother.

    As I stated in a previous post the unionist media and their hangers on turned a Nelsonian blind eye to the very serious allegations of RUC inaction. indeed the allegations that they did not see a crime, rather an opportunity.

  • Mick Fealty

    The Adams story was fascinating, not least because it took the then West Belfast MP three weeks to straighten up his story, largely in response to the re-emergence of older facts that falsified accounts he’d given previously.

    We rightly consider the mishandling of complaints of child abuse in the Church a matter for very grave social concern. Given three different cases arose in a very short period of time there is no doubt that this was a matter of grave public concern.

    None of these have yet come to a satisfactory conclusion, so there may further developments on those issues.

    Slugger was hardly behind the curve on Robinson. The point is that the whole pack was in full cry. Yet Adams jagged and contradictory accounts begged further questioning and, relative to the handling of the Robinson story, legitimate lines of inquiry were ignored.

    As for the burial of the past, what about the introduction of the 2005 Inquiries Act; the curbing of any historic investigations by the NIHRC; the limiting (initially) of all formal historic investigation to the NI Police Ombudsman; and the passing of Special Branch functions out of local control to London via MI5?

  • Chris Donnelly

    Cynic’s typically one-eyed comments illustrate what happens when one’s prejudices ensure news is sufficiently filtered to ignore facts which run contrary to the prevailing narrative.

    It would be quite easy to list a number of failings in the ministries run by unionists in the past few years- eg Nelson’s strong-arming of museums, Sammy’s blocking of global warming ads, Poots’ decision to block RPA due to failure to successfully gerrymander constituencies etc.

    Yet it is the context of this particular thread which is particularly instructive in revealing the respective blind spots of those involved.

    We have had a week in which many mainstream- and internet- commentators have lauded Robinson for his conference comments in spite of the contradictory words and actions of his own party colleagues (and of himself, given his utterances regarding Patten and the Prison Service before and during the actual speech.)

    In the same period, we have witnessed a storm of condemnatory comments directed at a Sinn Fein Mayor, who at least had the decency to express remorse for his actions whilst his own party colleagues throughout the week clearly indicated by their comments that they believed he should have acted in a different manner.

    In that context, it is entirely appropriate to highlight the fact that mainstream media have yet to hold prominent DUP representatives like Sammy Wilson to the same standard that they are applying to others.

  • A couple of points leap out from Comrade Stalin’s post above.

    * `The BBC must have known that Robinson’s judgement was impaired and they deliberately set that (Seamus McKee) interview up to trap him.’ Robinson was then and now both First Minister and DUP leader. If his judgment was impaired, surely the BBC had every right to expose him.

    * `It’s OK to question Gerry Adams on the company he kept in the 70s but I’ve yet to see anyone question Willie McCrea on the company he was keeping in the 90s.’ McCrea was questioned so regularly and directly about his links with Billy Wright and others that the DUP has long since relegated him to the political sidelines.

  • Decimus

    It’s OK to question Gerry Adams on the company he kept in the 70s but I’ve yet to see anyone question Willie McCrea on the company he was keeping in the 90s.

    Is there some sort of equation that I have missed?

  • Cynic2

    “Nelson’s strong-arming of museums, Sammy’s blocking of global warming ads, Poots’ decision to block RPA due to failure to successfully gerrymander constituencies etc.”

    Small beer to £100m FINES FOR BREAKING THE LAW in just one Department! Small beer between tens of millions lost in the NIW debacle and thousands of families without water for weeks.

    Do try and keep a sense of perspective.

    And if you want another bout of whataboutery remember Babs and the JR of her decision to close the City Hospital Maternity or all the other issues?

    Now we can go on and on with this childish game if you really want Chris, And if you want you can continue to try and denigrate or play this ‘one eyed man’ rather than try and deal with the issues.

    As for “who at least had the decency to express remorse for his actions whilst his own party colleagues throughout the week clearly indicated by their comments that they believed he should have acted in a different manner” that is a blatant attempt to rewrite history.

    the ‘apology’ was mealy mouthed and the support form many of his colleagues was fulsome. indeed we now know he was under direct orders from party HQ at the time and is a mere puppet. This was a sectarian party line. He was responsible for spouting it. You are defending that

  • Cynic2

    “who or what are the people responsible for roping off the past to give SF a stable background”

    The British Government for one

  • Mick Fealty

    Thanks for that old hack. And I have to admit that I agree wholeheartedly.

    Politics is a rough trade, partly because it involves people trading in power and patronage. Robinson came through his ordeal of fire with a modicum of resilient strength. It may even have strengthened his aprty, in the sense that it brought it up close to a deeply uncertain but often indulged alternative.

    In a polity unused to such scrutiny, it was an unusually invigorating exercise of power from the fourth estate.

    Let me be clear. Democracy is not simply about having a mandate. A mandate must count for something, certainly. It’s an expression of trust after all that people do not replicate simply by buying a newspaper. But neither is it the end of the deal.

    In return for that mandate, politicians exercise a hell of a lot of power, and it behoves the rest of us to stay awake and mind how they use it. Most of the time we defer to professional journalists.

    McKee’s interview was tough, given the human circumstances, but it was also textbook in its fairness. Would that some of his colleagues took the time and thought to prepare themselves prior to such an important engagement.

    The deal in Belfast and St Andrews leaves (albeit for good reason) an awful lot of power and influence at Executive level, and as we have seen through the NIW debacle the internal reporting mechanisms are poor and easily subject to insider manipulation.

    That’s why the general reporting regime needs to get tougher. If not so tough that it invites unwarranted cynicism.

  • Chris Donnelly

    “the ‘apology’ was mealy mouthed and the support form many of his colleagues was fulsome. indeed we now know he was under direct orders from party HQ at the time and is a mere puppet. This was a sectarian party line. He was responsible for spouting it. You are defending that

    Cynic
    I see nothing mealy mouthed in Niall’s statement, and indeed it is a significant leap beyond what Sammy Wilson has had to offer since his sectarian display at the DUP Conference last week.

    As for the “mere puppet” line, I’m afraid you’re falling into the Slugger unionist mindset of believing all of those bad catholic republicans are like automated machines, controlled by the evil powers that be in dark rooms in Republican HQ.

  • Mick Fealty

    Ford, that was too ad hominem, but it contained some useful points. Short re-write?

  • Cynic2

    “I see nothing mealy mouthed in Niall’s statement”

    I do as do many of those it was supposed to be directed at ie Unionists. Writing apologies that only speak to your own supporters doesn’t work..

  • Cynic2

    Ford

    Perhaps because it is a small place and if they do go at it ‘too’ hard the party leaders will complain and cut off access and contact making it hard to fill the news.

    In reverse that’s just what was going on in London with with Murdoch. Fear meant that even Government regulators were afraid to act and over time the whole system – Police, Government and Newspaper just became corrupted

  • Comrade Stalin

    Chris:

    However, it is merely stating facts to point out that the utterances of Dodds and Wilson at party conference could’ve been used by the media to immediately rubbish robinson’s rhetoric.

    Isn’t that what Mark Devenport’s blog here is doing ?

    Mick:

    McKee’s interview was tough, given the human circumstances, but it was also textbook in its fairness.

    I would debate that.

    If you focus on the words exchanged in that interview (rather than the tone of the exchange) I think it becomes reasonably clear that Robinson’s anger at apparent bias in the BBC has a degree of justification. McKee did not catch Robinson out on any matters of fact. Robinson was skewered because of his temperament during the course of the interview. It seems clear that the BBC anticipated this; it’s usually the more combative Noel Thompson they wheel out for interviews like this.

    For example, Robinson countered, apparently accurately, McKee’s question to him about his presence at Castlereagh council whenever the question of his land was being discussed. Robinson also drew out a suggestion that the BBC misled the valuer they asked to put a price on the supposed “ransom strip” by asking the valuer to account for assumptions that Robinson argued were untrue. I also recall a point where McKee asked if it was appropriate for the First Minister to have those kinds of dealings, even though the events in question occurred before Robinson was FM.

    Near the end of the interview Robinson also made the allegation that the BBC had known about the business of the ransom strip for quite some time, and made a deliberate choice as to when they brought it to light. It sounds to me as if he could have a point considering the timing of the allegations coming as they did in the wake of the scandal concerning his wife and the upcoming election.

    Looking back on things, I think it is quite likely that it was Robinson’s conduct in this interview – not the facts behind it, or indeed the Iris matter – that cost him his seat in May 2010. Sinn Fein are not, to my knowledge, able to point to a similar situation in NI where the outworkings of media probing have led to electoral damage. They would, of course, be able to do so in the RoI – but there are no nasty unionists or Brits to blame down there, are there ?

  • Comrade Stalin

    Cynic2:

    Perhaps because it is a small place and if they do go at it ‘too’ hard the party leaders will complain and cut off access and contact making it hard to fill the news.

    This actually does happen locally. On the day of Ian Paisley’s retirement, journalists were lined up outside the door of his office and told that anyone asking probing questions would find themselves roped out of DUP press contact.

    The depressing part is that rather than band together and walk out, the journalists chose to play by the party’s rules. There’s little hope for serious investigative journalism if politicians are able to bully journalists away from asking tough questions.

  • The yokel

    So – the executive cannot be subject to proper parliamentary scrutiny and the 4th estate has not been sufficiently robust in undertaking this role. Why?
    The executive want it this way and make it so.
    The media feel the present arrangements are unstable and don’t want to be accused of bringing it all tumbling down.
    The media think that the electorate don’t wish to have their representatives hauled over the coals.
    There is no local ‘quality’ newspaper to provide detailed analysis
    N. Ireland is too small to be governed properly at this level
    I don’t know. I am particularly puzzled by the BBC. They have the resources and the culture to take on anybody yet as Mick points out it is UTV that does the ‘heavy lifting’.

  • Comrade Stalin

    The media feel the present arrangements are unstable and don’t want to be accused of bringing it all tumbling down.

    I see no evidence that the media hold back on reporting for fear of destabilizing things.

    More likely :

    – they’re afraid to question politicians in case they fall out of favour and are roped out of breaking stories or exclusives
    – they’re just not very experienced at being proper investigative journalists, many of them having honed their trade over decades of the place being run effectively as a colony

  • The yokel

    So to be a political journalist in NI you have to kowtow to DUP/SF?
    no wonder they all look miserable

  • Comrade Stalin

    Pretty much.

    Note how in both the Robinson and the Adams controversies, nothing happened until someone – not a journalist – blew the whistle.