Sinn Fein discrimination: Granting any institution immunity from public scrutiny can easily become a habit

It’s not entirely fair to say the whole of the southern press went to sleep on the Conor Murphy discrimination case, but Davy Adams has a point that in allowing itself to get spun into near hysteria over the “Tiocfaidh ár Lámh” PR campaign the Irish press took its eye run over yet another controversial story.

And one they knew to be fit to print since most of their northern counterparts were, indeed, printing it.

It’s not good enough, Adams argues, to blame the shiftiness of Sinn Fein. They were only doing what all political parties were doing and trying to minimise damage to their own project:

Aside from it amounting to a clear dereliction of duty, the media seems to have forgotten where this attitude has led in the past. It’s all very well for journalists to daily lambast the likes of the Catholic Church, politicians, bankers and property developers, but where was the vast bulk of journalism when the offending institutions and individuals were at the height of their powers and needed to be held to account?

They were purposely shielding mythologies against realities. It is highly unlikely that discriminating against Protestants will cost Sinn Féin many votes in the North. However, the party is headed, sooner or later, for government in the Republic. If for no other reason than that, the media is duty bound to report on Sinn Féin without fear or favour.

Granting any institution or political party immunity from public scrutiny can too easily become a habit, for which a high price has eventually to be paid.

Mick is founding editor of Slugger. He has written papers on the impacts of the Internet on politics and the wider media and is a regular guest and speaking events across Ireland, the UK and Europe. Twitter: @MickFealty