Last Sunday, the Sunday Tribune newspaper (I cannot find a link to the story on their awful website) reported that Michael Hughes, the man murdered in Mount Argus, Harold’s Cross was a member of the Irish Traveller community and was known to the person who committed the crime. I’d scan the piece if I could be bothered. We now know that neither of these facts are true. So who gave the reporter this story? The Garda I suspect and because the victim was allegedly a Traveller he must have known his killer, because ‘them fellas are always at it’. That’s alright then right? Move on, drink more coffee, get ready for the walk with the dog. Why let the facts get in the way of a good story boys?
Why do reporters not corroborate their facts before publication? Surely the news cannot be that urgent? I am calling this phenomenon PR Syndrome after the litigious and breathless RTE Crime Correspondent. His persistent rabbit-in-the-headlights style of reporting does no one any favours and we always seem to be at the precipice of a cataclysm of crime-induced anarchy. His obsession with the type of guns used is particularly disturbing and tells us quite a bit about how close he is to the force.
On a similar and not unrelated tack, the death of Katy French has pointed out to us (again?) that what forms public discourse in Ireland is not the important issues to us as communities of people but what sells newspapers and more specifically advertising. What makes the ‘news’ is less about the establishment of the facts and more about how we can extract the most value out of a story and let the ‘facts speak for themselves’. Call me naive but how about some more factual reporting and fewer reconstructions?
Thought about posting this on the Daily Male but the Swiss Job wouldn’t let me 😉