Wednesday, 3 December 2014

The 'Irish Independent' and the Risen People

 THE FRAGILE and precious journalists at the Irish Independent group of newspapers (INM) are suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder after their relentless broadsheet onslaught against Sinn Féin over several weeks in October and November resulted in their own most recent poll registering Sinn Féin as the most popular party in the South. Oh, dear.

The Establishment pillar and privately-owned paper that called for the execution of James Connolly and the leaders of the Easter Rising and virulently opposed John Hume’s talks with Gerry Adams in the fledgling Peace Process reached a deafening crescendo at the end of October when its Sunday edition dedicated 23 stories – yes, twenty-three – to vilifying republicans.

Its hired hacks engaged in a stunning example of group-think and – with a Stalinist uniformity that they would decry in others – they lined up one after the other to toe the official line to ‘Get Gerry Adams’.

None dare to deviate or show an ounce of original thought as they play Talbot Street’s version of the servile Smithers to Mr Burns of The Simpsons.

Even their usually much-vaunted rule of law and courts was tossed in the trash as the Indo made the “court of public opinion” judge and jury. People may have been declared “not guilty” by courts of law but the Irish Independent knows better when it doesn’t like the outcome. (Thankfully, the Indo’s “court of public opinion” wasn’t handing down and executing the sentences for the Birmingham Six and Guildford Four.)

One Irish Independent hack whined to a Sinn Féin TD at a media event that he thought An Phoblacht’s treatment that they read in our May edition was “very harsh”.

The air in the Sunday Independent newsroom must have been a real Fine Gael shade of blue when the poll arrived for publication on 2 November.

Gerry Adams spoke at a Friends of Sinn Féin dinner in New York on 6 November and compared the Indo’s approach to republicans in the Tan War (‘War of Independence’) and republicans in subsequent years – plus ça change.

He reminded his audience how Michael Collins, an icon of the Irish Independent and Fine Gael, responded to the Indo’s historic hostility.

Collins didn’t write a ‘Letter to the Editor’. He dispatched a squad of gunmen to the office of the Independent who held the Editor at gunpoint as they destroyed the entire printing press.

In the fevered imagination of the Irish Independent writers trolling Gerry Adams, the Sinn Féin leader’s history lesson and his quip emphasising that he wasn’t encouraging some sort of ‘Remembering the Past’ re-enactment had the most powerful media corporation in the state crying that it was under threat.

And as if Sinn Féin topping its own opinion poll didn’t have the denizens of Independent House reaching for the panic button, the tide of protests against the introduction of domestic water charges sent them into total panic.

The Independent Group’s reaction unleashed a new crop of YouTube parodies of the Hitler movie Downfall as to what real life might be like in the Talbot Street bunker.

Working families, grandparents and students were transformed from peaceful protesters to “republican dissidents”. In a near carbon-copy of the smear campaign used to try and undermine the Shell to Sea protesters, the Indo is attempting to denigrate the grassroots Right2Water movement by claiming it is being manipulated by a “sinister fringe”.

The Right2Water campaign’s response has been withering, describing such articles as “an insult to readers and listeners and, most of all, to those ordinary members of the public who have come out in their hundreds of thousands to protest peacefully against domestic water charges”.

The Indo’s modus operandi – since the turn of the century, in 1913 and 1916, from Michael Collins and the Tan War and down the decades to today – is that any movement that dares to challenge the cosy consensus at the top of Irish society must be targeted, vilified and crushed.

Unfortunately for the Indo and the elite though, while the Establishment politicians jostle and vie for positions within their own crumbling organisations, Sinn Féin's dedicated activists and representative move forward with purpose and in the interests of ordinary people. That is what scares the living daylights out of Independent News and Media.

As the Indo’s favoured friends in Fine Gael, Fianna Fáil and Labour grow weaker, Sinn Féin grows stronger.

The people are not stupid. When they see a phalanx of career politicians and their fellow-travellers in the (unelected) media debasing themselves with increasingly shrill and frenzied rants against a common enemy, they know the Establishment are quaking behind their boardroom doors.

They know that Sinn Féin and the Right2Water campaign are challenging the ‘Golden Circles’, the political elites and the Establishment which Independent News and Media works so tirelessly to protect and serve.

Beware the Risen People.

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