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July 03, 2009



There is a need for a public discussion of the ethics of how the IT's comment space is used. Replying on the content of the "argument" as David Begg has done in the pages and you have done here is not enough.

"Balance" and "right of reply" are at times not adequate.

And "functionally illiterate" reporting and comment is a problem with the irish media. If the reporter or op-ed writer does not understand the technical issues they wish to write on, then there is a damned good reason for not letting them have the space.

Actually, we have little space anywhere here in Ireland for discussion or analysis of the quality of what the media does or fails to do.

(Niall Crowley challenged them on the way in which their space was being used by John Waters to campaign against him and the Equality Authority about five or six years ago.)

t g macamhloaibh

Fine blog with a well balanced perspective on the issues discussed.

Unfortunately, such analysis which lays out the pros and cons of an issue rarely attract much comment.

Keep up the good work


I agree, Tipster and stopped buying it for this very reason. (Paraphrasing Morrisey ) "IT says nothing to me about my life".

Miriam Cotton and David Manning and Miriam Cotton at (and sometimes in Village magazine) have created just such a space for this type of analysis.


... and I think it would be interesting to see (say over the last 10-15 years)what the quantitative shift has been in percentage terms from news content to OP-ED pieces. It seems to me its now more opinion than news but perhaps its cheaper and the controversy keeps readers ... well not this one.


Michael, what do you think about Eoghan Harris's argument in the Seanad last week that there should be a 20% cut in public sector pay because public servants earn on average 20% more than private sector workers?


Great work Michael,again as before why isn't this analysis brought in to the wider public domain? The only message being pushed by Gov. and media is cut,cut cut.

Michael Taft

Thanks, t g macamhloaibh and bigred. And, yes, Tipster, I fear you're right.

Fair dues, Yvonne - working the Smiths into a discussion on media reporting of economic issues. Every time I finish reading daily newspapers I think, Heaven knows, I'm miserable now.

Alfie, to be honest, not much. The 20 percent figure is wholly contestable and fails to take into account a multitude of factors. That's not to say the issue of public sector pay shouldn't be examined. But it has to be examined in all the different lights. And one of them is that the ESRI suggests that such a cut would result in GNP falling 1.3% (on top of the nearly 10% this year), consumption falling by over 3% and would increase unemployment by nearly a half percent. What would be the result in terms of the Exchequer borrowing requirement? It would reduce it from just over -15% to -14% - not much for all the deflation and unemployment it would cause. I wouldn't expect Senator Harris to know this. After all, he wasn't appointed to the Senate becase of his economic skills. By the way, does anyone know what skills he brings to the Senate or why he was appointed?


Hi Michael,
Don't know what skills he's brought to the Seanad.How many jobs does the bould Harris have?
1 Senator
2 "Newspaper" columnist
3 Lecturer(still?)
4 Writer ?
5 Producer with Praxis for TV
Shouldn't he be advocating job-sharing?


You are right about the shift to comment and reduction in news. But this reflects what is happening in the print news industry which is under severe strain (worst of all in the state where big titles like the boston globe and SF chronicle are in trouble). It's too long to treat here in a comment but the online and cable news with their 24 hour instant-update have killed off a huge portion of the job that used to be done by the morning paper. Apart from stealing add revenue, there has been a culture created where news is 'free'. But of course 'what quality of news'? Personally I don't mind paying for analysis, but I do mind paying for mere comment.


This article is a very interesting article. Thank you for posting it here and keep up the good work.

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