Posts Tagged ‘media



24
Jan
09

Patrick Rocca and the media

I see that the family of Patrick Rocca will be referring to the Press Ombudsman reports on his death they feel were hurtful and inaccurate (see here and here. Interesting that the Indo has ignored the story). This is proper order as far as I can see. The coverage was certainly speculative and sensationalist. Personally, I don’t see how Horgan can not rule in the family’s favour without making his position redundant.

The complaints highlighted by the Rocca family were previously mention by me here, if somewhat sparingly. Rather than congratulate myself, however, I’m feeling somewhat guilty about it, as I’m worried I may have contributed to the hurtful media reporting. This particular post generated a lot of traffic, about three times what I might normally expect. Now as Patrick Rocca wasn’t really a major household name (my post is still the only WordPress post tagged to him), I suspect much of this traffic came from people connected to him. And whereas they might have expected an “our thoughts are with you” sentiment, they found instead a slightly cynical “them and us” rant.

I just want to say that if any of Mr Rocca’ family or friends read my post and found it hurtful, I apologise. This was not my intent, and I hope you believe my thoughts are with you.

20
Jan
09

The first tragedy that matters, at least

The front page of today’s Irish Daily Mail really irked me quite a bit. I found the declaration that the suicide of Patrick Rocca is the first tragedy of the recession quite insulting. Now I don’t wish to make light of anyone’s suicide, or add to the pain of the families who have to deal with it, but I find it hard to believe that The Daily Mail has investigated every suicide in recent months and concluded this was the first one that was a result of the recession.

I say this with some certainty as a friend of my father, a man very popular in the town I grew up in, hanged himself shortly before Christmas. Of course it’s wrong of me to guess why he did this (there were money issues, but other issues too), but the Mail is equally wrong is this regard, and it seems perverse to me that the death of my dad’s friend can be disregarded so easily. Mr Rocca’s death may have put Ireland’s “business and social elite in shock”, but that doesn’t make it any more important.

There is also the issue of how the way this was reported will affect those close to Patrick Rocca. When I was in college I was told the way to report suicide was to publish the details without including the victim’s name. I believe this is what various suicide agencies ask of the media. Of course this was not possible in Mr Rocca’s case, being the public icon that he was, but I think the Mail could have shown a lot more consideration than to publish the story as a full front-page splash.

15
Jan
09

Media matters and Kerry’s weight

I was browsing around the newsagents in Superquinn today when I noticed that Kerry Katona had made the front pages of a number of publications. Both OK and Star magazine had cover stories on Kerry’s fabulous weight loss. The Daily Mirror had a somewhat different Kerry angle, reporting that she has evicted her own mother from her home in order to pay off a massive tax debt.

Now I’m not in the business of pointing and laughing at celebrities for having breakdowns in a very public way (see here for more evidence of Charlie Brooker being right about everything). Besides, if we slap a hate-figure label on Kerry we effectively assume a goodie tag on Brian McFadden, and that simply wont do. Nonetheless, the weight issue is worth discussing for one reason. Star magazine declared that Kerry has lost four stone. OK topped this by claiming it was six. Plastered on the two magazine, in big, bold typeface for all to see, are two very different figures (numbers-wise, I mean).

Now if I were a cynical man I might reach the conclusion that celebrity magazines are less than reputable; that they’re just making it all up. Further inspection might discount this explaination, however. Both OK and Star are owned by Northern and Shell Media Publications, so surely two arms of the one company would want to liaise with each other to avoid such embarrassing discrepancies. Even celebrity magazines wouldn’t be so feckless with the truth, right?

No, the answer to this conundrum lies as I see it with deadlines. This particular issue of Star, you see, was dated January 19, whereas OK was dated the 20th. So, obviously, in the 24 hours that lies between each magazine’s deadline Ms Katona went and lost a further two stone. What a trooper.

In a related story, my 15 year old sister lost over a stone while spending Christmas in the States. As she is by no means over-weight, my aunts – with whom she was staying – fretted that she might be anorexic. The truth, happily, is that my sister simply couldn’t stomach the artificial-tasting food across the pond (which I can understand). Her eating habits are fine. Still, with the dick-swinging reporting of celebrities and their weight, would it be any surprise if my sister were anorexic.

10
Jan
09

Economists need to shut the fuck up

They’re at it again. Today’s Irish Times has a piece about how economists are predicting 10% jobless rates by the middle of the year. Fás economist Brian McCormick went even further, saying we’ll reach 12% by the end of 2009. He warned, “the immediate future for the jobs market depended on the impact of a weak sterling and the credit crunch on the retail sector, as well as the way in which migration trends respond to the changes in the economic environment,” which pulls the simultaneous trick of sounding suitably dire and blaming the immigrants for it. The Indo has a similar piece, which states, “Some economists secretly admitted that their official estimates could be conservative and jobless queues may reach levels not seen since the 1980s.” It’s enough to wonder why we bother getting out of bed.

Well, you know what? Fuck them! The one thing I’ve learn from this whole recession is that there’s nothing quite so useless as an economist. These are the swaggering dickheads who failed to see the recession coming, and let the government get away with wasting money on services that don’t work, giving tax breaks to the country’s super-rich, criminally inflating the housing market, and generally take us all of a fantastic voyage on the good ship “Celtic Tiger”, which sunk like a stone after the first strike of an ice-cube (explained here better than I ever could). If these economists advised banks to invest their (our) money in an online casino they’d have been laughed out of a job. This, on reflection, would have been a far safer option. At least online gambling doesn’t create massive – and quite unmistakable – market bubbles. Ok, there were some economists warning of a possible crisis, but the ease with which these few voices of sanity were ignored largely proves my point that all economists useless. Remember when Bertie suggested that people warning of an economic slowdown should kill themselves and be done with it? I’d love to know what the miserable tit-bag makes of that comment now.

So, now that we’re in the middle of a slump that these knobjockeys helped lead us to, they’re trying to make us feel worse by convincing us there’s no way out of it anytime soon. Well, they can shove their predictions up their holes, because it seems to me that their only talent is to tell us what’s currently happening, like a weatherman who operates by looking out the window and saying, “bit cloudy, might rain.” It also seems to me that reinforcing a constant message that “your job isn’t safe” will undermine consumer confidence further and make the whole thing worse. For all we know (and when I say “we” I’m including economists) the economy might turn around in a month’s time and we’ll wonder what the fuss was about.

Ok, that’s probably not going to happen. All the same, there’s not much use in worrying about it too much, which is what these dicksplashes seem to want, and they don’t expect to be questioned on this because they’re economists and that means they’re experts and know what they’re talking about. The media has given these cunts a free ride for their failures, but there’ll be none of that here. I’m not going to feel bad because they want me to (angry, maybe, but not bad).