centreleft said:I don't see an Irish Jeremy Paxman on our screens
NickyG said: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.
I thought a separate thread was required to discuss this question, so to keep the other one from which these quotes were lifted (available here) on track.Cain1798 said: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.
I would not quibble with the suggestion that investigative journalism is somewhat lacking. Only RTÉ seem to dedicate the necessary resources to this necessary facet of journalism. Though The Phoenix does its share in a peripheral sort of a way. The Irish Times rely on what appear to be leaks and press releases for its stories, with the odd phone call for a comment. Nothing wrong if thats the bulk of your news pieces, but when its all there is before jumping into opinion that is a problem.
Also there is a lack of analysis in the Irish Media, though this is improving. The Irish Times has employed some experts to go through policies and announcements to explain where they score and where they miss. Tom Clonan has been a particularly beneficial addition to their staff- hes the security analyst that went through just how much bull excrement the IDF statements during the Israeli-Lebanon war last summer constituted.
As for the issue of hackery and the restraint Irish journalists show in attacking politicians, I do think this is an important issue. But it requires appreciation of the context. It does little good to measure Irish journalism against the foreign media outlets we have access to. Britain, France and the US are large countries- their journalists are numerous enough to form an independent pillar within the nations cognoscenti. In Ireland the numbers are smaller and so the various pillars overlap. Well never have a Jeremy Paxman because media consumption is not large enough to sustain one in Ireland. Leading journalists here require political as well as public support. The closest we have to Paxman is Vincent Browne, and his record on making self-sustaining journalistic outfits are poor. They tend to run out of money and guests/interviewees rather rapidly.
Journalistic restraint is common across small countries- its not an Irish phenomena. John Lloyd, writing in The Financial Times, considered the case of Israel:
So while improvements could be made, it's not all that terrible. And remember, for every Paxman you get a Daily Mail- which recently and needlessly was responsible for the scalping of one the world's leading businessmen- Lord Browne of BP. While we have our own tabloids in Ireland, they're not nearly as bad as the British ones. Improvements at one end of the spectrum often necessitates deterioration at the other end.At the same time, this is a country of only 7 million people. In a panel discussion with colleagues, Barnea said that the trouble with small societies is that if you last as a journalist (he is in his early 60s) you know everyone in power: you played in the street with them, went to school with them, lived next door to them. You knew something of their private lives, and they something of yours. Journalism becomes an intimate affair, and criticism or revelation akin to betrayal.
A former colleague on the FT used to say that journalists are more often corrupted by friendship than by freebies. It must be so: journalists don't mind biting the hand which gives them trips and treats in the hope of good coverage - indeed, it is a matter of honour with many to do so. Honour is more of an ambiguous commodity when you bite a hand that has held yours with affection.