25 March 2009

I almost believe that the pictures are all I can feel

Its absolutely insane.

A guerrilla artist sneaks two caricature paintings of An Taoiseach Brian Cowen into two Dublin galleries and the government goes crazy. First came RTE's all-out craven apology to the Taoiseach on last night's news for even reporting that it happened in the first place, and now this morning comes the raid by Gardai on the offices of Today FM over a report that Ray Darcy's show knew the identity of the artist.

Given the state of the country at the moment, an economic crises caused largely by the shortsighted actions of Brian Cowan both as Taoiseach and previously as Minister for Finance, exacerbated by the criminal activities of a large number of CEOs and other executives in the financial sector, are there not better things that the Gardai could be doing than running around trying to find the person that removed An Taoiseach's fig-leaf?

That the weight of the government and police have been brought down on two national broadcasters over even reporting what is essentially a lighthearted prank that not even the galleries in question are taking seriously speaks volumes about the character of our political leaders and the reason why we are all in the mess we are in. In what other western democracy would a television station have to apologies for hurting the Prime Minister's feelings by merely reporting on an incident - this wasn't a talk-show host's banter or the views of a controversial panelist, this was an item on the news widely reported across the UK and elsewhere (as shown by the picture above from the Times).

I've just finished reading "Flat Earth News" by Nick Davies, a pretty damning expose of lazy journalism, cozy cartels, self-censorship and journalists that are altogether too close to politicians and their PR agencies, and seeing RTE cave in so rapidly and unequivocally highlights the fact that the lack of a free press is by no means unique to the UK and US.

Seriously, this is a pretty sad day for journalism in this country.

On the other hand, it is an absolutely red-letter day for Irish bloggers, who finally have something they can collectively seethe about, and show exactly why they are better than traditional print or broadcast media, unbeholden as they are to either politicians or their corporate fat cat supporters, hurrah! There is even a Twitter thread (#picturegate) where like minded tweeters can express their collective outrage, um, collectively, which for the wonderful world of lazy journalists in old media will no doubt prove to be an even bigger story than the Government's clampdown on free speech itself (oh look, the blogosphEir is angry, the TwittEirati awaken, etc, etc).

The only objection that I have to the TwittEirati is their choice on nomenclature for this candle, "picturegate" is too easy, surely "Cowengate" has infantile enough connotations.

Labels: ,


At 8:40 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I wonder will the opposition raise it??? the gardai have questioned and released a 34 year old teacher. i read a good tweet "if was the 'squire' (C.J.) he would have bought the picture, found out who the artist was and shot them, as the the picture would have gone up in value"[sic]


Post a Comment

<< Home

Older Posts... ...Newer Posts