Falling Standards in Journalism

July 26, 2017

Listening to the Paul Murphy and Jobstown media coverage I anticipated the media would investigate the claims made for an independent investigation into policing. Those acquitted would no doubt have serious issues with having been dragged through a lengthy trial following dawn raids on foot of evidence Judge and jury found seriously wanting.

Problems with policing could lead to allegations of political policing and descent into what in other jurisdictions with less a tradition of democracy would consider extreme fascism with lack of respect for democratic rights?

Something of the kind that is happening in Poland at the moment?

Instead I read an article penned by Philip Ryan that ignored the acquittal and the serious issues it raises and instead mounted a personal soapbox attack on Paul Murphy alleging harassment of “two defenceless women”. Video evidence I saw showed instead Gardai up to three deep protecting icons of our state well used to protest and political debate. They were safe and more Garda could have been called in if required.

Such investigative journalism using newsprint as a polemic for prejudice is not what intelligent investigative reporting is about. Polemical propaganda so vitriolic against Paul Murphy brought journalism down to the level of nasty state propaganda.

Turning the pages of the Sunday Independent 16 July I came upon p28. “Acolytes of Jobstown cult doth protest too much…” an article by Eilis O Hanlon. It’s a sad article that descends into sad and verbose if not bitter invective against Paul Murphy. It’s also sad in that you would expect better from a published novelist. Perhaps she has allowed imagination to win out over journalistic fact gathering and factual truth.

“He even used Dáil privilege to state that “numerous Gardai lied under oath” and had an “agreement to commit perjury”.

The trouble with this quote from O Hanlon is that her article is not investigating the evidence of whether this is true or not, it’s a part of the record of the court; but rather she ignores the implications of this for democracy itself and scorns the claims about which there is at least prima facie evidence worthy of investigation.

Its more evidence of her emotion overcoming reason when she expands her attack on Paul Murphy to attack the Left in denigrated fashion equating so-called leftist reasoning as silly with the implication her grasp of issues is nuanced and informed. Nothing could be further from the truth.

She quotes the Taoiseach “You had a fair trial and you were acquitted, but that doesn’t mean your behaviour was right.” She doesn’t go on to say what an Taoiseach also said, ““And it may well be the case that you weren’t engaged in kidnapping but it was thuggery and your behaviour was wrong. The protest was ugly. It was violent. It was nasty.”

Such nasty innuendo was not worthy of a Taoiseach of Ireland let alone a fair minded leader in any other state.

In using the word thuggery Varadkar was suggesting Murphy himself was engaged in thuggery something which he has never been accused of. This was a disgraceful assault on a member of the Dáil and an assault on his integrity and his right to good name and reputation.

These charges should never have been brought against the Jobstown 6.

Varadkar’s comments give evidence to the view that political policing happens in Ireland with the DPP it would appear friendly to the views of FG/LB.

There is clear evidence in the media of a right-wing extremely biased propaganda that knows no bounds when it comes to twisting the truth or in its efforts to bury the truth when it makes a fragile effort to emerge into the light of day.

For them the Benjamin Franklin quote to which democracy including this blog owes its roots “We are all born ignorant, but one must work hard to remain stupid” can be tweaked at this point to “We are all born ignorant, but one must work hard to keep everyone stupid”.

And boy is the anti left propaganda flowing hard at the moment. On radio allegations flow, “but the left won’t say where the money is to come from to pay for Irish water”. Lie. The left have clearly stated the rich need to pay their fair share.

What irks is the condescending tone suggesting the left have simplistically got everything wrong, that the world can be reduced to a soundbite. This is an intellectual conceit often appearing in shallow invective against any critique of the EU.

It doesn’t matter that Ireland was torpedoed by the ECB and the IMF and the issue of sharing Ireland’s bailout on member states was ridiculed and we were cast overboard.

This is not the kind of democracy the EU is made up of. The EU to a large extent engages in a form of pretend democracy.

Consider the following:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trialogue

“A trialogue or formal trialogue meeting is a type of meeting used in the European Union (EU) legislative process. Trialogue negotiations are provided for in EU treaties. They are used if the Council of the European Union does not agree to the amendments proposed by the European Parliament at the second reading. In this case, formal trialogue negotiations are carried out within the framework of a conciliation committee. A trialogue is understood as an equally composite tripartite meeting between those involved in the legislative process of the EU institutions. These bodies are the European Commission (EC), the Council of the European Union and the European Parliament. The European Commission takes on the mediating function.

Critics argue that the use of trialogues is detrimental to transparency in the legislative process. They believe the EC uses this process to bypass public transparency and the supposed opposition the proposed legislation would cause.[1]”

Now I’m not here going to disect the minutiae of how legislation is prepared and how the EU is governed in a pyramid fashion. At the end of the day democracy in the EU is as much as a scam as Bernie Madoff who was indited on 11 charges in March 2009 for operating the largest private Ponzi scheme in history. Bernie’s company won huge, prestigious awards for his business.

He employed the best mathematical brains in the country but the simple Ponzi scam behind his business was hidden from you.

At the EU level we have similar intellectual conceits that assure the suspension of disbelief minority who require answers that indeed there is democracy at EU level. Somehow, somewhere, hidden in the EU committee system, we are assured, democracy is at work. It’s just that our MEP’s don’t fully understand themselves how the Kafkaesque EU works and because of its complex and hidden committee system and its lack of transparency, it cannot be explained.

Be assured the EU in the development of complex legislation has many trap doors to trap the unwary.

https://www.economist.com/news/briefing/21602200-european-elections-will-neither-lend-new-credibility-european-parliament-nor-give

” The German government has usually been an eager supporter (of the European Parliament), not least because Germany has the most MEPs and they generally run the place. Yet even in Berlin the parliament is now widely derided. This habit has grown as Germany’s power in the EU has increased. The German Bundestag has made clear that it sees itself as a more legitimate body than the Strasbourg parliament. And the German constitutional court has ruled that it does not consider the European Parliament to be a credible source of democratic legitimacy for the EU, or even a proper parliament at all.

…….The provisions of the “economic semester”, an attempt to strengthen and co-ordinate economic policy at the EU level, as well as the fiscal compact and their associated regulations have also given Brussels a more intrusive role. National governments can now be censured and fined by the commission for missing fiscal targets; they have to submit draft budgets to Brussels even before laying them before their own legislatures. There is also talk in Berlin and Brussels of binding contracts forcing governments to make reforms at home.

…The experience of the euro crisis has thrown fresh light on one root cause of the European project’s democratic failings: that it gives too small a role to national parliaments, still the bedrock of Europe’s democracy. Parliaments exert influence through the Council of Ministers, because they determine the make-up of national governments. They also scrutinise how ministers in those governments vote in Brussels, a thing that some parliaments do more effectively than others. Many parliaments could learn from Denmark’s Folketing and other Scandinavians how best to examine EU legislation.

..Before 1979 national parliaments also had direct involvement through the nomination of MPs to serve in the parliamentary assembly in Strasbourg. But they lost this with direct elections. It was only in the Lisbon treaty that national parliaments were again given a specific role. A co-ordinating body of European scrutiny committees called COSAC was recognised and given an office in Brussels. The treaty also introduced a system of yellow and orange cards, under which national parliaments can object to EU legislative proposals on the ground that they infringe the principle of “subsidiarity”, which holds that action should be taken at European level only if it cannot be better done at national level.”

The trouble with the EU is that few know how it works, that it is not democratically accountable, that national parliaments have little say in its operation. But I’m only scratching the surface here.

The trouble with the EU is that it is dangerously out of control and that most member states have little realisation or knowledge of its direction.

Increasing numbers ponder upon its democratic deficits. We see in Ireland’s failure to succeed in the EU leading to Ireland’s economic collapse in 2010-12, failure of the EU to provide security against such catastrophic failure. This was our reason for joining so such an economic collapse could not happen safeguarded by the EU! We were wrong.

We have no democratic input into objecting to austerity measures leading to homelessness and hospital waiting lists; our politicians so stripped of power by our membership of the EU that they cannot respond to such crises in any meaningful way.

The EU no longer works as a democratic institution, instead it operates much like a globalized Berni Madoff hedge fund. Lots continue to make money and careers and a future out of something seen by the general public as remote, hostile, indifferent, unaccountable, undemocratic and well past its sell-by date.

On the surface there is collegiality and confraternity in semi transparent committees but each has a back door which allows secrecy and confidentiality where power is imposed by unseen and shadowy forces who operate the levers of power. They cannot be made accountable and we cannot rid ourselves of a growing Orwellian intrusion into our lives that makes a mockery of the Irish parliament.

On the one hand we have debate on homelessness and hospital waiting lists in Dáil Éireann; on the other hand, we have the secretive Economic Management Committee forwarding our budget proposals for scrutiny to shadows in Europe whose sole concern is that German and French Banks get back their bailout with interest!

http://www.ihca.ie/news/hospital_waiting_lists_are_out_of_control_according_to_the_ihca.446.2209.html

Yes it is a growing concern the Jobstown incident has been used by Gardai and the leader of the Irish State to mount what appears to be a fascist and extreme right wing abuse of power used against those wishing to make a democratic stand against shadowy powers in Europe forcing privatisation of Irish water.

Luckily our court system resisted such efforts to bring false charges against the accused who were acquitted. As in Poland the lesson is we should be vigilant against further efforts to politicise the appointment of judges and legal profession using the court system to punish an increasingly fragile democratic movement in our state.

 

 

 

Till again

 

End

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