Self-congratulation by the Sunday Independent

On Tonight with Vincent Browne, Carol Hunt, George Hook and Gavan Titley will be reviewing recent media coverage of the tussle between Denis O’Brien and the O’Reilly family for control of Independent Newspapers; coverage of Labour’s self-confidence at its recent annual conference; and of the state of the economy. {jathumbnailoff} Ahead of the programme, Vincent Browne reflects on how Irish media has approached these issues, lately and in the past.

The weekend papers concentrated on the Labour Party conference, the imminence of water charges and the spat between two oligarchs for control of Independent News and Media (INM).

Coverage of the Labour Party conference might have focused on how Labour was faring in government, by the standards of the mandate they sought in the last election and by the traditions and ideals of the party. This was not done at all.

Eamon Gilmore's contentions that the new government had managed to turn around the economy, and was looking forward to saying “goodbye” to the troika, were not challenged by the fact that the economy has entered into a second deep recession - a 7% contraction in the economy in the last quarter of 2011 (as measured by the more reliable estimation of the state of the economy, GNP) - and that the Fiscal Treaty will ordain a permanent troika (or its equivalent) constantly supervising not just our budgetary strategy but also our economic, competition and labour market priorities permanently. Or at least for so long as the EU in the form of its present edifice survives.

As for the oligarchs' rivalry, the Sunday Independent has engaged in self-congratulation on how it has had the courage to stand up to a person who might soon by the controller of INM. But can anyone remember even a whisper of criticism of Tony O’Reilly over the years, about his management of INM, about his record in Eircom, about the collapse of Waterford Glass and his last years at Heinz?

Or can anyone remember the Sunday Independent making any issue of the threats made to John Bruton’s government if it did not comply with demands on MMDS TV transmission? The “payback time” editorial on the front page of the Irish Independent the day before the 1997 election? Or the curious £30,000 payment to Ray Burke in June 1989, which, incidentally was later wrongly accounted for in the books of the O’Reilly company that made the payment?

Image top: Pat2001

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