The following question was asked on last week’s Questions and Answers.
“The latest MRBI poll for the Irish Times gave politicians the lowest confidence rating. Would the panel like to comment?”
Noel Whelan, political analyst, claimed that the low confidence rating resulted from the high level of cynicism in the media, the implication being the Irish people are too stupid to see beyond what they read in the papers. He also claimed that politicians do not get enough credit for their efforts to cut through this cynicism.
Sarah Carey, Sunday Times columnist, agreed with Whelan and added that Irish people were too willing to be bought off by the promises of politicians. Again, the implication is that Irish people are too stupid to notice that they are being bribed.
Stephen Collins, political correspondent with the Irish Times, agreed with Noel Whelan and Sarah Carey. He claimed that Irish people just don’t think enough about these things, practically stating that Irish people really are stupid and act simply on their prejudices.
Pat Rabbitte, politician, obviously agreed with the journalists and made the defence that while some Irish politicians were bad, they were no worse than politicians from other countries. He also blamed snide journalism and the media in general.
Dermot Ahern, Minister for Foreign Affairs, also agreed with the journalists. Politicians, he said, were neither better nor worse than the general population; politicians are perceived to be bad because they are the most under the microscope.
When the man who asked the question described the panel as smug and suggested that perhaps Irish politicians lacked competence he was quickly rebuffed.
The clip is well worth watching because it provides a valuable insight into the mindset of Irish politicians and journalists of how far away they are from the reality that they live in a state that is itself a corrupt entity.