Categories
Media

RTE announces €2.8 million deficit

RTE, apparently, is in hock to the tune of €2.8 million, on the face of it, a huge amount of money but not in the broader scheme. This sum might not, for instance, come anywhere close to the budget of the average county council roads area of which there might be four of five to a council.

But more to the point, it comes nowhere close to the earnings of the top ten RTE earners who are as follows:

Ryan Tubridy. €495 k

Joe Duffy, €417 k

Marian Finucane, €295 k

Sean O Rourke, €290 k

Miriam O Callaghan €280 k

Brian Dobson, €196 k

George Lee, €179 k

Richard Crowley, €174 k

Colm Hayes, €170 k

Derek Mooney, €169 k.

This comes to a total of €2,665k.

Now, I’m sure all of these are fine people who do a fine job, and of course nobody is going to work for nothing but at the same time, is Ryan Tubridy worth half a million a year to talk nonsense on the radio for an hour in the morning and more nonsense on the television once a week?

I’d take that gig and I wouldn’t be looking for €500 thousand.

Is Joe Duffy worth four hundred thousand euros a year to shout people down? Could RTE find nobody to work for let’s say a hundred grand, who might be able to present an afternoon show for an hour and a quarter a day? Is that beyond the wit of man? Is there nobody out there with the talent of Joe bleedin’ Duffy?

Are we such a talentless country that we can’t find two people to do the job of Joe Duffy and Ryan Tubridy for €200 thousand combined instead of just under a  million? Are we really that useless?

Coud we not find a replacement for Marian Finucane who might actually be able to keep the listener informed as to who she’s talking to? Does Sean O Rourke really need to be paid €300 thousand to present a morning news show? Is there nobody capable of doing the same job for a ton?

Perhaps instead of complaining about lack of funding, RTE might look instead at the cossetted inner circle it has supported since its foundation, but of course it won’t unless it’s forced to do so.

What RTE really needs is an external commission to examine it in the most intimate way imaginable, to tear it apart and to rid it of the comfortable cliques who have had control of it since its inception.

It’s high time we had a new RTE, free of the cosy circles that have fed off it since the start.

 

 

 

Categories
Dishonesty Media Racism

The Limerick Post and anti-immigrant scaremongering

For those who never heard of the Limerick Post (and that would include everyone who doesn’t live in Limerick), let me explain what it is.

The Post is a free sheet, pushed through every letterbox. It earns its crust by advertising, and to that extent it performs a useful service, especially for the dwindling number of readers who can’t use a computer. You can find out where to buy garden furniture, how to sign up for a course and what’s on in those music venues that paid for an ad.

Limerick Post

You can look up who died and when they’ll be buried.  You can read quasi-articles about anti-wrinkle injectables and fashion-show extravaganza fundraisers.

All par for the course in a small organ aimed at a smallish city. It’s good. That’s the service free ad sheets offer.

But sometimes, such publications start to get ideas about themselves. Sometimes a free advertising sheet can start to think of itself as a real newspaper and before you know where you are, it starts to take itself seriously.

That’s where the trouble starts.

This week the Limerick Post ran an editorial defending an article it published in the previous issue, and it seems logical to start there, since anyone reading it might easily form the impression that the Limerick Post was under attack.

The article is titled

[dropshadowbox]Limerick Post defends immigrant worker against attack by human rights group.[/dropshadowbox]

Now, it’s rare that we can’t get beyond the headline before starting the analysis, but the Limerick Post has given us this opportunity.

Nobody was attacked.

The human rights group Doras Luimní took issue with statements attributed to an anonymous individual quoted in the earlier Post article. That’s all. Since the Post was unwilling to identify the source of the inflammatory statements they published, Doras Luimní, even if they wished to do so, were not in a position to attack anyone.

Clearly, somebody with influence in the free sheet doesn’t like being contradicted, and in an extraordinarily Trump-like hissy fit, chose to present criticism as an attack. I think we can see where this is going. The opening sentence of the editorial sets out the sheet’s position on the matter:

[dropshadowbox]The Limerick Post newspaper has accused a local human rights group of trying to silence the dissenting voice of a vulnerable immigrant worker and stifle the right to free editorial expression.[/dropshadowbox]

There you have it. Free editorial expression. Translate that into English and you see an outraged, red-faced bully kicking toys out of the pram. And again, if the bully behind those words understood what they were talking about, of course they would understand that free editorial expression does not include the freedom to promote vile inaccuracies and generalisations. Perhaps it would be better to report births, deaths and marriages and leave it at that.

Of course, the hubris doesn’t end there.

[dropshadowbox]… as the biggest circulating newspaper in the Mid West, it had an unparalleled reputation for promoting racial equality and integration in the region.[/dropshadowbox]

Translated into English, this means …

Well, actually this means absolutely nothing. This is simply huffing and puffing. A capable sub-editor would have been able to point this out, but of course, in the times we live in, professionals are expensive.

The real meat of the editorial comes in the following shifty paragraph:

[dropshadowbox]We stand by our report in last week’s edition in which we gave voice to an immigrant worker in a Limerick direct provision centre who expressed his concerns about increased radicalisation among young men in the centre. He claimed that staff were subjected to physical attacks and mental abuse by gangs of radical young Muslim men.[/dropshadowbox]

Of course, this isn’t what was complained about at all, as we’ll see shortly.

What the Post actually reported had little to do with conditions in the asylum centre. What they actually reported was this anonymous character’s uncorroborated opinions about immigrants in general. What the Limerick Post printed was, in reality, a shabby ill-researched pastiche of a standard Daily Mail article, recast to suit consumers of a free advertising sheet.

The current editorial is a classic example of the techniques used by schoolyard bullies for generations when confronted with their own actions.

Deny. Deny. Deny.

I have no idea who the person is behind that editorial, but the attitude is certainly that of the overbearing schoolyard bully who can’t cope with being confronted. And of course, the classic behaviour of confronted bullies is to present themselves as the victims:

[dropshadowbox]We abhor efforts by Doras Luimni to try to silence the dissenting voice of a vulnerable immigrant worker and their attempts to stifle editorial expression by the Limerick Post. We will spare no effort to defend our commercial and reputational interests in the face of an orchestrated social media campaign that is designed to stifle the very concept of freedom of the press.[/dropshadowbox]

There you have it.  An organisation that defends immigrants is oppressing them, and the Limerick Post is the victim of an orchestrated social media campaign. What grade of self-pity is that? What level of paranoia, or perhaps arrogance, could prompt such a pathetic statement?

Moving on, let’s take a look at the original Limerick Post article that caused such distress.

It opens as follows:

[dropshadowbox]A man working in a Limerick refugee centre claims that staff have been subjected to physical attacks and mental abuse by individuals and gangs of radical Muslim men living in the centre.[/dropshadowbox]

Well and good. So far, the article is all about the asylum centre, even though the individual is not identified. Naturally, nobody would expect him to be identified, given the sensitivity of the subject, but the article also fails to provide a corroborating source for any of the quotes that follow. We are invited to accept that a series of statements by an anonymous individual, without supporting evidence, is true.

The man, described as of Middle Eastern origin, yet oddly assigned the pseudonym Ivan, has much to say. He has lived in Ireland for ten years and apparently approached the Limerick Post which no doubt he saw as a far more powerful organ than the Indo, the Irish Times, the Mirror or even the Leader.

In typical Middle-Eastern language, Ivan described what he saw as a worsening situation.

[dropshadowbox]I have dealt with these people personally and have had a lot of conversations with them in relation to their personal life, social life and religious beliefs. In some of them I have found a worrying level of extremism, bordering on hatred, which could potentially manifest in some sort of devastating way, as their numbers will continue to rise.[/dropshadowbox]

A Middle-Eastern man who sounds exactly like Nigel Farage is a remarkable thing.

I don’t have a problem with their religion or the background they come from, but we need to face facts, Ivan adds, which hardly comes as a shock since Ivan presumably has the same religion and background. On the other hand, of course, maybe it isn’t so surprising for a man whose language patterns have morphed so drastically from Arabic to tabloid-speak.

Moving on. It’s at this point that the Limerick Post segues from the particular to the general. Now we’re reading about things that Ivan the Arab can’t possibly know.

[dropshadowbox]There are cheaters in the direct provisional system getting protection and privileges that they don’t deserve and that should be a big concern. Obviously not everyone who has immigrated to Ireland can be painted with the same brush, but we must be careful of the wolves among the sheep.[/dropshadowbox]

This is a statement so crass that it hardly counts as journalism. Of course there are cheaters. Where there are human beings there is cheating. No Pulitzer Prize for the person who wrote this article.

This is where the Limerick Post goes into full Identity Ireland mode.

[dropshadowbox]‘Ivan’ claims all direct provisional centres in Limerick are full, and in some cases beyond capacity, as a result of the EU migrant crisis and the new immigration policy in the UK.[/dropshadowbox]

No.

This is simply untrue.

Ireland has taken almost nobody in as a result of the migrant crisis. This is plain, old-fashioned scaremongering and the Limerick Post knows it, which is why they are now engaged in such pompous, self-pitying huff and puff. Bullies hate it when they’re caught out.

[dropshadowbox]I have come to understand that the goings on in direct provisional centres are quite different from what mass media and the non-governmental organisations (NGOs) are reporting. Radical minded economic migrants, who are mostly students and workers, have filled up a large number of vacancies within the direct provisional system”.

‘Ivan’ says that many have breached their UK visa conditions and taken advantage of the open border from Northern Ireland.[/dropshadowbox]

Ivan knows no such thing.

Ivan, if he exists at all, is a worker in a single centre in Limerick.

This is guff printed by the Limerick Post because it sounds good, and sadly, it’s dangerous guff. Dangerous, ignorant nonsense that gives comfort to the racist extremists among us.

Ivan, apparently, has access to people’s medical records: I have come across people who visit GP’s for silly things such as blisters around their nails, and take advantage of what I believe is a system with many flaws.

Ivan, who of course doesn’t speak anything like a Daily Mail reporter said:

[dropshadowbox]… the Department of Justice is aware that many migrants who cheat the system in Ireland have arrived from the UK.

Why haven’t they taken any measures to deport them back to the country where they first came from? A ‘no nonsense’ stance from the Irish government will see the people who need asylum the most afforded the opportunity.[/dropshadowbox]

A no-nonsense stance. Isn’t that exactly what you’d expect an Arab asylum worker to demand? Of course it is.

Not to mention a right-wing rabble-rousing free rag with a bullying mentality and an inability to deal with criticism.

Ivan the imaginary Arab.

We await with interest the outcome of Doras Luimní’s complaint to an Garda Síochána.

_________________

Elsewhere

Limerick  Leader: “Far-right resonance”

Irish Refugee Council

 

Categories
Television

Teresa Mannion goes out in the rain

teresa mannionAs we all know, standing in the rain makes people gasp for breath like they’re on the last stage of the Everest ascent and their oxygen has run out. That’s why poor Teresa Mannion was reduced to offering breathless advice for drivers and divers.

Don’t make unnecessary journeys. Because, y’know, most of us do make unnecessary journeys, being so disorganised. It’s just as well we have windswept Teresa to remind us, like a brine-soaked Irish Mammy warning us not to run across the road on the way to school.

Thanks for the advice, Tess. Imagine living all these years without realising that it makes no sense to travel unnecessarily. Who knew? Think of all the fuel we could have saved.

I suppose it’s the anguished RTE outside-reporter face that makes the difference. The frowning face of authority.

Even though the same agonised outside-broadcast-face-people keep repeating meaningless phrases like “the river burst its banks” we still love them for their overturned trucks and their “fire brigades” and all the other little quirks that we’d gently correct our five-year-olds for saying in the hope they wouldn’t grow up to become an RTE frowning-face in the rain. We’d wish for our children that they wouldn’t become somebody screaming at a camera when they could be standing into a doorway like any normal person instead of pretending to be Sherpa Tensing.

Stand in, for Christ’s sake. It’s only Salthill in the rain and the wind, not the Haiti Earthquake. Stand into a doorway, relax yourself and tell us in a calm voice what’s going on.

The rain is relatively heavy. The wind is strong but this is not exactly Syria in the winter where millions cling to life in tented villages, reported on by dedicated and committed journalists risking their own lives.

This is Galway. The clue is in the commuter traffic calmly driving past you on a flood-free road. There are no palm trees whipping in the typhoon winds.

Jesus, Teresa, it’s only Galway. You’re three minutes from a hot whiskey and not an ISIS gunman or an avalanche in sight. And yet you’re out in the rain acting as if nobody in Ireland ever did such a thing before.

Get a grip girl.

 

 

Categories
Internet

Time for Facebook management to develop some emotional maturity

A little under forty years ago, Alexander Dewdney, a mathematician and computer scientist, postulated the existenceplaniverse 002 of a two-dimensional universe. He began to explore the physics and chemistry of such a bizarre, incomprehensible yet paradoxically simple world, eventually writing a short scientific paper entitled Two-Dimensional Science and Technology, which sold out after a favourable review in Scientific American.  Dewdney went on to write an utterly charming little novel called The Planiverse, about the inhabitants of a two-dimensional world where wars can only be fought by armies lining up and fighting each other two soldiers at a time, where a gastro-intestinal tract would split people in half, and where a rope serves as a parachute. Houses are underground to avoid causing obstructions and nails are impossible. Screws are inconceivable since they require three dimensions.

planiverse 001And yet, somehow, despite all its limitations, the Planiverse somehow works, in much the same way that Facebook works, provided you’re willing to accept rules dictated by the stunted one-dimensional emotional understanding of its senior management, most of whom, by virtue of their youth, have little life experience.

Facebook somehow works and yet manages to be even less multi-dimensional than the Planiverse, reducing the entire range of human interaction to Friends and Likes.

You Blarkkh. You Friend. Me like Blarkkh.

There you have it. This is how we’ve evolved, now that we no longer wear skins and survive on burnt rat-meat.

Instead we communicate with cyber-grunts on Facecave.

emojis facebook

Adam Mosseri, Facebook’s head of news feed, knows all about emotions.

CNET has a simpering article positively creaming itself at the idea of receiving a ten-minute interview with the man who “built” Facebook’s Home while overlooking the fact that he built nothing. Brunel built things. Stephenson built things. Wren built things. Bernini built things. Trajan built things. Rice built things. Corbusier built things.

Facebook is a website. It doesn’t matter if it falls down. Nothing will happen.

Still, Adam Mosseri understands emotions intimately, with empathy, sympathy but definitely not apathy or antipathy. Adam gets it, which is why, when Facebook decided to expand their range of responses from the single all-purpose Like grunt, he got a crowd of sociologists on the job. Sociologists, as we all know, are the ideal people to explain human emotion to a Facebook wunderkind like Mosseri and besides, they’re ologists, so they know what they’re talking about. Right? Right??

Sure, Adam.

Like!

Adam’s sociologists got on the job and boiled all human emotion down to six, in much the same way you might reduce a logic flow down to a set of NAND and NOR gates.  Magic or coincidence? You decide. These are computer geeks we’re talking about here, even if they also happen to be billionaires.

They’re geeks. Limited geeks with extremely limited life experience and little or no empathy.

Geeks who think that all human emotion can be optimised to a reduced instruction set of feelings.

And what reduced set did these geniuses come up with?

Love.

Haha.

Yay.

Wow.

Sad.

Angry.

That’s it. Human emotions in Facebookworld.

There’s no escaping the Orwellian parallels. This is Newspeak. This is Doubleplusungood. This, to be blunt about it, is bullshit.

In Facebook’s planiverse, all human emotion has been put through a minimisation table, optimised, standardised and homogenised, resulting in a much more efficient, stripped-down emotion set that will run on almost any empathy chipset.

Nice work, Facebook geniuses.

Let me remind you that these are the insecure prudes who continue to ban images of breastfeeding on the grounds of nudity.

These geniuses, may I point out, are the emotionally-stunted prudes who recently banned an ad by the Well Woman Centre promoting self-examination for breast cancer

Their reason?  The ad was too “sexual”. They reversed the decision after the Irish Times challenged them on the issue, describing their decision as a “mistake.”  Indeed.

What’s wrong with this picture? Could it be that our daily experience is being shaped by emotionally-inadequate idiot savants who have never experienced the problems that beset the lives of the adults who use their services? Could it be that we need to move beyond this and stop pandering to the inadequacies of people still striving for adulthood?

Perhaps it’s time some adult created social media for grown-ups.

These days, Alexander Dewdney is working as a mathematical biologist but maybe he could be persuaded to delve into the internet and contact the sad rich boys trapped in Facebook. Maybe he could pass on a message from the grown-up world that it’s still possible for them to become men.

planiverse facebook

 

 

 

Categories
Motoring Television

Jeremy Clarkson Runs Out of Gas

Fracas (n). The act of punching an innocent victim in the mouth.

I blame Paddington Bear, without whom Jeremy Clarkson would never have been sent to Repton, a minor public school dedicated to gentrifying the obnoxious sons of travelling salesmen such as Eddie Clarkson, and his wife, Shirley.  Their tea-cosy business was never going to make them rich and if it hadn’t been for the unexpected commercial success of their stuffed toy, young Clarkson would have ended up in one of the local Doncaster schools, rubbing shoulders with the proletariat and growing bitter for what might have been.

What a tragedy for the world and for him personally.   He’d never have learned to hide the Yorkshire accent he was so ashamed of.  He’d never have acquired the studied fake self-disparagement that earned him the love of an entire nation.  He’d never have acquired the violent swagger that a school bully learns by soundly thrashing the youngest and smallest new arrivals.

jeremy clarkson

Whatever else you can say about the English public-school system, there’s one undeniable fact.

It has unfailingly churned out generations of utter prats, all running on the same antiquated software, complete with hard-coded pre-digested jokes about Frenchmen, Belgians, Krauts, black fellas and foreigners in general, a sort of verbal secret handshake in the Masonic Order of the Prat.

You recite a pre-programmed stereotype.  Frenchman, striped t-shirt, bicycle, string of onions.

I say yuk yuk.

Now we know who we are.  I wonder what he yuks about with David Cameron.

Jeremy Clarkson is, of course a typical if rather minor product of this system, and but for Paddington Bear, he’d never have learned that endearing trait of living in the past, where the past consists of a series of wars you learned about from reading the Victor.  Where it’s possible to film Top Gear in Argentina with a car numberplate that evoked the 1982 Falklands/Malvinas war.  Yuk yuk, yukked the three middlle-aged public schoolboys.  Take that, Johnny Foreigner.

The public school is a truly character-forming system that has, for centuries, produced sociopaths who rampaged across the world, at the head of various private armies, like the East India Company.  This is also the system that produced so many appalling clods in government.

And this is the same system that produced an utter prat like Jeremy Clarkson who reverted to form when he found himself back on his native Yorkshire soil, once again becoming the school bully he undoubtedly was in his young days.

What exactly did producer Oisín Tymon do to provoke Clarkson’s ire?  Simple.  He made sure that Clarkson and his fellow presenters had something to eat when they arrived back at the hotel after the kitchens had closed and the chef had gone home.  He stayed up late to make sure they were all right after their impromptu piss-up in a local pub, and their arduous helicopter trip back to their hotel.

Well, you can see why Clarkson was so annoyed, can’t you?  What’s a 54-year-old Head Boy to do when some First Former  has the absolute cheek to tell him the hired help have gone home?

No steak and chips?  What?  Why didn’t you have them horse-whipped?  I’ll have you sacked.  You’ll never work in the BBC again.  Don’t you realise who I am?  Here, have a punch in the face and be grateful for it.

Well, one of them would never work in the BBC again, but this time Jeremy got the names mixed up.

What a prick.

Goodbye, you overbearing, pre-programmed bore.

 

 

 

Categories
Media

Mr World Challenges Mr Underworld – Kamal Ibrahim vs Donal MacIntyre

There’s no point rehearsing the dispiriting litany of journalists falling back on the tired old Limerick cliché as a substitute for proper investigation, and besides, it’s too depressing.  After all, we’re dealing with a fairly tattered flock of carrion feeders perched on that dead tree-branch, and pickings in Limerick are getting leaner by the day.

As the old vulture joke went, Patience my ass.  I’m gonna kill something, and that’s exactly what the increasingly desperate journalistic feathery ones are doing of late.  I hate to mix metaphors, but these vultures are one-trick ponies, and the Limerick story was the greatest gift a journalistic scavenger could ever have hoped for.  It was a step up from knocking on the doors of suicide victims’ families looking for a communion photo, and it had the veneer of being slightly more respectable, especially if you presented yourself as a gritty, fearless investigator, outraged at the behaviour of lowlife scumbags and determined to face them down.

Everyone’s a winner.

Your public is titillated.  The editor is delighted.  Your inner Walter Mitty (who might also be your outer Walter Mitty) is having an orgasm. The only loser is the truth, but that was never a hugely valuable commodity in tabloid-style reporting, on paper or on TV.

Of course, there is an honourable history of journalists as participants, all the way from Sean Flynn to Hunter S Thompson, but I’m afraid these three tattered carrion birds don’t fit that frame.  These boys are all about the self publicity and that’s why TV3 decided, yet again, to send Donal MacIntyre to Limerick, even though there’s no major crime, no killings and the scumbags who led the troublesome gangs are all in jail.  How odd they didn’t send him six months earlier, when Limerick was at the height of its City of Culture triumph.

Now here comes TV3 with an unnerving and sinister droning subliminal soundtrack going on beneath whatever trite, meaningless clichés he repeats, with video of feral children riding horses, just as they broadcast stock footage of Dublin car thieves last time they did a similar programme on Limerick.

Local man, Kamal Ibrahim, wrote an impassioned defence of Limerick, incorporating some of my own words, and debated with Donal MacIntyre on Liveline.  As a man who was born and bred in Limerick, who grew up here, studied here and had his entire being in Limerick, the former Mr World is well placed to challenge the former Mr Underworld.

Here’s what Kamal wrote:

Right, So I have a real f**king problem with this! (and If you’re from Limerick you should too).

Take if from someone in the business that actually knows!

TV3 have lost hundreds of hours of programming to UTV Ireland and are scrambling to create new shows to attract and retain their audiences. They’ve tried game shows like CrossFire and The Lie (which I myself did a screen test for). They’re launching a new Soap, Red Rock and are working very hard to develop programming that people will actually watch because shows like X-factor which still airs on the network will no longer be on TV3 by 2016, so yes, they have A LOT to be concerned about.

There are many talented people working at TV3 and over the years I have been lucky enough to get to know and become friends with many of them.

That said, I can’t say that I’ve ever been so pissed off at an entity in my life.

I just saw the teaser TV3 released on Donal MacIntyre’s ‘new’ documentary and I’m furious!

I just got back from spending Christmas in Limerick, my hometown. The place I grew up, went to school, got my first job, my first kiss, where I still have my friends and my family, the place that gave me the start in my career.

It was my intention, as it was for all of you in Limerick, to start 2015 with a positive outlook, despite all the doom, gloom & heartache that we (and everyone else) have to deal with, ironically, caused by all the ruling parties in DUBLIN. And staying in Dublin we can turn our attention to TV3 and the worlds laziest ‘investigative journalist’ Donal MacIntyre who, as is evident by this short clip, is also struggling to find worthy, relevant content to put on Irish television.

First, Donal made documentaries like Gangland Limerick, which used inaccurate statistics to dramatize the show. But I tolerated it. It was about all the crime in Limerick, the gangs and the headlines that it made.

Now, Donal has made another dramatic looking documentary also about limerick. But this time its not because of the crime or the gangs and the headlines, this time its about the LACK OF ALL THE ABOVE!

I feel like standing two inches in front of his face and shouting at the top of my voice to ‘F**k o** back to England and stop bullying Limerick.

This bullshit documentary commissioned by TV3 has a direct impact on the people of Limerick and more importantly, EVERYONE ELSE, especially those who have never been to Limerick before and Donal knows it. He also knows he would never get away with making something like this in the UK because he’d be sacked.

I work in television and I’ve sent TV3 a handful of fun, energetic, positive ideas for shows that could attract a primetime audience, written by me and my friends FROM LIMERICK.

But instead they’ve commissioned a ‘budget friendly’ programme that does nothing but degrade, humiliate and denounce my city and people of that city, a city I don’t recognize as the town that’s home to the World Music Centre, the Irish Chamber Orchestra, Munster Rugby, one of the worlds best sports & educational facilities at the University of Limerick, home to Paul O’Connel, Richard Harris, The Cranberries, Terry Wogan, Michael D Higgins, Peter Clohessy, Seán South, Michael Colivet, Willie O’Dea, Frank McCourt, Celia Holman Lee, The Rubberbandits and many, many, many others.

I don’t recognize the place where the creative people I know play music and perform theatre and laugh and tell jokes and cook and eat and make love and swim and fish and play sports and enjoy life. I don’t recognize that because that is not what I see when the story is told from the point of view of a faux-investigative television journalist.

Congratulations Mr MacIntyre because you’ve ticked one of the boxes when it comes to a ‘good TV idea’ – entice a strong public reaction.

But I suppose we should remember that when it comes to the business of television, it’s far cheaper to recycle old news than to invest in real stories.

Did anyone notice TV3’s extensive coverage of Royal Deluxe, Fuerza Bruta or Munster rugby?  Eh, that would be a No, Ted, since this kind of vulture journalism is not interested in good news.

Why do I care?  You might well ask and you’d be right to ask.  Why do I care what any bad journalist says?

Simple.  People believe this sort of nonsense.  It scares people away from our town.  It hurts us and it damages us.  It harms our lives and it harms our children, all to satisfy the dysfunctional needs of certain journalists and their editors.

That’s why we need to confront such nonsense whenever it crops up.

Enough of this shit.  We can’t let ourselves be defined forever by carrion birds.

 

________________

Previously

Paul Williams: New journalism, old journalism and downright bad journalism

Donal MacIntyre, Laziest Journalist in Ireland

 

Categories
Crime Media

New Journalism, Old Journalism and Downright Bad Journalism – Paul Williams Flogging the Limerick Horse to Death

If you’re not from Limerick, you might have overlooked the fact that Paul Williams is promoting his latest, latest book about certain criminals in Limerick.  That’s as opposed to his previous latest book about Limerick criminals and his earlier latest book about Limerick crime.

Oh no, what am I saying?  Of course you didn’t miss it, since the Late Late Show saw fit to give Williams a slot promoting his latest book about a bunch of has-been scumbags who are now all in jail.  His latest book in which, yet again, he’s the central, fearless character, a journalist of integrity and guts who won’t back down.  Walter Mitty, in other words.

For clarification, Limerick is a small city where nobody at all was murdered this year, unlike Dublin, where RTE is based and where people seem to be going down in a hail of lead,  like  every day is Valentine’s Day, but just like Frenchmen with strings of onions, the useful stereotype of Limerick crime makes it easy for the Mittys of Irish journalism world to churn out a handy potboiler for the Christmas market.  And it didn’t help that Williams saw fit to patronise us on the Late Late with his handy old guff about the majority of Limerick people being decent.  Thanks for the condescending pat on the head, Paul, but I’d rather get scabies, if you don’t mind.

Williams has titled his latest book Murder Inc, which is a nickname nobody in particular gave to the gang of scumbags except in his imagination, but which should alert any discerning observer to the journalistic standards employed.

Paul WIlliams O'Mahonys bookshop Limerick
Now, as it happened, O’Mahony’s Booksellers, a long-established and well-respected Limerick establishment, saw fit to host a book signing for Williams last Saturday, at which 300 people turned up to buy his latest, latest fearless exposé of the dark underbelly of Limerick crime.  I don’t know if 300 is a large number for a book signing or a small number, but at least one of those people, Jimi Kavanagh, bought a copy of the book to present it back to Paul Williams and point out to him what a cynical hack he is for endlessly recycling the same story.  This is how he imagined Williams’s reaction in print.

I was verbally assaulted by a tall man wearing a black coat. As he loomed over me, I felt genuinely threatened. With only three plainclothes gardai within reach, I thought it was the end. Here in gangland, I couldn’t be sure if he was affiliated with one of the many Ganglords (such as the Gibbon, Fingers McPhee, or Slaughterdoggy) I’d put in prison during my time. All I knew was that I had to act fast.

I realised that the man in black (or as the press have now nicknamed him, The Lurking Ranter) was connected to a group of similarly vicious and heartless men, each equally willing to assassinate my character through social media, hiding behind their various aliases. I decided to investigate further.

To my utter amazement, I found that this cabal of devious and cowardly commentators were spending their time talking about me, crime correspondent and keyboard superhero Paul Williams. Were they planning to murder me as I slept? Were they involved in the drug trade? Did they have any ties to human trafficking in SE Asia? I couldn’t say one way or another.

I assumed the Lurking Ranter was about to make his final, deadly move, when fortunately he shook my hand and departed, leaving only a copy of my book I had signed for myself as some sort of veiled threat. It’s people like him that give the good coin-spinning bookmerchants of Limerick (or as it’s now known in the press, “Limerick”) a bad name. Fortunately I had my publishing friends on hand, or the whole incident would undoubtedly have ended in another brutal act of violence on the streets of the city of fear and terror, not to mention censorship of me, Crime Journalist and professional TruthySayingMaker Paul Williams.

Ah no.  Paul Williams would never write that sort of dross.

Would he?

On social media, there was a bit of an outcry, or to put it another way, several people pointed out to the bookshop that it was an ill-judged move to facilitate the signing event, and in due course, the proprietor issued a reply, through his staff because he personally never uses social media.

The document is as evasive as it is defensive.

It fails to acknowledge most of the concerns raised, preferring to characterise those who complained as part of a small percentage of people who are offended by the contents of the book.  By reacting in this way, it reveals a failure to grasp the central point, which is that people were not offended, and didn’t complain about being offended.  They were angered that people like Williams continues to peddle and reinvigorate a story that was hyped by people like him in the first place, for personal gain.  Nobody denies that a vile crowd of thugs for a time held sway in certain disadvantaged and marginalised areas of the city, but the objections were not about reporting this fact.  The objections, which Frank O’Mahony singularly failed to understand were against people like Paul Williams falling back on a tired old story, re-awakening an image that we all worked so hard to put behind us during the City of Culture year.

Frank’s letter was issued, via his staff, in the form of an image, but I’ve taken the trouble to transcribe it.  Any errors or omissions are entirely my fault.

Here it is.

11 November 2014

Well, the Paul William’s (sic) visit has stirred up quite a lot more comments than most author visits, so I would like to make a few general points on behalf of the company, respond to some items and finally give my personal opinion.

As a company we go out of our way to support Irish authors. We would also resist all forms of censorship on the written word and assert the right of authors to publish and publicise their books however much we may disagree with their content or the views they espouse. A slippery slope beckons if we were to go down this road – we stock over 200,000 books and there will always be a small percentage of people who are (or could be) offended by the contents of some of them.

There is a genuine question about whether such a book damages the reputation of Limerick. To me, it is the definitive story of a terrible few years in Limerick’s history – let the story be told in a way that does not glorify the wrongdoers, let us learn from that and then move on swiftly towards building a better city. As a company O’Mahony’s Booksellers have been involved in the commercial life of Limerick City since 1902 and many family members have been involved in promoting the city in various social and commercial areas over the years – this year in particular we have had many events and window displays associated with limerick City of CUlture. I think you can take it for granted that we would never do anything to deliberately hurt Limerick’s reputation.

We have had some adverse reaction on social media sites and we respect those opinions. We also have to respect the opinions of over 300 people who came out to meet him. Also, it was very evident from the large number of Gardai whoo turned up for the event and paid to have books signed that the author is held in very high esteem by mny members of an Garda Síochána.

Also, can you imagine the field day the media would have if we refused to stock the book?

Personally, I think Paul Williams went out of his way on the “Late Late Show” to express both his revulsion to the thugs and criminals who have blighted Limerick’s reputation for the last 15-odd years and also his admiration for Limerick as a city and its citizens.

My last words to Paul Williams were “Paul – let’s hope that’s the final chapter and you never have to write a book about Limerick crime again”.

Frank O’Mahony

 

This is my analysis in response.

Frank’s reply

Comment

11 November 2014

Well, the Paul William’s (sic) visit has stirred up quite a lot more comments than most author visits, so I would like to make a few general points on behalf of the company, respond to some items and finally give my personal opinion.

 

Fair enough

As a company we go out of our way to support Irish authors.

 

Well done.

We would also resist all forms of censorship on the written word and assert the right of authors to publish and publicise their books however much we may disagree with their content or the views they espouse.

 

Nobody suggested that Paul Williams’s book should be censored. Nobody suggested he should be prevented from publicising it.

The issue is about O’Mahony’s assisting him in publicising it.

 

A slippery slope beckons if we were to go down this road – we stock over 200,000 books and there will always be a small percentage of people who are (or could be) offended by the contents of some of them.

 

Slippery slope: a logical fallacy in which a person asserts that some event must inevitably follow from another without any rational argument or demonstrable mechanism for the inevitability of the event in question

 

What exactly is a small percentage of people?

How did Frank determine that only a small percentage of people were angered (as opposed to offended)?

How did Frank determine that it was the contents of the book that caused annoyance as opposed to the continued cynical manipulation of Limerick’s good name for personal gain?

Can opinions be safely dismissed if you decide that only a small percentage of people hold them?

 

There is a genuine question about whether such a book damages the reputation of Limerick.

 

There is indeed, Frank.

 

To me, it is the definitive story of a terrible few years in Limerick’s history – let the story be told in a way that does not glorify the wrongdoers, let us learn from that and then move on swiftly towards building a better city.

 

The story was already told, over and over by Paul Williams and countless other hacks. We’d like to move on swiftly as Frank suggests, but every time we try, another ludicrous recycling of the same old story pops up and we have to begin again rolling the stone up the hill.

 

As a company O’Mahony’s Booksellers have been involved in the commercial life of Limerick City since 1902 and many family members have been involved in promoting the city in various social and commercial areas over the years – this year in particular we have had many events and window displays associated with limerick City of Culture.

Good for you. Well done. Congratulations.

 

I think you can take it for granted that we would never do anything to deliberately hurt Limerick’s reputation.

 

You just did, Frank, whether it was deliberate or not.

 

We have had some adverse reaction on social media sites and we respect those opinions.

 

Would that be the small percentage?

 

We also have to respect the opinions of over 300 people who came out to meet him.

 

Of course you do.

Also, it was very evident from the large number of Gardai who turned up for the event and paid to have books signed that the author is held in very high esteem by mny members of an Garda Síochána.

 

How many Gardai turned up for the event? “Large number” is too vague.

Paul Williams has for years been a useful conduit for Garda leaks. This is his modus operandi. The Guards throw him titbits and in return he writes the stories they want him to write. It would be very surprising if they didn’t support him.

 

 

Also, can you imagine the field day the media would have if we refused to stock the book?

 

Whatever about stocking the book, can you imagine the respect you would have gained if you had taken a principled decision not to hold that book-signing event?

 

Personally, I think Paul Williams went out of his way on the “Late Late Show” to express both his revulsion to the thugs and criminals who have blighted Limerick’s reputation for the last 15-odd years and also his admiration for Limerick as a city and its citizens.

He went out of his way to patronise us while bolstering his own self-image as the fearless nemesis of criminals and drug dealers.

 

My last words to Paul Williams were “Paul – let’s hope that’s the final chapter and you never have to write a book about Limerick crime again”.

 

He didn’t have to write it, Frank. That’s the whole point.

Categories
Media Stories Whimsy

The U2 Virus Mutates

Captain Brad Conquest was tired.  Tired and impatient to see his home planet after a voyage of 300 teraspocks.  He hadn’t felt a woman’s warm embrace in nearly half a kirk and he longed to see his children again.  Meeting them in the holodeck was no substitute for seeing them face to face, but every time he looked at young Jean-Luc he felt a surge of pride.  Just like his dad, he thought.

The mighty trans-galactic battlecruiser Valley Forge throbbed beneath his feet, its powerful Nostromo-series twin drives powering it through the void at eleven times Warp.   All systems nominal.  Home in less than a sulu, all going well.

Coffee, Captain?  offered young Ripley, the assistant cook.   No thanks.   It was time for the gym.  Time to harden up those abs, time to re-set that razor-sharp jaw-line with a vigorous Bantos session.  Time for revenge.  Last time he fought Deckard, his engineering officer, Conquest came out missing two teeth and a year’s supply of Klaargian whiskey but this day would be different.   Bring it on!

Conquest turned to his XO.   Mr Pike, you have the bridge.  Kindly ask Mr Deckard to join me on deck 3.

Before Pike had time to answer, the mighty warp-drives fell silent and the giant battlecruiser shuddered out of hyperspace with a grinding metallic roar as plates buckled and bulkheads collapsed.

Status report, barked Conquest.

– Hull breach, decks 82 to 97.  Containment measures in place.

– Leak in warp drive core number two.   Crews are on it.

– Shields are down.  Repairs under way.

Excellent!  murmured Conquest, quietly giving thanks for this crew of men and women, the most professional well-drilled outfit in the entire quadrant, when over the Tannoy came a strange sound.  An awful sound.  The most appalling sound since the entire crew were locked in a Cardassian prison with a captured Borg dissonance-choir.

It throbbed and resonated, so familiar as if one had listened to it a million times before, yet so dull, as if heard through a room full of Tribbles.  All around him, Conquest’s bridge crew were throwing themselves back and forth with their hands over their ears.   Even the normally unflappable Commander Klaatu had several eyebrows raised.

Status report!  the captain demanded.  What’s going on, Deckard?

Not sure yet, Brad, crackled the reply.  I think it’s some sort of virus but I’ve never seen one as vicious as this.  And as pointless.   It seems to do nothing but make terrible sounds that force the bridge crew to throw themselves from side to side with their hands over their ears.

I need answers, demanded Brad Conquest, and I want them now.

He felt a strong grip on his shoulder.  What is it, Klaatu?

Captain, initial studies indicate that the virus is a version of U2 that has successfully mutated from one that normally only attacks Klingon ships.

Brad Conquest was stunned.   But their technology is completely different to ours.

It is indeed, agreed Klaatu.   Different, grossly over-priced and no better, but that is the way of the universe.  It seems the virus has mutated.  Captain, we need to search the bridge for a hologram of a diminutive figure.   It will be wearing some form of eye-protection and it will have an enormous ego.  Let us look hard, Captain.   It will be very small, but the huge ego will give it away.

Suddenly, something tiny scuttled under the captain’s chair, clapping its hands.

Who’d have thought, it shouted, all those years ago … that we’d be … saving  … the … Universe!!!

That’s disgusting, retched Conquest as he staggered backwards and collapsed.

The less you know, the more you believe, said the tiny creature as the crew of the Valley Forge begged for mercy.

As a rock star, I have two instincts, I want to have fun, and I want to change the world. I have a chance to do both, said the virus.

Aaaaarrrrgggghhhhh! screamed Ripley, leaping over the unconscious crew and squashing the little bug with a regulation-issue boot.

Instantly, the warp-drives came back on line, the ship began to realign and life-support systems kicked in.

Hmmm, said Klaatu, arching a fifth eyebrow.  Unorthodox, but effective.

Captain Conquest sat up with an admiring grin.  Never knew you had that in you, Ripley.  Now let’s waste no time getting that virus out of the system.  Mr Pike, take us home.   I have a date with Mr Deckard.   He owes me two teeth and a year’s supply of whiskey.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Categories
Internet

Contributions Welcome

soapbox

Guest contributions have always been welcome on this site.  Indeed, in the last week or so there have been two posts by other contributors and the hope is that this will continue as it has in the past.

As always, the pages are open to anyone who wants to write about interesting things.

Articles can be about anything and they certainly don’t need to agree with me.  If anyone would like to write something expressing an alternative point of view, that’s fine.

There’s only one rule.  It can’t be shite.  It has to be well-written and it has to be logical if it’s arguing a point of view.  But equally, it might just be a post about a forthcoming garden fete or it might be a recipe.  That’s fine too.

As any regular reader knows, there’s no shortage  of material to fill these pages, but it’s always good to involve people where possible, so if you’d like a soap-box, feel free to throw something in and if it’s of a decent standard, it will go up.

Categories
Media Radio Sexuality

Broadcasting Authority of Ireland Anti-Equality Ruling

The Broadcasting Authority of Ireland has upheld a complaint against RTE for airing a programme in which two guests expressed the view that same-sex marriage was a good thing.  The presenter Derek Mooney, an openly gay man, agreed with them as I do myself, but one man wasn’t too happy about this rampant gayfest.

In fact, one Donal  O’Sullivan-Latchford was so outraged and so offended that he took it upon himself to complain to the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland, on the grounds, apparently, that the programme lacked balance.  His point, it seems, is that there is an impending constitutional referendum on same-sex marriage, and therefore RTE is obliged to present both sides of the case, which it failed to do by having one raving homo interview two others.

To the best of my knowledge, while a constitutional amendment is in contemplation and under discussion, no legislation has yet been passed, and therefore, there is no basis for this objection.  The Mooney Show is not a current affairs programme.  It’s a light-hearted show with a strong emphasis on wildlife and environmental matters, a light sprinkling of human interest stories and an extremely annoying woman reporter whose name I mercifully can’t remember.

It’s a bit of fun, but not if you happen to be Donal O’Sullivan-Latchford, a representative of the defunct Family and Media Association, a private company set up by one Ivo O’Sullivan and a man called Gerald Anthony Tallon, who was also a director of the Opus Dei charity, Friends of Strathmore.

pope who am i to judge

The Family and Media Association was just another of these ranting Irish Catholic fronts representing one or two ideologues but with a very pompous name, a bit like the Iona Institute though sadly, without their funding, since it went bust a couple of years back, leaving liabilities of €118k.  However, the fact that it’s out of business didn’t stop Donal using it as a typically-Irish spurious badge of authority.

And the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland duly capitulated.

Boiled down to its essentials, what this O’Sullivan-Latchford character seems to be saying is as follows: Don’t talk about things I find disgusting unless I can call you a pervert in return and the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland, in its infinite stupidity, agreed with him, in the interest of balance, whatever that is.

Balance in the media is one of those canards that allows ideologues to gain air-space.  Carried to its extremes, it permits demented homeopaths to present themselves as the other side of the artificial argument against evidence-based medicine.  Balance permits anti-science anti-evolution know-nothings equal time with hardworking genetic researchers.  Balance in the eyes of those who control our media involves giving the nutcase equal time with the reasonable, tolerant point of view, and that’s because unfortunately, neither our national media nor those who regulate it are especially adept at thinking rationally.

Who precisely are the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland?

Well, the compliance committee comprises the following.

Professor Chris Morash, professor of Irish writing in TCD.

John Reynolds, a music promoter,

Aidine O’Reilly, managing director of Real Event Solutions.

Edel Hackett, communications consultant.

Now, with all respect to this crowd, I’m quite sure they happen to be real winners in their own fields, but I’m not detecting a cutting-edge expertise in deciding what is a legitimate complaint and what is utter bullshit.  As matters stand, taking the evidence at face value, my guess is that they don’t know their arse from their elbow when it comes to the sort of nonsense presented to them by Donal O’Sullivan-Latchford, and that’s why they took refuge in a politically-correct and entirely illogical decision to censure RTE.

You’d have to ask the question of Donal and his ideological companions, since their new Pope applied it to himself, who are they to judge?