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Sunday Independent Stupid Statement of the Week: CrowdSourced January 6, 2013

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Irish Politics.

Garibaldy is unable to do the SISSoftW this week, so it’s over to you all… But just for a change, and before the floodgates open, I’ve scanned through and I thought it might be nice to bring a Sunday Independent Sensible Statement of the Week. So, kudos, as ever, to Gene Kerrigan who when discussing Pat Rabbitte’s thoughts on the media and negativity makes the following point:

Mr Rabbitte’s Government believes – with justification – that most of the media support this strategy. And he finds it hard to understand why the media don’t shower them with hugs and kisses.

Perhaps we can enlighten him.

The media bit is easily understood. The media shares with bankers, bondholders and politicians the hope that normality can be resumed, with all the old hierarchies and inequalities in place. This requires the cost of the crisis to be shifted to the usual mugs.

But the media has to maintain credibility with its customers – and to that end, it can hardly ignore the dreadful damage being done to the citizens. Neither can it ignore the fact that, for instance, Mr Kenny is on €200,000 a year, while the French prime minister is on €177,000 and the UK prime minister is on €172,000. Nor the fact that Pat Rabbitte is on €169,000, while a French minister is on about €119,000.

And continues:

Mostly, though, the media batters nurses and teachers and other public sector monsters of its vivid imagination.

Beyond government delusions and media cynicism, there lies reality. As one authority summed it up, the Minister for Finance “reduced social welfare payments, punished the blind, disabled, widows, carers and the unemployed and he taxed the poorest at work”. And why?

“It was so that the taxpayer can take on liability for debts the country never incurred, and arose from private arrangements between private institutions. What a disaster and an obscenity.”

And notes that the author of the last quote above was, Michael Noonan, three months before he took the Finance portfolio. Them’s the breaks in this society.

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1. Alan - January 6, 2013

Marc Coleman setting his sights on academics and Labour’s “Fabian intellectuals” (whatever the hell they are) comes out with this brain fart.

‘To fund the increments along these pay scales, the children of families on the breadline and carer’s [sic] devoting their lives to loved ones will see meagre incomes cut. It could have been different: Welfare could have been means tested. But this would offend against that pillar so beloved of Labour’s Fabian intellectuals: The cult of universal welfare payments.’

Jesus, does nobody proof and edit these columns?

Anyway, welfare *is* means test and heavily means tested at that – http://notesonthefront.typepad.com/politicaleconomy/2012/11/means-test-central.html.

If there was universal welfare ie. a basic income and a redistributive tax system to fund it maybe families wouldn’t be on the breadline.

Coleman is just the cult of the contrary.

WorldbyStorm - January 6, 2013

That’s a very important point, that in fact we do means test and we means test exhaustively in this state. But never let the facts get in the way of the story, and of course it’s not as if monies ‘saved’ in one spot will be diverted elsewhere, as the Fiscal Council made clear it wanted even more used to decrease deficits.

2. Alan - January 6, 2013

Damn, that should have read ‘welfare *is* means tested’ not ‘means test’. Serves me right for not double checking before I posted it. At least I’m not getting paid.

3. ivorthorne - January 6, 2013

Got to love their two-faced coverage of KPMG girl.

WorldbyStorm - January 6, 2013

Missed that, do you have the link ivor?

4. CL - January 6, 2013

Pat Rabbitte’s attacks on the media are beginning to resemble Spiro Agnew’s “nattering nabobs of negativity” comment, -and with the same reactionary intent.

ejh - January 6, 2013

Showing your age in classic CLR style

Ed - January 6, 2013

If it’s any consolation, I’ve just turned 30 and I know the quote, although I will not claim to be in any way representative of my generation. It always struck me as something that could have been said in the old Batman and Robin TV series: ‘Nattering nabobs of negativity, Batman!’

CL - January 6, 2013

I even know the old joke; what do you call someone who doesn’t believe what he reads in the newspapers? An Agnewstic.

ejh - January 6, 2013

Blimey. Not heard that one, but I’m old enough to recall the joke that an intellectual is somebody who can hear the last part of the William Tell Overture without thinking of the Lone Ranger.

5. ivorthorne - January 6, 2013


They also find a way to bring Shane McEntee. It’s classic Sindo work – they offer the girl some sympathy for the trouble she has as a result of the exposure, but multiply the level of exposure she receives at the same time.

Then, while seeming to disapprove of the uploading of the video, they quote from it.

Michael Carley - January 6, 2013

Brilliant. The Sindo reports that the girl (who seems to have been young and stupid and may well be thinking better of it now) said:

“How much do you earn an hour? €10? You are not a partner, you are a pleb. The plebs get 5 per cent discount. I’ll talk to my lovely f**king dad about this. He gets 50 per cent because he is a partner.”

According to the paper, the `class hatred’ started *after* the video went online.

6. Starakadder - January 6, 2013

The NNI wishes to stop use of hyperlinks for commerical purposes:


Don’t worry, none of us are earning a cent for putting that
one up. ;)

WorldbyStorm - January 6, 2013

It’s madness, but as you say it doesn’t affect us.

CMK - January 6, 2013
Starkadder - January 6, 2013

Very insightful piece (if depressing in its
implications for Irish journalism).

EamonnCork - January 6, 2013

It’s an interesting piece but I think the idea that Waters wrote the piece to order so that the Times could get more hits on the site is extremely fanciful. Whatever you think about him, I think his outrage on this, and many other questions, is as genuine as it is misguided. I don’t think there’s some conspiracy afoot whereby the papers are deliberately irritating the comments section to please the advertisers. For one thing as Wbs and most of us who spend a bit of time on the CLR know, it’s difficult to predict just what is going to ring people’s bells and produce a lot of posts. Just my opinion.

EamonnCork - January 6, 2013

In his piece Kerrigan also points out that Rabbitte has a bit of a nerve complaining about the denigration of politicians given that it’s his own speciality. His Pantomime Dame bully number on Pat Carey is rightly mentioned.
Rabbitte is a man of no principle whatsoever, as can be seen by his joining in with the pro-life gang and their complaint about an RTE producer posting a derogatory tweet about Ronan Mullen. As far as Rabbitte is concerned any chance to cow RTE should be taken, no matter who he ends up allying himself with.
As regards the whole Cyber Bullying furore, Matt Cooper makes an interesting point, (there’s a sentence I don’t write often) when he notes that any political inquiry into the whole spurious phenomenon could morph easily enough into an examination of print and broadcast media criticism of politicians, so the print media would need to tread lightly before getting into bed with censorship loving TDs.
When I look at Rabbitte and Gilmore, they’re so devoid of belief in anything but the saving of their own skin that I wonder if they ever really had any core principles. Perhaps in the aftermath of the sixties left wing politics was where it was at for a couple of cute country hoors who wanted to get on in student politics and the WP was as handy a vehicle for their ambitions as any. (That’s not a put down of WP members by the way, just these two particular opportunists).
If they’d gone to college in the Tiger area maybe the pair of them would have done MBAs and ended up working for Denis O’Brien. And perhaps their extreme irritation at being reminded of how they’ve forsaken their left wing beliefs is because at heart they know they only subscribed to those beliefs out of pragmatism and never really got the rewards they might have expected. Ah well, bank directorships beckon.

CMK - January 6, 2013

I doubt if Waters is aware of the issues raised in that piece, or would care if he were. However, the suits in Tara Street will no doubt have a keen eye on such things and may well think that pressurising ‘editorial’ to commission increased crazed opinion pieces, so that in the ensuing outrage cash can be generated from all they hyperlinking, is the way to go to keep the whole show on the road. That’s my, possibly wrongheaded, take on the whole phenomenon.

eamonncork - January 6, 2013

I don’t know if the thinking is as joined up as all that. In fairness there’s been plenty of crazed opinion pieces in the papers long before the internet became a factor.
Purely from the pragmatic point of view of newspaper survival I think the Times in London and the big American papers and magazines may well be right to make people pay for content. When I see my mother who’s in her seventies reading the Irish papers online and not buying a print version as a result, it presents a pretty bleak vista.
But I don’t have a business mind, maybe there’s some sense to the current state of play.

CMK - January 6, 2013

Sure, there were always plenty of crazy opinion pieces, as well as some voices no longer with us who you’d wonder what they’d make of the whole mess (i.e. Dick Walsh). You raise an interesting point about the survival of newspapers where they are essentially free. This also raises the prospect, arguably well advanced in any event, that the profession of ‘journalist’, in the sense of a stable, reasonably well paid occupation, is fated to go the way of the cooper, the tanner, the locomotive fireman etc.

EamonnCork - January 6, 2013

That’s a fear of mine which, given that the trade employed a couple of generations of my family, seems like a pity on a personal level. It’s an honourable occupation when done well after all.
I can remember working in papers when printers practically ruled the roost. Those jobs had been in families for generations and the men involved fully expected to pass them on down the line. Yet the introduction of New Technology more or less wiped them out in short order.

Joe - January 7, 2013

Maybe it has happened already in the Sindo? Has their IT section created software that automatically produces pieces?
So, in this imagined piece of software which I’ve just imagined, you type in: Coleman plus increments plus carers and bingo there’s your article.
JP McCarthy plus Protestant plus Cork plus sectarian murder and bingo!
Drennan plus new party plus Deasy and bingo!
New software plus journalists plus dole queues… bingo!

7. shea - January 7, 2013

think it makes perfect sense for journalists to have a go at the internet in the expectation that it goes viral. Or to refine it have a go at the new gate keepers, a blog or facebook page with a big audience. think of it like a flower attracting a bee to spread pollen. for the time being any way, eventually the gate keepers will get board and dismissive of these ‘attacks’ the papers will have to find new ways to attract there attention. people keep talking about pay for content, i wouldn’t be surprised if eventually the gate keepers got a cut for traffic which could change the type of articles the more popular gate keepers link too.

8. Stephania - January 10, 2013

Definitely believe that which you said. Your favorite reason seemed to be on the internet the easiest thing to be aware of. I say to you, I certainly get annoyed while people consider worries that they just do not know about. You managed to hit the nail upon the top and also defined out the whole thing without having side-effects , people could take a signal. Will probably be back to get more. Thanks

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