Jude Collins

Monday, 4 February 2013

Where does it hurt?

There’s a danger when you feel strongly about something that you'll see attacks and opponents where none exist. Which is why I try to check my initial reaction to a lot of the things I encounter in the media.  Last Thursday was an example.

I was watching The View, the BBC’s successor to Hearts and Minds. (Ah, taximan, where are you now? Endlessly prowling the streets of Belfast, talking to yourself...)  John O’Dowd was on with Edwin Poots and Mark Carruthers was interviewing them about Gerry Adams’s apology in the Dáil for the killing of Garda Jerry McCabe. For years,  Sinn Féin have been criticised for their claim that the killers of McCabe should have been released under the Good Friday Agreement. But they weren’t, probably because it was kept in the public consciousness by the southern media in a way that no other death in the Troubles was.  Much ink was spent on condemning the heartlessness of what happened,  so  you might have expected that Gerry Adams’s apology would have been welcomed as a sign that the Sinn Féin leader and his party shared at least to some extent, the feelings of horror and dismay that the killing evoked. But not so. Since that apology was made, Adams has instead been the focus of relentless criticism.  The View  quickly fell into the same pattern.

John O’Dowd was asked in so many words to explain Gerry Adams’s hypocrisy in doing such a thing. O’Dowd responded by explaining (or trying to explain) that apologies and dealing with past hurt should involve all those who had suffered.  Edwin Poots was then asked his thoughts and he in so many words rejected Gerry Adams’s hypocrisy in offering an apology, when he hadn’t apologised for all the IRA-related deaths in the north. 

It’s at this point that I had to check my initial reaction. And then check it again. And a third time. Because it seemed to me that Carruthers was grilling O’Dowd  but letting Poots simply join him in the grilling rather than pressing him on the need for apology to be many-sided. What I saw was a seriously lop-sided interview, with BBC balance conspicuous by its absence.

As I say, there’s always a danger that when you’ve strong feelings on a topic, you see attacks and opponents where none exist. I know Mark Carruthers and I’ve always found him a pleasant, friendly guy. But it still seems to me that The View  last week was one-eyed where it really should have been two-eyed. Tell me I’m wrong. 


  1. Jude
    John O 'Dowd is a big man in every way.He hardly needs you to ride to his rescue.Is there not a bit of paranoia on your part?Is the media spotlight not on Sinn Fein because of the performance of Gerry Adams in the Dail?You barely seem to acknowledge that there is a large element of hypocrisy in S F's approach to the murder of Gardai.

  2. Then, we can expect the same from the Sunday Politics, since it's now virtually a twin of the View, with MC and the same team behind it. News editors at UTV and the BBC in Belfast have a default position much apparent of favouring the unionist side, to judge by their news output these days. [Madraj55]

  3. On a more simplistic note of the same theme - how and why is it acceptable and actually considered unremarkable in the slightest, by the media - that loyalist paramilitary commanders can openly represent prescribed terrorist organisations?

    ...because of he inbuilt double standard of course!!! It's so inbuilt, no-one even thinks twice about it!

    1. spot on, when the abnormal becomes the normal

    2. Speaking of abnormal being normal - "the marching season" is starting in a couple of weeks time... we got about a 2/3 month break because it was too cold for the wee craters.