Irish Examiner bias

By Anthony Sheridan

Irish Examiner journalist Michael Clifford believes there is an organised social media campaign by some in politics to discredit mainstream media.

Increasingly in some quarters of politics, social media is used to attempt to systemically discredit the media. This is designed to encourage the public to ignore anything negative that appears in the media about a particular politician or party.

This attack on the media, according to Clifford, encourages people to ignore facts and blame the messenger.  And, he warns, the tactic is undermining the media’s role in holding power to account.

Specifically, Clifford is writing about Sinn Fein supporters who allege that mainstream media is biased against the party.  He goes on to accuse those supporters of using the bias claim to discredit negative scrutiny of Sinn Fein.

Michael Clifford is wrong, as wrong as only an establishment journalist can be when faced with the uncomfortable truth of rampant mainstream media bias. 

There are any number of examples of this bias not just against Sinn Fein but against any person or organisation, such as the water protesters, who threaten the power of the ruling political establishment.

The following is just one example from Clifford’s newspaper, The Irish Examiner.

A few weeks ago the leader of the Green Party Eamon Ryan used the ‘N’ word during a speech in the Dail.  Ryan was referring to an article in the Irish Times by the writer Sean Gallen in which he described how racist abuse during his childhood affected his whole life.

Here’s how the political editor of the Irish Examiner, Daniel McConnell, responded: 

Daniel McConnell: Questionable rush to condemn Eamon Ryan

Eamon Ryan is not racist.

The reaction to {Ryan} was astonishing and, in places, downright nasty.

On social media, the great online sewer, he was slammed.

Was Ryan wrong to use it as opposed to saying ‘the N-word’ or some other variation when making his point?

Or was he justified in saying it within the context of highlighting the abuse suffered by Gallen?

The rush to condemn did on one level smack of the disturbing pattern of the left to preach to everyone as to what speech is acceptable and which is not.

The moral high priests and priestesses who seem to go out their way to take offence do little to progress the cause of inclusivity or equality.

Four years ago, in May 2016, the then leader of Sinn Fein, Gerry Adams also used the ‘N’ word in the exact same manner as Ryan.  That is, he used the word in the context of the suffering of the nationalist population of Northern Ireland under British/Unionist rule, just as Ryan used it to highlight the abuse suffered by Gallen. 

The bias of the Irish Examiner is exposed for all to see when the favourable [and justified] defence of Ryan is contrasted against the damning judgement of Adams by an anonymous Irish Examiner journalist, hiding behind an editorial, for the very same thing.

[I have underlined what I consider to be the contradictions between the two responses]

While Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams has defended using a racist word for a black person in a tweet, his judgement must be called into question.

As leader of a political party, he has a duty to guard against making gratuitously offensive references.

Whether he likes it or not, his Sunday night use of the six-letter N-word is the kind of word that is synonymous with the attitude towards black people in America’s deep south. Whether used unwittingly or not, it a deeply offensive term.

It is simply not good enough to tell his followers on the social media platform Twitter that he was watching a Quentin Tarantino film, Django Unchained, comparing the struggle against slavery in the US to the struggle by Irish nationalists.

If it had been a film about US president Barack Obama, he would hardly have used such a racist term. So why did he use it? Having drawn criticism on both social media and the Washington Times, that is the right question which Mr Adams must ask himself.

The bias and hypocrisy of Irish Examiner journalists to the two incidents is clear to anybody with an ounce of objectivity.

Mr. Clifford tells us that the so-called tactic by ‘some quarters of politics’ on social media to discredit mainstream media is undermining the media’s role in holding power to account.

There’s no need of such a conspiracy. A declining standard of professionalism coupled with an obvious bias against those who challenge the ruling political establishment are doing more than enough to undermine trust in and credibility of mainstream media.

Copy to:

Michael Clifford

Daniel McConnell

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