Saturday, May 26, 2007

INSIDE POLITICS - BERTIE'S INTERVIEW

I was doing radio last night and missed THAT interview given by Bertie to Mark Little on RTE in which he had a right cut at the media, for hounding him over BertieGate.

I heard from colleagues that there was a definitie sarkiness there - with a reference to 'highly paid' journalits (from a very highly paid politician incidentally).

I wrote this morning and have written and spoken before about the disconnect between the media and the public - the people have spoken, so the cliches go, in a language very different from that of the media.

But he shouldn't complain. Ahern sold himself as an unsullied politician, especially coming as he did after the Haughey years, with all the venal graft associatged with it. He keeps on reminding people that he set up the Tribunals. And sure, the way it was leaked into the public domain was very unfair and was indeed designed to damage him.

But irrespective of the rights and wrongs of the leaks, the fact that he had taken a 'dig-out', the fact that there were some strange circumstances surrounding the purchase of his house, raised legitimate questions that went to his credibility as a leader.

Sounds a little high faluting. And a lot of the public don't agree that there should have been that unremitting scrutiny. But they were legitimate concerns nonetheless.

From a journalistic perspective, the stuff about hacks being on high expenses and the implication that they are given riding instructions to go out and shaft him was without foundation.

But there you go. The people spoke. And they spoke against us.

4 comments:

Eoin Brazil said...

It sounded a bit rich from a man who doesn't have a driving license and has a state car driving him for 20 or more years.

I sat with some of my friends watching the TV and we felt that the interview was actually another RTE-lite version, if someone had made those remarks to me as the interviewer I would have asked so what about public probity and the proven fact that many politicals over in the years in this country have been found guilty of corruption.

This election and maybe it was the 'Browne' moment convinced and reminded the larger media their role is to ask the hard questions - and to follow them up.

Its time that politicans realised the unfortunate facts that in the era of a 24 hour media coverage space needs to be filled, that the people expect whiter-than-white politicans and that the growth of broadband and the Internet allows for much easier historic recording keeping so that all past behaviours and actions are open for reference. This can be seen with the advent of sites like Rate My TD who provide access to the Dáil speaking records by subject/date, to Dáil expenses by member, and to the members register of interests. Its a tough time to be a politican unless you are whiter than white and maybe he in glasshouses should not throw stones.

Eoin Brazil said...

It sounded a bit rich from a man who doesn't have a driving license and has a state car driving him for 20 or more years.

I sat with some of my friends watching the TV and we felt that the interview was actually another RTE-lite version, if someone had made those remarks to me as the interviewer I would have asked so what about public probity and the proven fact that many politicals over in the years in this country have been found guilty of corruption.

This election and maybe it was the 'Browne' moment convinced and reminded the larger media their role is to ask the hard questions - and to follow them up.

Its time that politicans realised the unfortunate facts that in the era of a 24 hour media coverage space needs to be filled, that the people expect whiter-than-white politicans and that the growth of broadband and the Internet allows for much easier historic recording keeping so that all past behaviours and actions are open for reference. This can be seen with the advent of sites like Rate My TD who provide access to the Dáil speaking records by subject/date, to Dáil expenses by member, and to the members register of interests. Its a tough time to be a politican unless you are whiter than white and maybe he in glasshouses should not throw stones.

Dan Sullivan said...

I would especially contrast the suggestion that hacks on expenses were given instructions to shaft the Taoiseach when it was obviously the various "opinion formers" at the Sindo were turning him into the Golden Calf.

Harry, someone was commenting to me that yourself, Pat Leahy and Fionnan Sheahan are all relatively youth. Was there some sort of clear out of the old geezers after 2002?

Harry McGee said...

Fionnan is youth. Pat is relatively youth. I tragically am beyond youth.