Katy French, Independent Newspapers and Hypocrisy

It isn’t hard to be a celebrity in a small country like Ireland.
All you have to do is elbow your way into the clueless world of Independent Newspapers. If you can tolerate the strong smell of armpit-sweat, they’ll be calling you a socialite before you can say “talentless hack”.

At a push, if you can walk and talk, the Independent will run features about your favourite brand of caffeine drink and your controversial views on poodle-naming. They’ll call you a socialite and print pictures of you drinking with your idea-free pals in some over-priced shit-hole of a night club . (By the way, in Ireland, a socialite is somebody who drinks with the collection of red-nosed builders and leathery old former models the Independent considers high society).

The Independent is owned by a pompous, self-important, puffed-up gobshite called Sir Anthony O Reilly, and staffed by cowering sycophants whose only survival instinct is to kiss O Reilly’s substantial arse whenever his ego demands it. There is nobody on its staff I could respect as a journalist. Remember the cynical spin put on the McElwee case by one of their hacks, Maeve Sheehan?

For years, the Independent struggled with its conscience. It was once an uneasy mixture of news and ingratiating “social diaries”. Reptiles like Charlie Haughey stalked its back pages, and a bunch of corrupt drunkards, bribed politicians and criminal property developers constituted “Irish social life”.

That was in its good days.

Today, as the demands of its owner grow more extreme, the Independent has become a comic, and its editor no longer has the distinction of running a paper. He’d have more credibility running the Beano. Instead, the Independent is a massage service to O Reilly’s ego, and its staff are the masseurs. It recently adopted Bertie Ahern as a hero of moral probity after he joined the queue of politicians kissing O Reilly’s arse.

Running a close second to the Independent for sycophancy and mediocrity is our government-funded broadcasting company, RTE. It possibly shades the Independent for smugness, and primarily exists as a career outlet for a small bunch of anointed ones and their children. Even though it’s funded by all of us, it addresses itself almost exclusively to a small section of South Dublin, and is unaware that the rest of the tax-paying country exists. It shares with the Independent a tendency to create artificial celebrities, and often provides this service for its own staff through its magazine, the RTE Guide.

Katy French wandered into this world and was instantly adopted by the Independent and RTE as a celebrity. Katy was a model, reasonably presentable, moderately intelligent, not very offensive. High-grade material, in other words, for the drones of the Independent and RTE. I never heard of Katy French until recently, and I gained the impression of a girl driven by the need for publicity, and somebody who believed the media puff about her.

Katy was never off the pages of the Independent, and never far from an RTE camera.

They loved Katy and Katy loved the attention.

Katy died yesterday at the age of 24, after taking cocaine and falling ill at a party. RTE carries the story under Entertainment on its website.

The Independent couldn’t be more heartbroken at the poor girl’s death and has already devoted thousands of words to it. It’s so heartbroken that it felt the need to publish an untrue story about an Irish web-site, headed “Stars flock to Katy’s Bebo tribute”.




The Independent is so heartbroken that I expect almost the entire Sunday edition to be devoted to the story, and of course the ensuing boost in sales will be an entirely incidental and unintended consequence.

Meanwhile, the National Drugs Unit and the National Bureau of Criminal Investigation have both sent teams of officers to investigate the death of Katy French. This doesn’t surprise me. I imagine this is exactly what they also do every single time an obscure, working-class person is suspected of dying from a drugs overdose.

Wouldn’t you think?



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27 thoughts on “Katy French, Independent Newspapers and Hypocrisy

  1. How sad. Young woman, beautiful, presumably with half a brain, starts to be exposed to all the wonderful things the world has to offer a select few…and then dies of a suspected overdose. Is this what happens when fame goes to ones head?

    I always wonder if that isn’t a sign of secret unhappiness, or just a desire to get fucked up as is possible?

  2. It’s just sad and poignantly ironic that the very people who put that young girl into the public spotlight, who enabled her to basically do whatever she wanted, whenever she wanted, then made hay and stood idly by while she lay dying are the very people who’ll profit by her death.

    But what else would you expect of this country?

    Bebo and a more than likely “Special Souvenir” edition of the Sindo!

    You know if maybe another five or six of these media types buy’s the farm then maybe, just maybe there might be a sea change. But this is just pron for the D4 journos and no good can come from it.

  3. The print media seems to think sometimes that they are above the law.

    The Dubliner magazine have had to cough up €125,000 over the comotion they caused with tiger woods wife.

    the russian translator who was with liam lawler when he died was called a prostitute by the independent and she settled her case with the paper last week.

  4. Yes, agree with the above, Irish media is really brutal, no really independent voice out there, Independent News & Media really do my head in and RTE (Why are we forced to pay to listen to them). There is the odd non-controversial story/news programme on non-Irish issues but never anything on a) public service benchmarking scam, b) criminal justice system, c) exploitation of Irish/Foreign workers via agency work(majority of culprit are Irish employers), d) holier than god irish foreign policy and non aligned agenda- we should have joined NATO years ago. All two faced, gombenism, sad thing is, most Irish people too used to it, just dont care, really inward looking, if they are not directly affected which is to lose there job then hey ont care

  5. I never heard of Katy French until a co-worker was quite upset with her taking ill. Then it broke on the Sky News yellow and black police barrier ticker that she had died. The Independent is a tabloid rag.

  6. Apparently we bloggers are “bitchy and bastardly”. I never knew that. But so says Medb Ruane in D-Indo, so it must be true.

    Funny thing is, I liked her writing until now.

    Maybe I still do. Is she writing about beaut.ie specifically, or bloggers in general? Or has she been TOLD what stance to take?

  7. You only have to go into any newsagent’s shop to see how disinterested the majority of Irish people are in the world around them in general…not to mention their gullibility.
    Almost every publication features a number of so-called celebrities who, collectively, wouldn’t know a hawk from a handsaw. Or else there’s a picture of some football player in that ‘mouth open roaring his brains out pose’.
    So, is it any wonder that most newspapers are now trying to cater for what the customer wants because there’s no money to be made from a dwindling minority who want real news.

  8. Just wondering if you have the same opinion of the British “Independent”, which O’Reilly also owns. As a newspaper it’s streets, nay, whole cities ahead of the Indo. And having Robert Fisk in their stable is no small thing. O’Reilly’s “interference” must be working a lot better across the water?

  9. I don’t read it very often, Nora, so I’m not in a position to say. Perhaps over there, O Reilly would be a smaller fish in a bigger pond.

  10. I am an Englishman who has moved to Co.Carlow, and find it interesting getting to know how to read between the lines of the press here, just as I had to in England.. This blog certainly helps. Sad about Katy French, ‘celebrity’ or not, she was still someone’s daughter, sister, best friend. Even sadder that the Irish will have to go through the same sh*te as the Brits did before they accept the true nature of cocaine and its users. I have never known a coke user who didn’t lie…… JD.

  11. God man Bock. Now I don’t need to blog about this at all. You’ve just about summed up the whole public affair between French, the Indo and their readership.

  12. At least now I can say to the kids, ” Cocaine kills you” and they’re listening ( and I know it’s a tragedy ) . I’m afraid we get the newspapers and politicians we deserve ( as well as the public services ) in this kip of a country. I’m trying to remember the last time I read anything credible there, and nothing registers. Much of the circulation in the 90s’ seemed to be pushed by that drone, Terry Keane, going out about her lying thieving scumbag ” Sweetie”. So, I never buy the shite anymore. Course, that other paragon of virtue Rupert Murdoch doesn’t offer options, so we’re probably left with the staunch English right wingers for a decent read of a Sunday. Whoever mentioned the English Indo was half-right too, it’s half decent and free to read.

  13. Our local rag, the DI is another ING jumped up piece of loo roll. The quality of journalism is appalling. They don’t broach real issues for fear of upsetting their advertisers. You just gave me an idea to do a post about them at some stage down the road.

  14. Just a comment on the coverage of Katy French’s death.
    When Kevin Doyle and John Grey were sent to hospital in Waterford the Gardai searched the house for drugs nearly immediately, but when Katy French was hospitalized there wasn’t sufficient evidence to go looking?
    They left it days before speaking to people in the house, so if there was any drugs there, they had time to be removed.
    The incident in Waterford was constantly on the news, whereas there was this strange mystery surrounding Katy French’s “illness”.
    Even now, the girl is dead and all we know is there was cocaine in her system. Toxicology reports came back a lot quicker in Waterford. The well-known in Ireland obviously get more privacy. Sounds like a difference in class to me.
    And I didn’t see The Tribune calling Mr. Doyle or Mr. Grey “a role model for a generation”, so why would Ms. French be? Mr. Doyle survived cancer only to killed by cocaine. Katy survived the modelling business only to be killed presumably by the drug.

  15. That’s right Rosie. There are many questions to be asked about the two cases.

    As regards “class”, I’d have to point out that class in Irish society is an invention of a small group in the media. Most of us are muck-savages, including Katy and friends. It’s what makes this country so easy to survive in.

    One question I’d be asking is this: how long before being brought to hospital was Katy French taken ill?

    I’d also want to know where Katy and those poor lads in Waterford got the cocaine. In Katy’s case, I’d want to know how thorough the forensic investigation was: when did they examine the house and what tests did they do? Who did they question?

    In both cases, I’d like to know what the cops did to determine the source of the poison.

  16. Okay, so the indo is not going to win many pullitzer prizes, but is it really all that bad?
    As the bestselling Irish daily paper, it is certainly a lot better than its British equivalent, The Sun. I know I should not say things in the company of bloggers, who believe the place is a nest of malodorous vipers.
    I won’t add my tuppence to the whole Katy French saga. But Katy seems to be exercising the minds of bloggers just as much as the wicked old meeja.

  17. I have a pain in my testicles hearin bout “poor Katy”. Who the fuck held her down and blew it up her nose. We’re supposed to be a society of equals.BOLLOX to that.Someone anonymous dies in a doorway and its verdict misadventure but some upper class junkie croaks and its murder and investigation and tributes and “aw jaysus god love her”. Why the fuck are we even wastin time talkin bout her.

  18. Its called transference of pain and its caused by an overload of independent bullshit and some RTE “God love her sure she was a lovely girl” bolix. ears, nose, throat and testicles are all connected.

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