The PSNI Chief Constable, Matt Baggott, has been speaking to the Leveson Inquiry about the Northern Ireland media. From the BBC report
Mr Baggott said: “The local media in Northern Ireland have an absolute commitment to the future of the province.
“They have a stake in it. And they are part of the confidence-building and they have an ownership of the issues.”
Mr Baggott said the local media also understood the consequences of the way something was reported, and the consequences of creating a sound-bite without developing the context.
“I think that’s the difference,” he said.
“The national media will come in and will report on the story for one day…sometimes for the headline, sometimes because it is a matter of national interest but go away.
“The local media in Northern Ireland have to live with the consequences of their reporting and they are very much bought into the future of peace-building.”
And part of that “confidence building” may include instances when, as I’ve noted previously, “journalists were sometimes told to hold back on a story in case they might do damage to the delicate administration…”
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”.
After all, it’s not as if the NI administration needs more press officers…