The tiresome conceit of Jody Corcoran
Jody Corcoran's political reportage reads like an autobiography in which he claims to be squarely placed in the political establishment.
(Left: A photo of Jody Corcoran with Brian Cowen that accompanied a Sunday Independent interview in December 2009 when Corcoran wrote that he "bounced the Taoiseach into doing a one-to-one interview with [him]" while other journalists were consigned to a round-table chat.)
Sunday after Sunday, he cannot help but immerse himself in the stories he writes. This week on Page 32 of the Sunday Independent he writes about the need for a Finance Minister who will trust their instincts instead of being dictated to. And he says why "we are doomed" if our hopes are pinned on Michael Noonan or Micheal Martin.
Corcoran writes: "I should remind you that I was the first to call for the reinstatement of Noonan to frontline politics last May, at a time when he languished, perhaps by choice, on the backbenches of Fine Gael."
No, you shouldn't - involving yourself in this statement is pointless except to satisfy a deluded sense of importance to the story.
Later in the piece we are told we "should" read another anecdote concerning Jody and Noonan. He explains why he is not enamoured by the prospect of Noonan as Finance Minister. The scene is the toilet beside the Dail bar and some smart chat about the Hepatitis C scandal.
"I should raise here the hepatitis C debacle, conscious that the last time I raised it, Noonan grabbed me by a jacket lapel with one hand and threatened to knock my head off with the clenched fist of the other."
Raise the Hep C case, by all means, but of what relevance is this fracas? And why should you be "conscious" of this incident while writing this piece - is Noonan going to reach through the monitor and fix your lapel again?
"It was late at night in the Dail bar, I should say." (Why should you say this?).
"Well, actually, a loo adjoining the Dail bar, an election imminent and nerves frayed, particularly those of the Minister for Health (Noonan)".
"At the time I was a young upstart, no doubt, who probably deserved a bit of a skelp....."
And it goes on.
Last week, in the 12 December issue of the Sunday Independent, Jody Corcoran wrote about Brian Cowen's punchy interviews that week. He argued that Cowen's record on the economy will trump whatever fight he shows in interviews. Again, instead of reporting straightforward fact, Corcoran resorts to his irrelevant involvement in the story.
The scene is RTE's Green Room after Brian Cowen's interview with Ryan Tubridy on The Late Late Show.
"When the interview was over, I slipped past the flunkies to seek out the Green Room upstairs, where the Taoiseach was to be found. I had expected obstacles, a security man to block the way, but, remarkably there was none."
Pointless, pointless, pointless.
"I ambled in to find Brian Cowen alone, a babywipe in one hand, removing his make-up, and a sparkling water in the other, his mobile phone hopping and buzzing."
And it continued:
"A lot was said in that RTE room, and in the corridor, but it was impressed upon me that my presence was being tolerated and that I should not abuse the privilege."
"But I had a story to write, so I asked the Taoiseach for an on-the-record comment...."
These are just two articles, but read him in the Sunday Independent any week and the same pointless self-importance is printed (presumably with the approval of editor Aengus Fanning). This is self-serving padding and distracts from the arguments Corcoran is trying to make. He is well able to express an opinion; if he took himself off page, his opinion might hold greater sway.