It hardly needs to be said that Ireland is a small country. But, for decades, it has had a newspaper industry to be proud of, with its main titles fairer and less partisan than their equivalents in other states.
Indeed, in Ireland we only needed to look across the water to Britain to see openly biased media in action, with papers either wedded to particular parties and ideologies or manipulated by their owners, depending on the circumstances of the day.
Over the past generation, British outlets have entered the Irish market, looking for circulation boosts to buttress numbers back at home. And, aside from their presence squeezing indigenous Irish operations, they’ve also brought with them the poor journalism standards of their homeland.
Take The Sunday’s Times’ (Ireland edition) splash on Dublin’s Russian embassy last weekend, for instance.
For some time now, Rupert Murdoch’s operation has been running an anti-Russia campaign in its UK edition. And one of its key ambitions is to have RT television banned from the British airwaves. This is largely because it’s funded by the Russian government and offers a non-mainstream perspective, which appears to infuriate the Australian-born media mogul and his London team.
While subscribers to the Times’ Irish offering have long been exposed to the “mainland” hysteria over Russia, its Dublin outpost only appeared to mount the “red-scare” horse with extra vigor in recent weeks, with sensationalist pieces concerning the activities of their embassy in our capital. Sadly, its coverage has been heavy on hyperbole and low on real Russia expertise.