J'accuse - Jack Lane slams Irish Times
arts and media |
Dé Sathairn Aibreán 24, 2004 10:18 by Donal Foley
Man who found British Ambassador's secret letter accuses Irish Times of misrepresentation
"Why can you not copy your peers? Why are you lowering the standards of your paper ........?"
"Please pluck up the courage to act as befits a responsible editor ......"
Will the IrishTimes publish this - has it the courage?
AUBANE HISTORICAL SOCIETY
“He who cannot call on three thousand years is living from hand to mouth.” (Goethe)
It was refreshing to read Roy Greenslade’s letter this morning (23 April) explaining the situation on how the Irish Times have dealt with the infamous letter of the British Ambassador of 2 0ct 1969 and correcting an impression he had given about your reporting of the allegations in that letter on 27 Jan 2003. Mr Greenslade had little to apologise for, as you well know, because that item on 27 Jan ’03 was not a report on the Ambassador’s letter but a report on McDowell’s (incredible) denial of all its contents.
But Mr Greenslade’s letter was an example of scrupulous honesty as befits a responsible professional journalist and ex-editor. Do you recognise this behaviour? This was an example of a professional setting the record straight as soon and as clearly as he could. Could you please copy his example and set the record as straight about what Senator Martin Mansergh alleged about me in your paper on 3 April? You have a letter from me for nearly 3 weeks rejecting his allegations. I cannot understand how you refuse to help me clear his name, mine and your reputation by simply publishing my short letter.
You also have a full report of the whole issue by me, another copy attached, and there seems no prospect of that being published either. Perhaps you might have the courtesy of at least telling me why.
In today’s paper you plumb even deeper into the depths of misrepresentation. You say in a note “The contents of the letter in question were published on January 27th 2003, as soon as its existence was drawn to my attention.”
You know very well that the letter was drawn to your attention on 10th Jan. 2003 by me and you replied on the 15th January saying you were “unable to confirm the veracity” of it and you did NOT publish anything about it. How could you have published it if you doubted the veracity of it? This correspondence with you has been in the public domain for nearly a year now and the facts are irrefutable. Many people will therefore know the facts of the case. You cannot suppress them by more pathetic censoring and misrepresentations on your part. However, you can salvage your reputation by coming clean.
After the Sunday Independent later made a national issue of the letter you had no choice but to respond and you did so by publishing Major McDowell’s total denials. You did not publish the full letter and therefore ‘the contents’ as you claim.
Please present these facts of the case in your paper, ‘a journal of record’ remember, as a matter of urgency. What remains of your integrity demands it.
By way of contrasting you with your peers I should remind you that I was criticised by the Irish Times under your predecessor and he had the decency to publish ALL letters I sent for publication. See the Irish Times of 23/5/97 and 11/9/97. In addition the then editor, Conor Brady, also OFFERED me a feature article to explain myself, which he published on 29/7/97. Earlier this week I wrote a letter the Guardian to clarify a point and they published it 2 days later. And the Guardian had not even mentioned, never mind tried to defame, me. And now we have Mr. Greenslade setting another example for you on how to behave.
Why can you not copy your peers? Why are you lowering the standards of your paper and yourself? Do you have some sort of death wish for your own personal reputation?
Please pluck up the courage to act as befits a responsible editor like your peers and redeem yourself.
Aubane Historical Society
Aubane Millstreet Co. Cork