MediaBite, a website founded in 2007 by David Manning and Miriam Cotton to analyse the intellectually incestuous group-think of Irish journalism, has an excellent interview with Gene Kerrigan, one of the very few left-wing newspaper columnists in Ireland. This point by the Sunday Independent’s token progressive voice is particularly telling:
“There’s something I find amusing — the total absence of the right wing in Irish politics. For instance, Clare Daly would be described as a left wing TD, and she would have no problem with that. But the media never describes Willie O’Dea as a right wing TD, or Leo Varadkar, Brendan Howlin or Eamon Gilmore.
Gilmore was Tanaiste in a government that implemented very right wing, Merkel-style politics. And yet he would be portrayed as left of centre by most media, simply because of the Labour label.
Similarly, in journalism. People would describe myself and some others as left wing, and we’d have no problem with that. But no one ever describes the political correspondents as right wing journalists — even though they clearly report, approvingly, almost entirely within the consensus of the right wing parties.
So there’s an invisible right wing, that is so much part of life that we don’t even have a name for it, it’s just seen as the norm. Anything on the left is identified as being somehow from ‘the other’. It’s from the outside. I don’t think the media even recognises that what is seen as the centre is way over to the right.”
It is this same self-regarding and self-perpetuating right-wing political and journalistic establishment that critics like myself have been challenging for the last three years. However much of a minor irritation our mosquito bites may have proven to be.