Interesting headline accompanying a story syndicated by the Associated Press (AP), the US-based news agency. It reads:
“Sinn Fein Chief Asks IRA Die-Hards to End Violence“
Sinn Féin “Chief“? Leaving aside the fact that the AP can’t even get the spelling right (that’s Sinn Féin not Fein – wonder how the AP does with other non-English names or titles?) one has to ask if other political leaders around the democratic Western World would be described as a “chief”? Is Ed Miliband the Labour Party Chief? Is Angela Merkel the CDU Chief? Is Reince Priebus the Republican Party Chief? Is Deborah Wasserman Schultz the Democratic Party Chief? One thinks not. But when it comes to Irish Republicans that handy lexicon of Irish Republican clichés is never too far away for international journalists (and quite a few at home).
As for the story itself another AP version of it contains the following:
“Sinn Fein party leader Gerry Adams appealed Friday to Irish Republican Army die-hards to stop their violence and to support his seemingly Quixotic campaign for a vote in Northern Ireland on uniting politically with the rest of the island, the long-elusive dream of Irish republicans.”
Who has decided that the campaign for the reunification of Ireland is “quixotic”? That it is unrealistic and impractical? That it is somehow personal to Gerry Adams only? The Associated Press?
Opinion pieces posing as news reporting is not journalism. Nor is shaping the news to predefined agendas.