“Roy is right to say there are journalists working for party political advantage”

Roy Greenslade has another post up on the subject of Mairia Cahill case. [Ahem, with the comments closed. Whose decision was that I wonder? Ed]. He cites a letter writer in today’s Irish Times EE Fanning (also a prolific and unremittingly pro Sinn Fein twitter writer):

Only journalists outside of Ireland have questioned the treatment being meted out to Gerry Adams… The gated community of journalism in Ireland has little time for fairness when it comes to Sinn Féin.”

That’s a bit harsh on Jude, but we get EF’s point, which is that, erm, Roy has been raising it. Apparently that’s not a bubble.

More seriously, here’s the core of Greenslade’s complaint:

It has blown up into a big story across Ireland in which political analysts and commentators in the mainstream media have repeatedly attacked Adams and Sinn Féin without taking on board their explanations for their actions.

To which the only response is: what explanations? He might also consider rewriting his last addendum, which he says Keir Starmer is reviewing Ms Cahill’s allegations. Mr Starmer is reviewing the DPP’s handling of the case: nothing more, and nothing less.

It’s an odd place for a former Professor of Journalism to find himself. Malachi O’Doherty was pretty direct on the matter on his Facebook page:

Roy is right to say there are journalists working for party political advantage. He is one of them. Most of those I know who have rallied to Mairia Cahill serve no party at all. There is bald cheek in party apparatchiks accusing independent journalists of political motivation.

I get the line about negativism in journalism. I’ve used it myself when I was more of a regular on the Comment is Free blog. But if democracy is to grow here, there also has to be space for disrupting awkward silences. Brian Appleyard has also made the point that identity matters:

All western – not just scientific – wisdom is based on identity. Advocates and their critics can be identified and their ideas formally tested. This is nothing to do with the statistics of crowds, and everything to do with the authority of the person. Take that away and truth and judgment become fictions.

In this way we get to weigh and test not simply the evidence but also motives and reliability of witnesses.

In Ireland’s highly distributed electoral system (north and south) has always suffered from bubble journalism of the type that holds the opinion of the ordinary (and particularly their political choices) in contempt.

But it is not unreasonable to make a case the treatment of rape and allegations of political cover up are deserving of a more focused and serious treatment. Particularly when it involves politicians ambitious to take on the leadership of a country.

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  • Megatron_

    I am a SF supporter who works in a professional services company in Dublin. Most of my fellow employees can discuss +/- rationally on FF/FG/Lab no problem. They cannot have any rational discussion about SF. I suppose journalists are no different. They do actually hate SF. Its impossible for that not to shine through.
    I do get the sense that you would hate for GA to lead SF into government Mick. That in my book is fair enough. You should probably say it more exlicitly instead of constant rhetorical questions. Even the indo can do what it wants as far as I am concerned (RTE is a different matter).
    It can lead to a bit of a boy crying wolf problem though.

  • barnshee

    Prove supporter whinges again Quel surprise

  • Brian Walker

    Mick, Roy as I’m sure you know, has a lacuna in his otherwise sound judgments. For family and other reasons, he is reflexibly a Sinn Fein sympathiser – not always unreasonably I hasten to add.

  • mickfealty

    Well, as I said on Malachi’s FB page, I’ve never had a bad word to say about him. And I’m always willing to accept that what looks quixotic in the short term can sometimes prove right and wise in the longer round.


  • chrisjones2

    The problem is not listening to Gerrys and SFs explanations – its that there are just so many of tehm

  • Robin Keogh

    So the thread really is a criticism of a journalist who refuses to join in the criticism of Adams ….hmm, interesting i suppose, if you’re desperate.

  • Zeno3

    I’d love to know from the die hard SF supporters why they feel such allegiance? It’s not as if they have delivered anything.

  • chrisjones2

    One issue troubles me. Keir Stammer is planned to be the Labour Candidate for a safe seat in London at the next election

    While I dont doubt his personal integrity in any way, professionally he’s incredibly well qualified and his judgement is first class, given his background how can he be seen as a totally impartial arbiter on this issue?

    First he is a former adviser to the PSNI. Was he working for them just before or at the time of these issues? Did he advise on any related matters at any time?

    Second, as the OTR controversy also showed, as parties Labour and SF are so close and there are so many links between them. Dont forget the ‘poor Padraig’ comment from an ex Minister superseded any concern for the victim.

    In the end perception is everything. Woolf had to resign for having tow dinners with Brittain. I think that perhaps Stammer really should withdraw from this role.

  • $33309652

    I wonder why there has been no debate about Irish Taxpayer funded banks giving 140 Million Euro to an Irish Billionaire for a loss making Media group riddled with debt.

    I have never heard of any debate as to why this should be the case.

    No analysis.


    No questions.asked.

    No eyebrows raised.


    It seems prefectly OKay to question a journalist writing in a British newspaper but NOT to discuss the Irish Taxpayer bailout of an Irish Media organisation.

    Makes you think why they so keen on the Status Quo, eh?

    Qui Bene…or follow the money.

    Of Course The Oirish Independent asnd Slugger are Big mates.

    So there is that.