Journalists' Political Leanings


centreleft

Member
Joined
Apr 20, 2004
Messages
5
Website
www.finegael.ie
May I ask a naive question? In the opinion of the p.ie contributors, what political leanings/affiliations do the nation's journalists have?
 

NickyG

Member
Joined
Sep 21, 2006
Messages
32
O dear, what a can of worms!

My two cents, our standard of journalism is NOT amongst the best in the world, both with regard to blatant agenda-ising (?) and pure and simple investigative quality.
 

Paddylekker

Member
Joined
Jan 27, 2006
Messages
79
Well, I'm a journalist and a former member of the Pol Corr lobby so I feel I can answer this with some authority.

There is a disproportionate representation of Labour supporters, very few FG or FF supporters and practically no PD supporters.

There are a few more FF supporters than previously but they are still in a tiny minority.

I genuinely don't think it affects coverage though.

Journalists tend to be anti-government regardless of who is power. That's just the nature of the beast.

There's also the fact that the journalists feel that the 2002 election was a con. I covered it and felt it myself. We were lied to by FF in that election but could do very little about it because FG were worse than useless.
 

NickyG

Member
Joined
Sep 21, 2006
Messages
32
Well, can you think of anyone pushing SF, Labour or Greens? These parties may, feasibly, represent a third of the electorate!

The Ruth Dudley Edwards clan holds far too much sway in our political socialisation.
 

NickyG

Member
Joined
Sep 21, 2006
Messages
32
Perhas "pushing" is a strong word. Certainly, anything radical seems to be worthy of scorn fom many of the more influential voices.
 

Paddylekker

Member
Joined
Jan 27, 2006
Messages
79
Sinn Fein obviously have a bit of support in Phoenix and other minority media.

Labour is the party of choice of most of the political journalists.

I can't think of any Green supporters (although the Labour ones would have sympathies for them).

Remember though that the journalists see more of the Greens and other parties than anyone else and even the left leaning journalists concluded a long time ago that the Greens are completely bonkers.
 

Paddylekker

Member
Joined
Jan 27, 2006
Messages
79
Oh, and most of the political correspondents are pretty strong believers in the principle of democracy and the fact that it shouldn't be backed up by a private army so there wouldn't be too many SF backers in the pol corr lobby.
 

NickyG

Member
Joined
Sep 21, 2006
Messages
32
Oh, there you go!

As regards principles of democracy, I would direct you towards Noam Chomsky, and then come back to me.. it seems, in many western democracies, your lot are the omniscient "private army" which poses the greater threat to democracy!

For a fitting recent example, consider the disgraceful behaviour of two of Scotlands leading newspapers today!
 

cain1798

Well-known member
Joined
Aug 6, 2003
Messages
418
Paddylekker said:
Well, I'm a journalist and a former member of the Pol Corr lobby so I feel I can answer this with some authority.
And no little lack of bias perhaps?

Just a couple of points to make on this. Firstly, journalists are employees of newspapers. With the exceptions of high-profile analysts or columnists, their job is to push not so much their own views, as those of their paper's editorial line. This is why though as Paddy points out, there is a strong Labour leaning throughout the Irish media, the Irish media itself is relatively right-wing. I've never been a Pol Corr, but I have dealt with them for years, and there are a number whose political positions are vastly at variance with the position of the paper they write for.

Secondly, journalists are herd instinct animals. A fine example of this is the Manchester payments controversey. The Pol Corr lobby went absolutely mental over it for two weeks while ordinary punters weren't remotely nearly as concerned. A number of them wrote reflective pieces afterwards trying to examine why there was such a distinction.

The reality is that political journalism in Ireland is as deeply embedded in the political establishment as a Fox News reporter wandering around Iraq with the US Marines. They socialise with, drink with and go out with the politicians they're supposed to be covering. They live out of each other's pockets and this can lead to some reluctance on the part of journalists to go after someone they were drinking with the night before even when there's blood in the water.

Finally, as a Shinner, one thing I do agree with Paddy about is that there is no sympathy for republicanism among the political correspondents, though I wouldn't buy his notion of this being because of 'private armies'. Journalism in Ireland is a prop to the political and economic establishment. Anything threatening that, is a target, private army or no.
 

Paddylekker

Member
Joined
Jan 27, 2006
Messages
79
You have to have some sort of self awareness as a member of the lobby.

In the past I may have felt some sort of personal bias towards one party. That gets eroded fairly quickly though. And I would say that my political leanings at the moment are far more general. I believe, generally, in the economic programmes of FF/FG/PDs and with the social agenda of a party like Labour.

The point about politicians and journalists in the Dail socialising and being friends is a valid one and it does prevent some correspondents going for the jugular when, perhaps, they should.

But very often personal friendships work against the politicians. For example Mark Brennock of the Irish Times and Derek McDowell have been close friends since they were very young but, because of this, Derek never got any favours whatsoever from the Irish Times.

Derek has often remarked that he got better coverage in the Indo than in the Times.
 

meriwether

Well-known member
Joined
Dec 1, 2004
Messages
12,604
Finally, as a Shinner, one thing I do agree with Paddy about is that there is no sympathy for republicanism among the political correspondents, though I wouldn't buy his notion of this being because of 'private armies'. Journalism in Ireland is a prop to the political and economic establishment. Anything threatening that, is a target, private army or no
.

Infamy, infamy, they've all got it infamy.
 

aisling2323

Member
Joined
Apr 20, 2007
Messages
11
I worked as a journalist for a time with a national paper - still do the odd opinion piece now and again - i would say it is impossible to be impartial if there is an issue that you fundamentally disgree with - of course it plays on your mind - if you don't like the FF policy on tax individualisation for instance because its hurting your pocket - then of course you won't champion their PRSI reform program if you think it might help to get them back into office and continue with a policy you detest.

i'm sorry, this argument that journos are always neutral is incorrect - they are humans, like everyone and have their own opinions - thankfully - not like some party hack that tows the party line or comes up with some bullsh*it response to a question like

'sorry, I don't know what the party position is on that, can i come back to you.'
this happened at my door last night with a canvasser - how spineless.
 

Paddylekker

Member
Joined
Jan 27, 2006
Messages
79
Who says that journalists are always neutral?

There's a big difference between writing news and comment though.

For example, I despise Sinn Fein personally. That never stopped me covering their events or talking to their senior members in the same way I would treat any other political party.
 

aisling2323

Member
Joined
Apr 20, 2007
Messages
11
Paddylekker said:
Who says that journalists are always neutral?

There's a big difference between writing news and comment though.

For example, I despise Sinn Fein personally. That never stopped me covering their events or talking to their senior members in the same way I wo :lol: uld treat any other political party.
ya, i agree with that. there is a huge difference. I never did political comm - i did sports! funny isn't it - a woman doing sports :lol:
 

Paddylekker

Member
Joined
Jan 27, 2006
Messages
79
Not particularly. The sports editor on the first national newspaper I worked on was female.
 

Paddylekker

Member
Joined
Jan 27, 2006
Messages
79
It's hardly surprising that Tubridy was a member of the KBC is it though?

He is an Andrews after all.
 

cain1798

Well-known member
Joined
Aug 6, 2003
Messages
418
Aisling, if a canvasser doesn't know his or her party's position on an issue, what is the alternative other than saying they'll get back to you on it? Lie? Make something up on the door? I've been a Sinn Féin activist for 11 years. I've helped write policy documents, speeches and so on. I consider myself well informed politically, but occasionally something comes up on the door and you don't know what the party's position is or you're not sure.

If the canvasser or their party doesn't get back to you, by all means stick the boot in, but if they do, bear in mind that not every canvasser for a party has an encyclopedic knowledge of every element of party policy and position. God help me if someone asks me about Sinn Féin's agriculture policy on the doorstep, though I suspects it's unlikely in Ballyfermot.

I'm glad to hear Paddy that, though despising us, you are able to cover us the same as any other political party. I don't believe it. But it's nice of you to say and I do genuinely believe you do your best to be neutral and professional. But if you loathe a party that much, your bias still exists, even if you're not aware of it and affects your material.

At the same time, there are Pol Corrs who go out of their way to show their attitude to Sinn Féin. I suppose at least one knows where one stands with them.
 
Top