Brian Lenihan’s Illness and TV3

I’m sorry to hear that Brian Lenihan has pancreatic cancer.  Whatever the failings of his political party, he seems to be a perfectly decent individual, and I thought it was wrong of TV3 to force his hand by revealing such private information about him before he even had a chance to gather his family around him.

There was no public interest to be served by what TV3 did.  It was simple gutter journalism at the expense of a family going through a personal trauma that’s neither my business nor yours, nor that of anyone else.

What was so urgent about this information that TV3 couldn’t allow Brian Lenihan to be with  his family as they absorbed the shock of the appalling news and started coming to terms with it?   This is the holiday season and I can see no reason why Lenihan should not have had the opportunity to make his own announcements in whatever way he saw fit without being invaded in this way.

Crass.  Brainless.  Cynical.


UPDATE  4th January 2009

Lenihan issued a statement announcing that he intends to remain in office while at the same time receiving chemotherapy and radiotherapy.

52 replies on “Brian Lenihan’s Illness and TV3”

Indeed, and the station’s political editor, Ursula Halligan – according to today’s papers – refered to Lenihan in the past tense – she has been quoted as reporting; “Brian Lenihan was, eh, is regarded as one of the more popular members of the government.” GUBU

Who leaked this story out?

Is this the same Ursula “How do you feel now, Bertie” Halligan?

There can’t be many sources for the leak, and it certainly looks malicious to me.

I think it’s her yes. I’d say the leak it was malicious also. TV3 say they held the story for two days over X-Mass and then let it out because it was of “national importance”.

I agree that what TV3 did was quite crass, just to enhance their fairly dismal reputation. But it seems strange that the Irish Times has not even run the story yet. I just checked their website to get the ‘authoritative’ version, and there’s no mention. This raises some questions in my mind. All right, perhaps TV3 should have waited a few more days, just because of the holidays and all; but now that the world knows that our finance minister,the one member of the government who has any fucking idea about what to do, is seriously ill, I want to know the details. How sick is he; will he stay in office during treatment; if not, who will replace him; what do the markets think? Not out of prurient interest, but out of concern for the fiscal mess we are in and how we are going to get out of it. I don’t want some weak-minded sap in his job – Lenihan shows a well-judged disreagrd for almost everybody in cabinet. He doesn’t give a fuck about FF or his cabinet colleagues – he seems to be genuinely focused on saving the country for the next generation and taking the tough decisions needed to ensure they don’t have to pay the bill. We need him in office.

It’s desperately sad that he is seriously ill; for him, his family and all of us. We need him to get through this.

Bock, can you remind me of the “How do you feel now Bertie?” episode. I may have been out of the country at the time.

Apparently there are rumours that TV3 director of news Andrew Hanlon is under severe pressure to step down. There’s talk of an all out boycott of TV3 by politicians of all parties while he is still in charge. Also reports of a major advertiser pulling ads from TV3 as a result.

RE the boycott, t strikes me that they are only doing this as one of their own is affected by this. I haven’t seen politicians of all hues get together on any other issue AFAIR.

I suggest any time TV3 news does a live report from outside the dail people should heckle Ursula Hannigan and the n ews dept about the bad taste as she speaks to camera.

This one I have difficulty with.
Lenihan as a Minister in this excuse for a Government will never get a sympathetic nod from me nor will any of the rest of his thieving buddy bastards in Government.
TV3 being cynical aside, I never ever expect anything decent from a shower who can sack employees out of peevishness and petulance as they have done on many occasions. They deserve any shyte that befalls them – that goes without saying but it is mentioned for purposes of clarity here.
It smacks of disingenuousness however to declare concerns for a politician who has been central to everything that is and has been rotten in Irish political circles. The sooner he kicks the bucket the better as far as I’m concerned.
Natural justice BOCK.
Simple as that.
More of it for all in Fianna Fáil. More of it and more often. That’s what I say.

Bit of an overreaction there mr unstranger,the man,no matter what his failings and those of the government he represents,deserves a modicum of dignified respect in his hour of despair.This man has teenage kids and a wife,they deserve better no matter what corruption and political greed he may be guilty of.
Journalisitic standards are the issue here unstranger,not the failings of Fianna Fail.

BOCK, not saying that at all, I am the one without sympathy for him.

Audry, I disagree with that impression you hold but I do apologize if my take on Lenihan offends you. You are of course perfectly right in declaring your stance and I hold no ill will towards you regardless. You at least have an opinion, unfortunately it would seem I do too.

Unstranger ; There is no such event called ” natural justice ” When tragedy or trauma is visited upon a person for whom you have no affinity, affection, respect or regard, Regardless of their action or inaction it cannot be attributed to ” natural justice ”
My sympathies to anyone suffering the extremely painful illness of pancreatic cancer, My sympathies to a man and his family who were not allowed to process their private pain and anxiety without the invasion of a bunch of journalistic cannibals who run a televised version of the news of the world.
Did you know there were a bunch of complete crazy bastards who invaded the internet with all kinds of crazy tripe post the tsunami calling it ” natural justice “.? There were homophobic creeps calling AID’s ” natural justice ”
You seem like a nice guy, These are fraustrating times can’t let them shape us ?

Norma – I am no stranger to cancer. I am fully aware of what it is and what it does. Natural justice on the other hand is also quite familiar to me as I get to see it all the time. Lenihan’s illness has nothing to do with TV3’s crassness and I believe they will too get their comeuppance via that same route ‘natural justice’.
This is my belief and I have no doubts at all about that.

I was just imagining how long you last telling a Red Top Ed that you had moral qualms about intruding on a family illness – that stunned look on his face before he handed you a P-45.

Did anyone notice that a lot of broadsheets were hypocritically reporting on this under the guise of condemning TV3 for being insensitive – translated into English this means the fuckers got the story first.

The government meanwhile, seeing the opportunity for an open goal, say they are appalled by the way the story was disclosed by TV3.

Politicians needless to say, are appalled by any coverage they get from the media because that coverage is nearly almost negative.In the case of Fianna Fail they’ve been appalled every day for the last two years.

Mary Hannafin was on the papers today. She’s also appalled. She said “we’re all appalled”. She was speaking for Fianna Fianna, whom we’re led to believe are collectively appalled. Imagine all of Fianna Fail just sitting round the Dail all day, being appalled, an appalling vista.

Meantime, did anyone notice any political party being collectively appalled by the way cancer patients are treated in this country?

I hope Brian Lenihan makes a speedy recovery from this dreadful illness.

Seconds Out ; What you say is completly accurate.
It is though reflective of the Status Quo, Therefore the reality of that has been created by the people who buy into what has been made prevalant must be acceptable.
All healthcare in this country is fairly appalling, It will take a lot more than any Government to fix it.
There are good jounalists and there are journalists chasing headline copy, A p45 for maintaining ones journalistic integrity would’nt be the worst punishment, In point of fact it could catapult the gutter journalist toward the realm of meaningful journalism.
So TV3 got the headline, in the harsh world of headline chasing, what kudo’s have they earned ? The people who chase the Red Top won’t give a fuck either way, The people who don’t subscribe to that kind of journalism won’t go out and buy the gutter paper.
TV3 are at the end of barrel of production tecniques, well proven by the fickle public they cater to, They overfeed the gasping public with shock and awe while preying on the vulnerable, The public who are hungry for this get full very quickly and as in imbibing too much liquor and curried chips, mindlessly leave it all at some lampost.
TV3, what a bunch of diehard hypocrites, while maintaing their right to exposure, the whinging bastards are presently sueing RTE for a screw up in the RTE guide, maintain the status quo mantra, ” we will do what we like but don’t fuck with us, we will find a legal loophole ” Just like all the other creepy bastards.
Wonder who leaked the information in the first place ?

I am with unstrangers view on this.I dont give a toss about Lenihan and co.My sympathy is for the people him and his ilk have led up the path to ruin despair emigration and I am sure even suicide.I wonder will he get treated in the ramshackle irish “health service” or will he go foreign for competent treatment.It should be mandatory for all of them to be treated here so that Karma can run its course.

This post is about Irish journalistic behaviour, so I won’t comment on the health service.

To get the discussion back on track, I’ll say this. If Lenihan is fair game for this kind of intrusion, where does it stop? Am I exempt? Are you, if some editor decides it’s in the public interest to print or broadcast details of your illness before your family has time to come to terms with it?

It’s possible that reporting what will be defined as ” New’s ” in the coming year’s will sink to a spectacular all time low, As illness, debt, and extra marital affairs become bigger headline grabbers than starvation, war, and earthquakes.
The people who lose their homes on tv , radio and newspapers, What gutter journalist will go out there to change anything, Will they challenge the system, No they won’t, they will hammer away at their keyboards claiming ” human interest ” exposure, While the innocent and the suffering will cling to the vain hopes meted out to them by these reporters that it will alter their circumstances, These types are misery chasers not journalists.

I feel for him.

I had testicular cancer but im ok again.WHen i found out i didnt want my friends and extended family to know.ALthough they only meant well when they ring you or call to you it gets very annoying.

I just wanted to be left on my own.Not to sulk and feel sorry for myself but to think how i would get over it.Turns out the best way to do it is to laugh it off and when you are in a shop where there is a large que go to the top of the que and ask the person if you can skip in as your not feeling well.THey will always let you in :)

To provide a morsel of empathy even in passing for the pain of individuals and the collective pain of the world is the most effective way to prevent bitterness.
To subscribe to the low levels of journalistic fodder is food for bitterness, When someone elses pain becomes one’s triumphant maneouver in avoiding a p45, then all hope for decency and integrity in the future of society for forward growth become’s lost.
” When you look into the abyss, the abyss looks back at you ”
I hope you are well Damo, Thanks for that.

i wish that bag harney got the tan , this govt is a shit avalanche, i will watch tv3 non stop to show my support, for an hour!!! i couldnt give a shite about lenihan or his cancer, watching his father going yellow even with the q jump liver was terrifying…….,

The story could have remained private if he wished it to; doubtless the breadcrumb trail of information which led to the TV3 piece was deliberate.
If the story is nonetheless true; well, cancer is a vicious and evil disease but if it takes him out of politics then every cloud has a silver lining.
If, as I suspect, we are to be fed a sequence of news reports over the coming months which downplay the seriousness of the man’s condition, followed by news of his recovery, then he’s a very astute thug indeed; and even more of a cynical C**t than me.

Could you just say straight out what you mean? You seem to be talking from the side of your mouth.

All this convoluted thinking hurts my head, so if you have a theory, would you be kind enough to spit it out in plain words we can all understand?

Thought it was clear enough –
1: much media hoo-ha about the story being made public, which he (Lenihan) could have prevented had he wished.
2: much of the sympathetic gushing about the man in several print & online media outlets (not here) has already taken the position that his alleged condition excuses him from criticism. Very convenient in a situation where we had Unions declaring the breaking of the FF/Green govt. as their new year agenda.
3: Regardless of the reality or otherwise of his condition, we have already seen it presented as a worst case scenario to elicit maximum sympathy, but it has since been downgraded to ‘not-quite-so-bad’ – he’s keeping office, ffs.
Expect a Jade-Goody style soap-saga, but with a happy ending which sees both Lenn’s recovery and the diffusing/postponement of anti-govt. anger.

And, of course, this is only an opinion. We’ll see how it pans out…

Interesting take on this, Mark.
I will watch with interest, but his illness will not stop union unrest for 2010. That die is cast, and was cast pretty much by Lenihan himself.

Personally, I hate it when the media invade people’s most personal privacy.
However, I also hate it when people jump on band wagons of “o the poor man, he was doing a great job, I didn’t realise it until I heard he was sick”…. I have heard that a time or two this week.
Brian Lenihan is a part, a big part, of a most incompetent and shameful Government.
I sympathise with him as a human being.
I want him out of Government.

Just as a matter of interest when should the story have been broken? Francois Mitterand had Cancer all through his presidency of The French Republic and even went so far as to lie about it till his death! Is it in the public interest to know the medical health of the most important members of the government? I personally think it is as decisions could be made which are not taken with a clear mind ( some would say this hasn’t happened in this country for a long time)!

Mark — Maybe I’m being exceptionally stupid, and you’ll forgive me if I am, but are you saying that he doesn’t have cancer?

Rob — The story should have been broken as soon as decently possible.

Rob; That is indeed an interesting point, Just where though, does the relevance and impact on members of Government doing their job start and stop.
If information regarding Brian Lenihan’s illness is relevant information to the public, Then many other area’s of impact might also be relevant.
Such as do any Government Ministers drink to the measure it may impact on their capacity to carry out their job?
Do any female Ministers suffer from PMT or could be Peri Menopausal, would that impinge on their ability to execute their responsibilities to full capacity, should that be open to the public ?
I’m not being in any way cynical,

Charles Kennedy is the first person that comes to mind as far as drink goes he had to quit the Lib Dems leadership in the UK and I think that was the correct decision!

Would agree with you there Rob, Also the Government members in UK involved in ” expenses scandal ” have to repay.
That and the curbing of excess alcohol is extremly unlikely to happen here.
So what are we entitled to ask ? What are we entitled to know ?
I do think any person in Government or in the public eye is entitled to inform their family and loved one’s before the public ,of whatever might be covered by the media most especially a potential terminal illness.
Bock; I think Mark might be saying that no specific type of pancreatic cancer has yet been revealed, don’t know what conclusion can be drawn from that though.

I can’t believe we’re discussing what kind of cancer a man has. I can’t believe we’re debating his bona fides.

For fucksake, people, nobody is more opposed to Fianna Fáil than I am, but what happened to human decency?

What would have been wrong with allowing Brian Lenihan to make an annnouncement in his own time, having given his children a chance to absorb the information?

I don’t believe Mark has access to private, hard facts about Brian Lenihan’s condition.

Do you, Mark? Have you got the medical files?

My Father choose to keep his cancer a secret up until the treatment could no longer be covered up.
It was an extremly difficult time and he was not one to compromise his choices.
He revealed to us that the primary reason for this would be the ” greedy souless bastards ” who would come out of the woodwork to threaten our livlihood once they knew.
And they came, He was doing what he believed was best for his family.
When common decency does’nt prevail what does ?

Norma with all due respect you prove my point. It is in the public knowlege to know. Bock what do you think is a decent time do we wait till he makes the announcement himself? If so how much time do you give him? The outcry from the other press outlets is just tosh! As for people dropping ads from the station that is just bollox

Rob. Fail to see where i prove your point ?
I asked questions, i don’t have the answers but a decent time in my opinion would have been to leave the man to conduct the process for himself and his family over the Christmas period and his own holiday time, The man , it seem’s scarcely had the time to process his own acceptance of his diagnosis before TV3 were hounding him.
How many of us tried to keep family and downtime the priority over Christmas ? It’s the only time of year that most people have the opportunity to keep ” The wolf from the door ” more relevant than ever presently.
You are most likely very correct about people ” dropping ads ” as most people act in their own self interest.

Fair enough I agree a reasonable amount of time to at least inform his family and friends. My point though is that it is in the public interest and who knows maybe he would have said nothing if the story hadn’t broke! Don’t get me wrong I am not saying there was going to be a conspiracy but Mitterand’s illness was known as ” The Great Secret” so the press knew but were maybe afraid of the backlash that we see today in Ireland.
If you see my point?
Nora I sympathise with you about your Father but as you say he did hide his condition until he was no longer able too that is what I mean by you proving my point. Please read this with my respect.

That’s the point. i never denied it was in the public interest to report the story, but I thought TV3 were arrogant and insensitive to give the Lenihan family an ultimatum. Nothing was served by reporting it early apart from winning a childish race with the other stations. Somebody in TV3 is gravely lacking in maturity.

Hi again Bock just curious to know if you watched vincent Browne last-night and if so do you give any credibility to Browne’s version of events between The Ahern advisers and the journalists? Seems now that everybody on the inside was ok with the way the story broke. There wasn’t an ultimatum but instead a request ( two apparently) to ask to delay the story and the delay seemed to have been given in good faith and accepted in good faith. It seems that if TV3 hadn’t broken the story when they did the papers were going to go with it?

Sorry if I am dragging up an old Story

I didn’t see the VB programme, but so what if the papers were going to go with it? That wasn’t an ethical issue for TV3. That would have been an ethical problem for the papers.

I understand and I don’t want to labour the point but I suppose just try to point out that all the fuss seems to be being made by everybody except the Ahern Family. Ethically it seems they did the right thing, contacted the Ministers Office, made it clear the story was going to be released, listened to the request of some time for the family , notified them when it was going to be released and then did so with it seems the consent of Mr Ahern himself.
The timing was unfortunate( there is obviously never a good time for this but I mean Christmas) which the journalists could not really help.
Anyway that’s my two cents, thanks for the reply.

Was I right or was I right ?

No, it’s not actually on my pancreas, so the 4 % survival rate doesn’t apply.
No, the chemo didn’t affect my abilty to perform my ministerial duties. Or my hair.

Still think he’s a perfectly decent individual ?

For your sake, Mr. Lenihan; you sick b.stard, let’s hope you haven’t jinxed yourself..

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