Yesterday in the changing room at the UU Sports Centre I eavesdropped on two men. (Actually they were talking so loudly, it was more a case of eaveasassault than eavesdrop.) They were talking about the Robinson affair and their particular contempt was directed at the hypocrisy of those who'd preach about sin while themselves merrily engaged in it.
Maybe that's why I find my patience getting frayed with a number of Irish journalists. Tom Kelly, for example, is writing in the esteemed Irish News this morning about how hollow it sounds when politicians blame the media for their downfall rather than themselves, and he goes on to commend the Irish bishops for at least accepting the blame for their own misfortune. He then says: 'While it's hard to distinguish between rumour and reality, it seems as if others in our political establishment may soon follow Iris into political retirement'. Those dull enough to not know who he's referring to are given a big fat clue by Kelly talking about Gerry Adams for most of the rest of his column.
There are a few things to keep in mind here. One is that people are innocent until proven guilty and the media are supposed to be the watchdogs of that dictum. You'd never guess it at times. A second is that guilt by association is a particular perversion of justice that must surely set all Heaven in a rage. And a third is that no-one comes from nowhere. That's to say, all journalists, myself included, write from a particular perspective. The notion that journalists hang up their political convictions when they switch on their computer or that there aren't political parties and politicians they detest and that this affects their commentary on same, is Grade A bunkum. It's patently obvious, for better or worse, that the majority of Irish commentators dislike republicans in general and Sinn Fein in particular, and they're perfectly entitled to their views. What sends out a smell that singes the hairs in the nostrils is when these same commentators pretend to be at all times dispassionate, telling it like it is, and not eager to take a hack or ten at republicanism when the opportunity arises and they feel safe to so do. As Norman Mailer wisely said, ' Once a newspaper touches a story, the facts are lost forever, even to the protagonists'. Faced with such stinkiness, you have a choice between weeping or laughing. As my letter in yesterday's Sunday Tribune makes clear (http://www.tribune.ie/news/letters/article/2010/jan/17/diarmuid-doyle-the-funniest-writer-in-ireland/ ), I prefer to laugh.