12 Sep 2008

As if we didn’t need another reason to vote No to the Lisbon Treaty, along comes news that a bunch of Commission nitwits in Brussels have written a secret report (ooooh) proving beyond all doubt that we Irish are being brainwashed into becoming Euro-sceptics by an increasingly independent and, therefore obviously, tabloid media. Details of the weird, creepy, tax payer funded (?) report were published in the Irish Times last week. Insights included:

‘RTÉ's broadcasting dominance has been hit by satellite broadcasters who increased their audience by nearly 10 percentage points since the 2002 Nice referendum… [and] news content on the main commercial national station TV3 is of quite low quality’.

Leaving aside the difficulty some of us might have in telling apart your typical edition of Liveline from an English tabloid, I truly personally believe that TV3’s ‘entertainment’ news is far better value, euro for euro, than RTE’s ‘serious’ reporting. For example, someone in RTE might have Googled ‘Sarah Palin’ two weeks ago before sending a reporter all the way to the Twin Cities to tell us no one had ever heard of her (prior to her elevation, Governor Palin had been mentioned in dispatches for several months as a possible ‘outside’ Republican VP nominee – ‘outside’ due to the fact that, no matter what her qualities, pundits reckoned that being from Alaska she’d put too few delegates into the Republican column in a tight election year. What happened was, no sooner had her name made it onto the bookie’s lists than word got out that Palin’s brother-in-law allegedly went and threatened to kill her (Palin’s) sister after a domestic situation. Palin subsequently drifted in the market as the both the blue-blood and fundamentalist wings of the GOP began to wonder what type of people the Palins of Alaska really were. (And its also worth mentioning that The Irish Times proclaimed in a recent editorial that McCain’s choice of Palin was ‘inspired’ – she may, in fact, be a crackpot). At least TV3 consult the best gossip blogs on the web before confirming that Amy Winehouse is again in rehab.

Anyway, getting back to the findings of the secret report in Brussels, The Times tells us that its authors within the Commission are blaming Rupert Murdoch for recent incorrect thinking on behalf of the Irish in their attitude to Europe:

‘Since 2002 we have seen an increase in (Murdoch owned) UK titles with "Irishised" editorial. 

How would these things differ from an Irish Title with a ‘London-Guardianised’ editorial, I wonder?

It goes on,

The Irish Sun, which has 309,000 mostly young male readers, has "taken a campaigning Europhobic stance in line" with its sister title in the United Kingdom.

Mercy sakes! You mean to say the young men of Ireland are skipping the delights of Page Three to read the actual words?

It goes on,

However, the influence of the upmarket Sunday Times is particularly noted by the commission because it is read "by 363,000 middle-class, well-educated readers, who would traditionally have been European supporters." Not only has the editorial been largely critical of Europe, it is rumoured that it has been refusing contributions from staff that are pro-Europe," the commission's paper said.

So there you have it: even the well educated are susceptible to brainwashing by people with less intellectual capacity than they have themselves. Don’t these secret report writers realise that no matter who’s writing the news, none of us take what they have to say as seriously as they think we do?  

This whole ‘secret report written in Europe: therefore must be correct’ thing reminds me of a story my late mother-in-law told me some years ago. Employed by the Canadian diplomatic service (she was a feisty North American lady), Jeannette had spent some time during the 1950s working with the UN in Geneva. One day, an ‘authoritative profile of the Irish personality type’ type report crossed her desk and – married to an Irishman – she was naturally intrigued to find out what it had to say. Apparently, the UN report writers of the 1950s were of the view that Irish men were particularly prone to homosexuality because of the complexity of the traditional Irish mother-son relationship!

Re: The Sun. Look at the pictures lads, avoid the words.

Here’s the piece from the Irish Times 

http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/ireland/2008/0902/1220301236029.html

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