The Heelers Diaries

the fantasy world of ireland's greatest living poet

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Location: Kilcullen (Phone 087 7790766), County Kildare, Ireland

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

top ten scandals of irish journalism

1. The Phoenix magazine publishes a picture of the McCartney sisters labelled The Spice Girls. Possibly the singlemost disgusting editorial decision ever made in this country. The sisters had been involved in a high profile campaign to expose the murderers of their brother. A group of Sinn Fein/IRA members had slaughtered the McCartney sisters' brother (himself a Sinn Fein activist) by slashing him open with a knife. It is remarkable that State Sector money, in particular FAS Board advertising, should continue to be placed with the Phoenix magazine. Who exactly makes these decisions? Why do people like me end up supporting the Phoenix magazine through the placing of public moneys with their advertising department?

2. A senior editor at the Irish Times comments after Nine Eleven: "I am terrified of what the Americans will do." Well folks, I thought it was a vomitous thing to say. I always remember it when the Irish Times tries to pose pro American at this time of year around the Fourth Of July.

3. Ian O'Doherty writing in the Irish Independent newspaper, falsely, mendaciously, malignly and coward-lily claims that the Catholic church is a paedophile ring.

4. Ger Colleran, editor of the Daily Star, falsely mendaciously, malignly and coward-lily claims on RTE television that children were screaming for help in every Catholic church presbytery in Ireland.

5. Heather Parsons, editor of a television listings magazine called The RTE Guide, has a Christian conversion at the town of Medjugorje where several people have claimed to be having visions of the Virgin Mary. Heather Parsons herself claims to have seen Jesus Christ in the sun at Medjugorje. When she returns to Ireland, for some reason, her position at RTE becomes untenable. She leaves and initiates legal proceedings against RTE. These proceedings are settled out of court with a large cash payment to Heather Parsons. Meanwhile sales of the RTE Guide collapse. It transpires that Heather Parsons was in fact the most successful editor of any publication in the history of the Republic of Ireland. It transpires that while she was in charge The RTE Guide was selling nearly half a million copies. This in a country with a population of three and a half million people. After she leaves, sales of The RTE Guide plummet to a level of less than one hundred thousand. We might wonder who exactly decided Heather Parsons should no longer work at The RTE Guide. We might wonder did some of the heroes at RTE take a dim view of her Christian conversion. Management at RTE pretend the decline in The RTE Guide's fortunes came about through increased competition and changes in the marketplace. But there has been no precedent in the English speaking world for the collapse in sales at The RTE Guide. Nothing like it in Ireland, Britain, Australia, Canada, or America.

6. The only case whose aftermath I find vaguely likenable to the treatment of Heather Parsons at The RTE Guide, was my own firing by a British company called the Johnston Press from an Irish provincial newspaper called the Leinster Leader three weeks before Christmas of 2007. When the Johnston Press fired me, the company had a share price of £4. A year later the same company was listed on the British stock exchange for a few pennies per share. I've always wondered about the Johnston Press and the Leinster Leader. Is it at all possible that the wrong people were getting fired?

7. Journalist Charlie Bird, long a stalwart of the RTE newsroom, is revealed to have been a member of the Communist Party. When challenged about this Charlie Bird replies: "I was a member of a fairly innocent Communist Party." I often wondered did his membership of this fairly innocent Communist Party affect his objectivity when reporting on the United States of America, the Cold War, the War On Terror, and everything bloody else. History will decide.

8. Carole Coleman of RTE makes a name for herself by barracking President George Bush in an interview. Determinedly putting Ireland on the wrong side of history. I wonder how she'll like Sharia Law. We'll find out soon enough.

9. Metro, a new free sheet newspaper in Dublin, publishes a photograph of a naked woman in bed with a pig. The woman is an artist and the picture part of her exhibition. The photo is presented to the readers as though the newspaper is inviting us to make up our own minds about whether her violation of an animal as depicted in art can ever be justified. But really it is just a salacious piece of sad tasteless pornographic tripe. The saddest piece of sensationalism I have ever seen. It was just mean. To do that to the pig. It was just lousy. It left a very sour taste. I took one look at it and said: "Well, well, well, that's not so clever. I shall never look at Metro again." It has been remarkably easy to stick to that resolution. I would suggest that whoever decided to publish that photo single handedly killed any chance of success for the new free sheet. I wonder how many people felt the same as me when they saw the silly little half witted girl disrespecting the innocent creature. Metro is hemorrhaging cash. Literally, they can't give it away. Always a bad sign for a free sheet. I'm told it's part owned by the Irish Times. The great liberal, fembo, commie, environmentalist, animal rights, free the gay whales from Guantanamo bay, galoots. Hilarious, no? Ah that the Lord the grace would g'ie us, to see ourselves as others see us.

10. All media groups in Ireland continue to turn a blind eye to collusion during the Cold War between Irish Times journalists and the Russian KGB in Moscow. This untold story is the greatest scandal of the last fifty years of Irish journalistic life. Ironically only the opprobrious Phoenix magazine has sought to bring the story into the public domain with some oblique mentions. The Phoenix described how one recently deceased Irish Times journalist had been in Moscow during the Cold War and implied he was taking directions from KGB handlers. It was suggested that he had been drawing up for his Soviet masters a list of non communist Irish journalists to be detained when Russian Communists finally succeeded in taking over Ireland. Are these suggestions by the Pheonix magazine about an Irish Times journalist in cahoots with the KGB, true or false? I think we should be told.


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