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Mainstream Media Makes a Mess
national | worker & community struggles and protests | feature Dé hAoine Márta 03, 2006 01:34 by indymedia Gonzos - Indymedia Ireland
Sunday Times Editor Prints Lie Then Attacks Indymedia Ireland
While the mainstream media (MSM) snoozed, Indymedia Ireland contributors were providing eyewitness testimony, photographs, video of, and commentary on, last weekend's Dublin riots. What were the MSM doing during this period? Well, the Sunday Times was concocting a story that blamed the Independent Workers Union for playing a part in organising the riots. Because Indymedia is an Open Publishing medium, the IWU were quickly able to publish a refutation of this astoundingly scurrilous claim see full story below. So far, so good. Our unprecedented speed and openness had allowed the IWU to counter publically a vicious piece of disinformation published in a widely read medium. Imagine our surprise when our editorial collective received a berating email from the Sunday Times' Irish editor John Burns, admonishing us for not checking "our" facts! Mr.Burns appeared confused about who we were and assumed that we were the IWU. He demanded a retraction of the IWU's post because it incorrectly named "Liam Clarke" as the author of the lie. Naturally we wrote to him but it seems that he still doesn't get it.
Meanwhile, Tony O'Reilly's crack team of journalists, editors, sub-editors and secret garda sources were busy churning out their own brand of shite which was neatly countered in public by Indymedia Ireland contributor Chekov. The whole fiasco (and similar disinformation spreading in the past) demonstrates what is at best ludicrous inaccuracy, but is more likely a co-opted and broken media model. The Sunday Times' article is now nowhere to be found on its archives, there is no retraction published and we have audio of another Sunday Times editor spreading the lie, this time on the radio. Here on Indymedia.ie we've clearly published the correction that Liam Clarke denies IWU involvement (although his name is on the story). Compare and contrast. Good-bye Grub Street hacks, you're only useful to the government.
Finally, Indymedia Ireland have decided to join in the fun and games and have launched a campaign to identify the ringleader of the riots after our crack team of investigative journalists have poured through thousands of photographs of the riots.
The original allegation - Sunday Times 26/2/06
The republican protest was well-planned. Leaflets circulated two weeks ago by the Independent Workers' Union stated: "We must take a stand and counter this march and tell the 'Love Ulster' campaign that we support a united Ireland. We cannot let our symbols of resistance to British rule, the GPO, the birthplace of the true Irish Republic, be subject to an organisation that supports Britain's colonial rule over the Irish people. We call on all socialists and republicans to join the counter demonstrations on the day."
Rebuttal: Independent Workers Union rejects Sunday Times allegation
According to the front-page report, ‘Republican riot puts a stop to ‘love parade’, by Jan Battles and Liam Clarke, the leaflets were circulated two weeks ago. It is astonishing that a journalist with Liam Clarke’s experience would not have considered contacting the Independent Workers Union in order to verify the authenticity or otherwise of such a publication. We are equally dismayed that the Ireland editor of the Sunday Times would repeat the unfounded allegation on national television without checking his facts.
The Independent Workers Union is a non-political, licensed trade union that does not endorse any party-political point of view. The Independent Workers Union did not take any position on the Love Ulster parade or the counter demonstration prior to the events in Dublin at the weekend since our union did not believe that this issue was relevant to our work on behalf of our members.
The Independent Workers Union is astounded by this sinister allegation and we ask what possible motive could be served by this attempt to implicate our union in the events last Saturday.
Noel Murphy, National Secretary Independent Workers Union